Police investigators are now taking a second look at the alleged hazing involving a historic Black fraternity at Virginia Tech, The Roanoke Times reports.
According to the Times, the university launched its own probe of Alpha Phi Alpha after the Blacksburg Police Department closed its criminal investigation of the fraternity. Virginia Tech finished its hearings in April and decided to ban the fraternity from campus for 10 years. However, school officials neglected the next steps as required by law.
“Once a decision is made on the status of the fraternity in a hazing case, our protocol is to promptly notify the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office of our decision,” university spokesman Mark Owczarski wrote in a statement. “In this case, we failed to do so and acknowledge this mistake.”
A Times investigation discovered that Virginia Tech waited two months after concluding its investigation before sharing the findings with a local prosecutor. In fact, based on emails that the newspaper obtained, it was the prosecutor who contacted the university after reading the latest news reports about the alleged incidents.
The Times was first to report that a pledge was hospitalized after a series of beatings at the hands of frat members.
According to the Washington Post, the national Alpha Phi Alpha’s review of the case found that six pledges were blindfolded on several nights in January and taken to another location, where they were quizzed for up to eight hours each night on frat history and other topics. The fraternity members beat the pledges when they gave an incorrect answer.
After the ordeal, a student, who later came forward, blacked out and was rushed to the hospital for observation. He ultimately withdrew from school.
The fraternity released this statement, published in the Washington Post:
“Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity does not condone and strictly prohibits any illegal acts including hazing in any form whether physical or mental as a term or condition of membership in the organization. Any member found violating the fraternity’s anti-hazing policy will be immediately suspended with a recommendation for expulsion. In addition, the fraternity will continue to cooperate with law enforcement to ensure that any person found to be violating the law will be brought to justice.”
Alpha Phi Alpha was founded in 1906 at Cornell University, making it the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-American Men.