U-R update

An alleged hazing incident involving a fraternity at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville is underway by local authorities, The Union-Recorder has learned.

The victim involved in the recent incident was reportedly hospitalized but later released. His name has not been made public.

Milledgeville Police Department Chief Dray Swicord told the newspaper in a telephone interview Wednesday that detectives are investigating the incident at the request of the Georgia College & State University Department of Public Safety.

Swicord declined to answer questions related to the probe, saying additional information might be released later this week.

The fraternity involved in the ongoing investigation has also not yet been disclosed.

Georgia College President Cathy Cox sent out an email last week to faculty, staff and students.

A copy of that email was obtained by the newspaper.

In the email, Cox said she wanted to update the campus community about “disturbing conduct” that had come to her attention involving alleged hazing activity.

“One of our Georgia College students was hospitalized as a result of this conduct; thankfully, he has now returned to school,” Cox said. “Our Counseling Center has reached out to all new members of the student’s fraternity at GCSU to offer counseling and other support as needed.”

Cox said the fraternity, a member of a national organization, and GC officials have suspended the GC fraternity chapter.

“In conjunction with the national organization, Georgia College has issued the student-members a cease-and-desist order, already in effect, which forbids any further fraternity activity until the matter is finally adjudicated,” Cox said.

The new college president pointed out there is no time and no place in which hazing activity is acceptable on or around the GC campus or involving GC students.

“Likewise, the Georgia General Assembly has recently strengthened laws against hazing to solidify the public policy in our state against this type of activity,” Cox said.

She was referring to the Max Gruver Act.

The bill is named in memory of Max Gruver, an 18-year-old Atlanta area teen, who died from a hazing incident at Louisiana State University.

Senate Bill 85 makes it a high misdemeanor to haze a minor or student.

In the event there is force involved or serious bodily injury, the crime of hazing becomes a felony. It is punishable upon conviction by one to five years in prison, and a $50,000 fine. That same bill, which was introduced by state Sen. John Albers, also outlines that it’s a duty to offer assistance to an injured victim and that failure to do so constitutes a misdemeanor violation of the law.

“If assistance is offered, there will be liability from both civil and criminal penalties,” according to the bill.

Beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, schools are required to report hazing violations, publicly, according to the new law, which took effect July 1 of this year.

“We are cooperating with the local law enforcement agencies that are investigating this matter, and our Student Life staff are likewise investigating it from a student disciplinary standpoint,” Cox said in the email.

At the request of law enforcement authorities, Cox said GC had refrained from making any statements about the alleged incident to help those involved in the ongoing probe.

“We are deeply concerned about the health, safety and well-being of all Georgia College students, and will do our part to hold accountable those who jeopardize the well-being of our students,” Cox said. “We will also expand our anti-hazing programs to help prevent conduct like this from ever happening here again.”

Cox said in the email that such conduct “has no place in civilized society; it is dangerous, and criminal — not fun or funny.”

The college president also asked students to report hazing activity on campus to the GC Public Safety. The college law enforcement agency can be reached at 478-445-4400.

Anonymous information also is accepted by the law enforcement agency. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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