Following a hazing incident late last year, Northeastern University placed its chapter of a national fraternity on probation. Now this brotherhood has responded.
The incident in question happened on December 10 on Cedar Street in Roxbury. Members of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity were seen moving 16 blindfolded people into the back of a U-Haul truck by a neighbor, according to a police report. Investigations by the police, Northeastern and Phi Delta Theta then followed.
“Phi Delta Theta holds the safety of every member of the fraternity, as well as the individuals on the campuses and communities they are a part of, in the highest regard. The Brotherhood ritual does not involve inhumane acts that endanger the comfort and safety of its members,” the Brotherhood said in a statement from its headquarters.
A neighbor reported the incident to the police around 7 p.m. They told officers they had video of the fraternity members getting into the truck before it left the neighborhood.
Terre Dilworth, a neighbor, told police his surveillance cameras caught more than a dozen people being driven into the truck, according to Channel 7 WHDH.
“There were actually over 20 kids who were blindfolded, had their jackets removed, and driven into the back of a U-Haul by fellow fraternity members,” Dilworth told WHDH. “You are putting someone’s child in danger, by allowing their life to be put in danger for something that is not worth it.”
When officers arrived at the fraternity house, two members told them they were “having an initiation party” with promises, according to the report. They added that the truck was driving aimlessly around Fort Hill.
Fellowship members who spoke with police said they were unsure why Boston police responded to the incident and that “the initiation was harmless.” They also said other brotherhoods held “much worse” initiation ceremonies, according to the report.
After other officers were called to the scene and explained the dangers of the situation, they received confirmation that the pledges were bringing an Uber or Lyft back to Roxbury from where they ended up in Needham.
“Phi Delta Theta does not condone any action that directly contradicts the values and policies of the Fellowship and holds strict rulings against members and chapters that violate Fellowship expectations and the law,” the fellowship added in a statement.
Probation includes sanctions, activity restrictions and educational programs. The investigation revealed that no one involved in the incident was injured, according to Phi Delta Theta’s statement. The probation will last until the spring semester 2022.
The fraternity is headquartered at the University of Miami in Oxford, Ohio. Phi Delta Theta has 193 chapters across the country, according to its website.
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