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UCI BANS FRAT FOR 2 YEARS

By David Salvin January 19th, 2002

The follow article is about a lawsuit Mr. Salvin filed.

UCI bans frat for 2 years

A similar incident in San Diego got fraternity permanently ousted.

January 19, 2002

By MARLA JO FISHER

The Orange County Register

IRVINE -- A University of California, Irvine, fraternity accused of hazing a student until he had a seizure had its registration as a campus organization revoked for two years Friday -- the first time the university has taken such action against a campus group in its 37-year history, officials said.

Members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity who participated in the incident were also sent disciplinary letters Friday, although none of the nine participants who remain on campus will be expelled, according to Randy Lewis, executive associate dean of students. "This received a very serious review and was found to be a very significant and great breach of university policy," Lewis said. "It was a violation, not only of the university hazing policy, but of state law."

However, UCI's action was less severe than that taken by San Diego State University, which expelled Beta Theta Pi and Tau Kappa Epsilon in December 2000 after hazing incidents that left two 18-year- olds hospitalized for alcohol poisoning, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The UCI investigation began after Jeff Warden, a UCI sophomore, filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court in late November, accusing the fraternity brothers of hazing him so severely during a retreat at Big Bear that he ended up in the hospital after an epileptic seizure.

Warden alleged in his suit that he was forced to drink alcohol and was deprived of sleep until he became ill, and that he did not receive proper medical attention due to negligence by his would-be fraternity brothers. After the incident, Warden said he did not join the fraternity. The president of the 23-member UCI chapter declined to comment earlier this week. He could not immediately be reached for comment. The fraternity has 10 days to appeal the action.

A spokesman for the national headquarters of the fraternity, based in Oxford, Ohio, said that the conditions imposed by UCI for re-establishment of the chapter in 2004 -- if sought -- were "not unreasonable. "We hope we would be able to go back and be successful there in the future, if it's recommended by our Board of Trustees," spokesman Thomas Olver said. The national organization's risk-management policy bans hazing, which it defines as treatment designed to cause "mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule."

Attorney David Salvin, who is representing Warden in the lawsuit, said his client is pleased "that the university has acknowledged there was wrongdoing" in serving alcohol to minors and hazing but was disappointed that the Greek organization wasn't permanently banned. "We were pleased there was some disciplinary action taken," Salvin said.


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