UVM frat denies hazing pledges

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) – Alumni members of a University of Vermont fraternity that has been suspended on allegations of hazing say the charges aren’t true.

The Phi Gamma Delta chapter has been suspended during an investigation of a party.

The investigation by university police started Tuesday. Preliminary reports alleged that fraternity members required pledges to wear cowboy clothes in a theme inspired by the movie “Brokeback Mountain.” Pledges then allegedly were taunted with homophobic comments.

The Alumni Association of Phi Gamma Delta said the event was a “private social function” in which people wore costumes depicting characters from Oscar-nominated films.

“At no time was there any hazing or taunting of pledges. In fact, both pledges and brothers alike were dressed in cowboy attire,” the statement said. “It is unfortunate that someone apparently mistook a costume party for a hazing event.”

Joseph Thibault, a graduate adviser for the fraternity, said after meeting with the fraternity’s president and members that he believes no hazing took place.

Members on campus will be permitted to live in their fraternity house, but no chapter activities can be held while the fraternity remains under the interim suspension, said Tom Gustafson, student and campus life vice president.

A year ago the university shut down the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority because of an alcohol issue. The Delta Psi fraternity was placed under interim suspension in December 2003 after allegations that a member was restrained by other members. And the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity was suspended in 2001 over initiation rites.



Information from: The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com

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