You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Historic fraternity no longer recognized following hazing incident

Wilmington College has barred a local fraternity accused of a Halloween hazing incident that sent one pledge to the emergency room and into surgery to have his testicle removed.

The Quaker college imposed its most severe penalty — that it will never again recognize Gamma Phi Gamma as a campus organization. The Greek group, which celebrates itself as the nation’s oldest local fraternity, has existed since 1907, according to its website, but has been suspended by Wilmington in the past for hazing. The fraternity has no other chapter affiliates operating on other college campuses.

The latest hazing incident thrust the college, which has 1,000 undergraduates, into the national spotlight. One pledge suffered damage to his testicle when he was struck with a towel “fashioned as a weapon” during a ceremony, according to Clinton County Municipal Court records.

Twenty members of the fraternity were present for the ceremony Oct. 30, according to the records. Three pledges were told to imitate swimming in as much as three inches of water on the floor of the fraternity’s off-campus house, made to stand and strip naked, applied with “a substance described as being like ICY HOT,” had Limburger cheese and other items put in their mouths, instructed to make sexually explicit movements and “struck with towels and shirts that had the ends balled in knots or items tied inside to inflict pain,” according to a search warrant from Wilmington Detective Brian Kratzer.

The fraternity’s “rights at Wilmington College are permanently extinguished and henceforth the college will no longer recognize Gamma Phi Gamma as a Greek organization,” a judicial board ruled. The fraternity appealed that ruling, but the punishment was upheld, spokesman Randy Sarvis said. The group can make a final appeal to college President Jim Reynolds, who previously called the incident “disgusting and despicable.”

Reynolds told the newspaper Thursday he has not heard whether the fraternity will appeal to him. Representatives for the fraternity could not be reached for comment.

Once the college’s judicial process is exhausted, Reynolds said he will hold a series of conversations on campus to move forward.

“This is really incongruent with our values what happened that night,” Reynolds said. “It’s still an incident that I think has taken a toll on the campus. I think we’re all trying to understand better why something like this happened on our campus”

Reynolds said they will strive for “restorative justice.” “It’s not just punishment, but it’s also the aftermath of that punishment and how do you heal together as a community. And that’s a really important thing for us as we go forward this semester.”

Sarvis said the sanction means the fraternity can no longer participate in any campus events. Citing a student privacy law, he said he could not discuss whether individual members of the fraternity have been or will be disciplined by the school.

Police have been conducting a criminal investigation in the case, but were not available on Thursday to disclose whether criminal charges would be filed.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in News

Charlotte attorney disbarred after being accused of having sex with clients
Charlotte attorney disbarred after being accused of having sex with clients

A Charlotte, North Carolina, attorney accused of having sex with several of his immigration clients has been disbarred, officials said. Court documents show the clients he targeted were "especially vulnerable." According to the court filing, attorney Chris Greene voluntarily surrendered his license after he agreed that he could not defend...
Does White House press secretary Sean Spicer have a vendetta against Dippin' Dots?
Does White House press secretary Sean Spicer have a vendetta against Dippin' Dots?

Former chief strategist and communications director of the Republican National Committee Sean Spicer doesn't seem to have an affinity for Dippin' Dots ice cream. >> Read more trending stories   The current White House press secretary has taken to Twitter on numerous occasions to express his distaste for the self-proclaimed...
Sales of George Orwell's '1984' surge after Kellyanne Conway's 'alternative facts' comments
Sales of George Orwell's '1984' surge after Kellyanne Conway's 'alternative facts' comments

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report. During an interview with Chuck Todd of NBC's "Meet the Press," counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said White House press secretary Sean Spicer's comments about the size of the crowd that attended the inauguration of Donald Trump were "alternative facts."  People quickly...
Technology, history and our future

Reader Bill Brown wrote in about our discussion a while back about history, English majors and the modern day. “Technology allows us to accomplish tasks faster, cheaper and more efficiently. Great … except when it’s not. Humans are flawed creatures. We have many wonderful traits, and we also have some really nasty ones. Students...
Springfield kids say: Welcome to the Promise Zone
Springfield kids say: Welcome to the Promise Zone

Contact this contributing writer at Springfield’s next generation of performers/songwriters is about to make its mark. The Promise Zone Crew, a group of 10 area youths in grades 3-6, will release its first CD in the coming weeks. The CD has six original hip-hop tunes and two music videos based on the songs. The songs reflect...
More Stories