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Ole Miss suspends Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity for hazing

JACKSON (AP) — The University of Mississippi has shut down its second fraternity this year over hazing.

The Ole Miss chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha has been suspended until 2021, the university said Thursday. The investigation revealed “disappointing and troubling activities,” according to a letter released from Melinda Sutton Noss, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students.

The fraternity’s national organization conducted its own hazing investigation of the Nu Upsilon chapter, said Alpha Phi Alpha spokesman Henry Stewart.

Based on the investigation’s findings, Stewart said the chapter was suspended by the Baltimore-based national organization until 2020.

Both the University of Mississippi and Alpha Phi Alpha declined to elaborate on their findings.

Stewart said the national fraternity has a zero-tolerance policy on hazing and works to educate chapters on its risks and reinforce the fraternity’s strict ban.

“We’re, of course, always disappointed when (members) violate rules that are instilled in them from the moment of initiation,” Stewart said.

The university defines hazing as any activity expected of someone joining a group or keeping its full status that “humiliates, degrades, or risks emotional and/or physical harm” such as forced alcohol consumption, physical or sexual assault, sleep deprivation and more.

Hazing at Ole Miss is prohibited and can result in university punishment, criminal prosecution or civil liability.

The fraternity is the second this year to be disbanded at the university following hazing investigations, after Sigma Alpha Epsilon was suspended in December. According to Noss’ letter, other Greek organizations have been investigated following hazing allegations, as well.

Following Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s suspension, the university established a hazing prevention task force.

In Mississippi, hazing is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $2,000 and six months of jail time.