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Two Sheets to the Wind: The Legal Consequences of the Hazing Ritual

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In the last year, the hazing ritual of freshman pledges has sparked a national outcry. Greek organizations-who are largely self-governed-have faced criticism for turning a blind eye to the rampant binge drinking culture on campuses. Just last year, Texas State University in San Marcos, TX suspended all Greek-activities after a freshman pledge died from binge drinking during a fraternity's hazing incident. This time, the Alpha Sigma Phi chapter at the University of Arizona is the latest culprit.

Brett Barr, ex-pledge member of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity and former student of the University of Arizona has sued his former university's Board of Regents and fraternity for the hazing he endured over a year ago. Barr's hazing took place when his fraternity blindfolded him, forced him to binge drink, and physically assaulted him from various incidents over a three week-period. These activities caused Barr to seek immediate medical attention where he was treated for "head trauma, a lacerated spleen, cigarette burns on arms, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting."

Afterwards, Barr left the university and then filed a lawsuit in July 2018. Officials at the University of Arizona closed down the Alpha Sigma Phi chapter in April 2017 after investigating the incident. In this case, the legal arguments will be key. On one hand, lawyers representing the Board have denied any responsibility and instead claim Barr is responsible for his own actions during the hazing. On the other hand, the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity asserts the individual fraternity members are ultimately responsible for the closure.

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries and damages as a result of hazing, the experienced lawyers at the law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner can assist with your claim. Call today at 713-396-3964 or 1-800-594-4884 for your free consultation.

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