Tau Phi Xi, Tau Kappa Epsilon named in hazing reports

Through an open-records request, The Equinox received all hazing records from 2016 to present.

2019

In a report dated November 20, 2019, Leaf Seligman, an adjunct professor reported that a student had broke down crying in his class.

“My student, [redacted] broke down in tears in class about three weeks ago (maybe four) saying she had not slept in over a week and was unable to complete coursework for any of her classes as she was so anxious, exhausted and stressed by sorority hazing.”

In the report, Seligman noted that his co-instructor Andrea Bredbeck, a trauma specialist, spoke with the student and informed the student about resources on campus.

According to the report, by the next class, the student had felt better because they stopped pledging the sorority.

The report went onto say, “Then yesterday in class… during a conference with Andrea… began crying audibly enough that I [Seligman] heard it two tables away.”

The student then showed Bredbeck screenshots from a group chat regarding the student’s blacklisting. The screenshots from the group chat were included in the records, with names and phone numbers redacted.

“Again, she was distraught, feeling isolated and hurt by the shunning. This situations has negatively impacted [redacted] academic performance and presence in our course and clearly caused her psychological harm,” the record states.

In the case notes, it lists that the report was being investigated by Keene Police Department and the Department of Campus Safety.

The Equinox reached out to Campus Safety Director Christopher Buckley, however, Buckley said that no current members of Campus Safety would have been a part of the investigation.

Keene Police Officer Matthew Bomberg said in an interview that in investigating the report, they did not find any hazing violations committed.

Director of Community Standards Matthew Salter said there was never a Community Standards hearing about it.

“The investigation by Campus Safety and Keene Police determined there wasn’t enough to move forward,” Salter said.

 

APRIL 2021

On April 8, 2021, a student came forward to Brandon Carta, the advisor for sorority and fraternity life, and discussed her experiences while pledging an of-campus sorority, Tau Phi Xi in the Fall of 2019.

According to the report, “The specific acts of hazing that she recalls included:

  • Blind folding women, putting them in a car, driving them miles from campus and asking them to walk back.
  • Sleeping in the basement of an off campus home with other members of her new member class.
  • Carrying and writing in a history book that had to be presented to active sisters upon request.
  • Picking up and sober driving active members from bars/parties.”

Carta referred The Equinox to Campus Safety for comment.

The report goes on to state that the student was called in the middle of the night to a house where members of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) lived “for an emergency.”

“Upon arrival, they were brought into a basement and yelled at excessively for being ‘the worst new members in the organization’s history’ by the fraternity men,” the report states.

The report’s case information states “DCS/KPD have already investigated this report.” The case information also lists under Cleary Reportability, “HATE CRIMES: Intimidation.”

 

TAU PHI XI’S RESPONSE

“We never were blindfolded into a car,” Olivia Yovanov said. Yovanov, an active member of Tau Phi Xi who was pledging the sorority in Fall of 2019, continued, “They just had to sit there with their eyes shut. They [active members] also asked for consent ahead of time.” Tau Phi Xi president Madelyn Alter was also present for the interview.

Yovanov said the pledges and the actives were always around the same area. Yovanov said they were not taken “super” far away, and said the pledges had to stay with the actives in the cars.

Alter explained further, “All the active sisters would stay in cars.” Alter explained that the car with the actives would be lighting the path with the headlights, as the walk occurred at night, and the pledges would be behind the car.

Yovanov denied ever sleeping in a basement.

Regarding the history book, “We had these things called pledge books and basically we would go, we would kind of all sit together and write in them together about like history and stuff,” Yovanov said.

“We were never, ever taken to TKE,” Yovanov said. “We were never. The boys were never made a part of our process.”

Alter noted that Tau Phi Xi was founded by TKE, however Tau Phi Xi is completely separate form TKE and they do not associate with them.

TKE president David Anania also denied involvement.

In an email, Anania said, “With the possible exemption of a couple of our seniors, most of our active roster, including myself, were not members of Tau Kappa Epsilon during that alleged timeframe. Tau Kappa Epsilon does not condone hazing nor participate in such actions. We do not involve ourselves in any new member process that is not our own. We are sorry to hear that such an event took place, but we deny any involvement.”

 

Tom Benoit can be contacted at tbenoit@kscequinox.com

Soren Frantz can be contacted at sfrantz@kscequinox.com

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