Oklahoma State U. fraternity could face hazing, assault charges

STILLWATER, Okla. (U-WIRE) – Six Oklahoma State University students could face hazing or assault and battery charges in response to an incident during an Alpha Phi Alpha function at Apple Creek Apartments.

On Feb. 15, Randall Nash, a biochemistry and molecular biology sophomore, reported to the Stillwater (Okla.) Police Department that he had suffered extensive injuries while attending initiation events to join the fraternity.

“We received a report last Friday detailing the situation,” Stillwater District Attorney Rob Hudson said.

“I am waiting to meet with the victims’ families, and together we will determine which charge is more appropriate for the nature of the case,” he said.

The Oklahoma State Alpha Phi Alpha chapter has been shut down by its national organization.

The initiation event was called “set” and took place five to six times a week, according to a release from the Stillwater police department.

During the meetings, the pledges were subjected to physical punishment if they were unable to recall information about the fraternity, according to an affidavit.

Nash’s injuries included scrapes on both elbows, bruises on the chest and back and the loss of all skin layers in about a 2-inch diameter on his buttock.

Nash was certain his injuries were worse than the other pledges for he received additional ‘punishments’ when other pledges were unable or unavailable to take their ‘punishments,’ according to the affidavit.

“When the victim went to the hospital to treat his injuries, the doctors advised him to seek the services of a plastic surgeon,” Hudson said.

Stillwater Police Officer Greg Miller recovered 10 wooden paddles that varied in size from the residence of Cory Cox, the president of Alpha Phi Alpha.

Miller obtained a search warrant Feb. 18 to take pictures of the victims’ injured bodies.

“Based on the description of the abuse, I believe it to be reasonable to expect the other pledges to have received injuries from the use of the paddles,” Miller said.

Oklahoma State Communications Directory Gary Shutt said the university is taking steps to address the conduct of the students in question.

“This is a very serious matter involving allegations of student actions that are strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated at Oklahoma State University,” said Gary Shutt, director of communications.

“We are addressing the incident through our student conduct committee, while cooperating fully with local law enforcement authorities.”

Shutt said a student conduct board, comprised of two faculty members, two students and a staff member, will review the case this week and make a recommendation as to their status as Oklahoma State students.

“That recommendation will then be forwarded to Lee Bird, vice president of student affairs, and we should have a decision this week,” Shutt said.