Bowling Green State University has expelled a sorority for what a spokesperson called severe hazing.
BGSU officials announced Thursday that the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, a historically Black sorority, has been expelled for severe hazing that includes six Code of Student Conduct violations.
The university said the sorority’s actions jeopardized the health and safety of students and the community. It also said the actions caused a “substantial risk” of serious physical harm. The statement from BGSU said the sorority had a history of deception to hide its hazing activity.
The university said Sigma Gamma Rho members hazed potential members throughout fall 2020 and spring 2021. The sorority was later suspended.
An investigation by the school’s Office of the Dean of Students found that sorority members hit potential members repeatedly in the face, made potential members harm themselves until they were seriously bruised, required them to consume alcohol, among other offenses.
The sorority members also allegedly made potential members buy alcohol and marijuana and told them to steal if they couldn’t afford it. The university accused the sorority members of taking potential members’ cell phones and deleted evidence of the harmful acts. Members allegedly told potential members they would be jumped for reporting the behavior.
BGSU spokesman and Deputy Chief of Staff Alex Solis released the following statement:
“Bowling Green State University has expelled Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority due to severe hazing activity that includes six policy violations of the Code of Student Conduct, which jeopardized the health and safety of students and our community and caused a substantial risk of serious physical harm to those involved. BGSU also discovered a history of deception in this chapter, with many steps taken to actively hide the hazing and threats made to maintain the secrecy of the acts. This expulsion is a permanent loss of recognition for Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority at BGSU.
BGSU has continued to work to serve and better support our students of color, and we recognize the seriousness and impact of expelling a historically Black sorority. However, after community reports in late 2021, a thorough and fair investigation, and careful consideration of the evidence presented during the conduct hearing, BGSU cannot and will not support any group that has caused a substantial risk of serious physical harm to members of the campus community from hazing. Even with clearly communicated anti-hazing policies and education in place, the chapter knowingly and intentionally engaged in activities that were unsafe, high-risk and strictly prohibited by the University and the law.
Hazing has no place at BGSU. We are grateful for the individuals who leveraged reporting systems already in place to ensure a tragedy like the death of student Stone Foltz never happens again. Our campus community is stronger when we work together to eradicate this dangerous and concerning behavior.
BGSU has referred this matter to the city of Bowling Green Police for further investigation.”
The expulsion comes less than a year after anti-hazing legislation became law in Ohio. The push to pass Collin’s Law was driven in part by the family of Stone Foltz, a BGSU student who died in 2021 after a hazing ritual in which members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity forced him to drink a handle of liquor. That fraternity was expelled.