Binghamton University cancels pledge rush

April 19, 2012 at 1:21 PM

BINGHAMTON, N.Y., April 19 (UPI) -- Binghamton University has banned the ritual of fraternity and sorority pledging this spring in an attempt to stop hazing incidents.

The public college is a part of the State University of New York.

Administrators say their problems with misbehavior are no worse than those of other schools, but called for the prohibition on fraternity and sorority recruitment stunts in the eight-week pledge period known traditionally as "pledge rush" because of an "alarmingly high number of serious hazing complaints."

New York is one of 44 states with anti-hazing laws, and a person guilty of conducting initiation or affiliation activities that cause or create a risk of injury can be convicted of a misdemeanor.

"The climate on campuses is such that there's just much less tolerance for aberrant behavior, particularly anything that can result in violence or injuries to others," said Kevin Kruger, president of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

The concern for student safety, legal exposure of the school and public embarrassment has spread across the country. The New York Times reported Thursday the University of Connecticut has advised students to go home instead of attending a party known as "Spring Weekend," at which a student was killed in an off-campus incident in 2010, and the University of Colorado at Boulder announced it would close its campus Friday, the day of an annual planned mass marijuana smoke-out.

The actions come after well-publicized hazing scandals at Boston University and Dartmouth College, and the deaths of students in hazing incidents at Cornell University and Florida A&M University.

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