UVa student seriously injured after alleged hazing accident

A University of Virginia student was seriously injured after an alleged hazing accident at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house in Charlottesville late Tuesday night.

The news was first broken by the Jefferson Independent, a conservative, student-run news outlet on Grounds, which reported that a second-year transfer student pledging Kappa Sigma had been drinking heavily at the fraternity house on Rugby Road when he fell backward down to staircase and hit his head on a wall at the bottom. According to the publication, sources say the student has been hospitalized and is comatose.

Neither a UVa spokesperson nor a Kappa Sigma spokesperson denied the report when contacted by The Daily Progress.

UVa spokesperson Bethanie Glover said Kappa Sigma has been suspended pending a Division of Student Affairs investigation into the matter.

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“We take allegations of hazing seriously and act quickly to investigate them and take disciplinary action if necessary,†Glover told The Daily Progress in an email. “State and/or local law enforcement agencies investigate allegations of hazing under Virginia law. The Division of Student Affairs investigates allegations of hazing under University policy.â€

Glover said she could not disclose any more information until the investigation is closed, including the student’s condition.

A spokesperson for Kappa Sigma, which has its national headquarters just south of Charlottesville city limits, said the fraternity is aware an injury did occur. I have offered no other details.

“Our hopes and prayers are with our member for a speedy recovery,” Brown told The Daily Progress via email.

Brown also gave a full-throated condemnation of hazing, which is not only explicitly prohibited at UVa but a crime in the commonwealth of Virginia.

“Hazing is disgusting and is not tolerated by the Kappa Sigma Fraternity as it violates our Code of Conduct,” he said. “Kappa Sigma will take swift and severe actions against the membership of those credibly involved in hazing.”

The Daily Progress reached out to the Inter-Fraternity Council at UVa, an independently run student organization that oversees Greek life at the university. The council did not respond.

There were several accounts of hazing within student organizations and clubs in 2022 reported to the University Judiciary Committee, a student-run body that issues sanctions based on the findings of Student Affairs’ investigations.

In September 2022, the women’s gymnastics club was charged with hazing at an “initiation†event where incoming members were instructed to perform various stunts and required to take a shot of alcohol or water if they failed. In response, the judiciary committee required the group’s co-presidents to attend two meetings with a member of the UVa administration from Student Engagement or Fraternity & Sorority Life and required all executive members to attend Hoos Against Hazing training.

That same fall, incidents of hazing were reported with the University Guide Services. Current members forced new members to chug alcoholic drinks and served alcohol to underage members on several occasions, according to reports. The judiciary committee decided the group must create a central document of conduct for all of its members that includes anti-hazing expectations. The University Guide Services must also hold a meeting every semester where these expectations are explained to members.

Tuesday’s incident at Kappa Sigma comes a little more than a week after Virginia legislators passed a bill requiring hazing awareness and prevention training at public high schools in the commonwealth. Senate Bill 379 was approved two years after the passage of what’s known as Adam’s Law, which mandates hazing training at all Virginia colleges. The bill is named after Virginia Commonwealth University student Adam Oakes who died in 2021 after a fraternity hazing incident.

Senate Bill 379 calls for the State Board of Education to approve hazing education curriculum to be taught in ninth- or 10th-grade health and physical education classes.

Emily Hemphill (540) 855-0362

[email protected]

@EmilyHemphill06 on Twitter

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