High Point University is being sued by the family of a 22-year-old fraternity pledge who died during a hazing ritual back in 2012. The family alleges that the school officials were aware that hazing was occurring on the college campus and did nothing about it. They also allege that the son of the university president, Michael Qubein, was instigating the alleged hazing and was running wild on and near campus. They said that there was also the use of illegal drugs, alcohol, and violence as well by the fraternity.
Robert Eugene Tipton, Jr from Memphis, Tennessee, pledged Delta Sigma Phi in the spring of 2012. During initiation into the fraternity, it was allegedly told to him to attend a “counseling session” at fraternity member Marshall Jefferson’s apartment, which was located off-campus. After entering the apartment of Marshall Jefferson, Robert was violently assaulted and battered. He died on March 26, 2012, after suffering blunt force trauma to the head, resulting in aspiration of gastrointestinal contents. The report read, “Most likely, he sustained a concussion which precipitated the aspiration.” After his death, it is alleged that Michael deleted text messages from Robert’s phone to erase any evidence.
After the fatal incident, the security workers were told, allegedly, by school officials to use the lowest level of enforcement possible since it involved the university president’s son and his fraternity. The university believes that the lawsuit is unfounded and they will defend themselves. The lawsuit is still pending.
Thoughts About the Case
Unfortunately, I believe that the incident at HPU was not handled properly. I felt that the University officials should have been well aware of what was going on on- or off-campus. I really believe that this wasn’t the first case of hazing reported or that had occurred. It is possible that the fraternity was reported before but nothing was done about it and, as a result, it cost a student their life. The parents of the student more than likely knew about what was going on in the fraternity because their son or his friends could have shared it with them. I really hope that the family of Robert Tipton get justice for their son.
Eyewitness of Hazing
As a former college student, I have witnessed hazing a few times on-campus. I have seen my fellow classmates humiliated, harassed and they were even forced to act in demeaning ways. When the school officials found out that hazing was taking place on-campus, they took action immediately to ensure that everyone felt safe and not suffer abuse. The university president suspended the group’s right to initiate new members for a couple of semesters.
This is why it is so important that students contact University officials first because, usually, they will immediately take action. However, if nothing is done about the situation, the police should be contacted. This is very important because it could be a life or death situation.
Hazing is a Problem
Hazing is definitely a hidden and serious problem. Being a part of a campus group should be one of the most meaningful aspects of a student’s life, but, unfortunately, hazing undermines that valuable experience. Hazing degrades and risks physical and emotional harm because of the hazers need to feel powerful and in control. Unfortunately, hazing hinders academic achievement, destroys self-esteem, and does nothing to foster trust, unity, or respect.
Hazing occurs across a wide spectrum of organizations, such as athletics, sororities, fraternities, and marching bands. It is far more widespread than people really realize and, unless, school officials and parents work together to prevent hazing, it will continue to be a problem.
MyFox8 News:Family of deceased student sues HPU, alleges fraternity hazing.
News and Record Mobile.Family of Deceased HPU Student sues, alleging hazing. Author: Robert Lopez.