24 Cal Poly Pomona, CSUSB and UCR fraternities and sororities disciplined in five years – San Bernardino Sun

In the past five years, fraternities and sororities at the Inland Empire’s three public universities have been disciplined or received warnings from university officials 44 times, most of them for hazing.

In response to a California Public Records Act request made by this news organization, officials at Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State San Bernardino and UC Riverside released 216 pages of disciplinary letters sent to a combined two dozen fraternities, sororities and other Greek letter organizations on their campuses between 2016 and 2021. Cal Poly Pomona disciplined six organizations, CSUSB disciplined four and UCR disciplined 14.

The disciplinary letters ranged from warnings, to partial or total suspension of a group’s activities, to dissolving local chapters altogether.

Among those disciplined: On Nov. 19, 2019, UCR disbanded the local chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, a historically Black national social fraternity, following the death of Tyler Hilliard, who died Sept. 16, 2018, during an apparent Alpha Phi Alpha pledge event at Mount Rubidoux. According to the letter, “multiple other hospitalizations” resulted from other pledge activities.

But much of the hazing fraternities were accused of may sound mild to older generations (or those who’ve watched “Animal House” or “Revenge of the Nerds”). Sigma Chi pledges at Cal Poly Pomona, for instance, were required to perform serenades at sorority meetings, escort sorority members from their meetings to their cars, dress like other pledges or in uniform, and create and perform formal greetings when speaking to full members.

What’s acceptable behavior by student organizations has changed over the years, due to both changes in California law and universities’ policies.

Bringing in new members — “pledging” — has changed as a result, according to Jonathan Grady, Cal Poly Pomona’s dean of students.

“They really take a very educational, transformative approach to this process,” he said. “I’ve definitely seen a change and universities putting an intentional focus on that educational component, that community component.”

But changes to acceptable behavior for fraternities and sororities isn’t being pushed by adult authority figures alone.

“The students are part of the change, and I would argue that they’re the driving force behind the changes,” Grady said.

Natalie Padilla, 20, is a third-year history major at Cal Poly Pomona. Padilla’s parents were worried when she joined Alpha Xi Delta as a first-year student, scared she’d be exposed to hazing or alcohol abuse.

” ‘Why would you want to do that?’ ” she remembered her father asking. “In his head, hazing was still pledges getting their stomachs pumped after pledge week.”

She has no interest in that sort of Greek experience.

“Why would that be something you want to seek out and be humiliated?” she said. Instead, becoming a new member of Alpha Xi Delta is more about education and connecting with existing members, according to Padilla.

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