By Jonathan Smith, Editor in Chief
The university placed the men’s social club Sub T-16 on a two-year suspension Oct. 13 after an investigation into alleged hazing violations during pledging activities.
Dr. Wayne Barnard, dean of Campus Life, said the suspension will mean Sub T will not be recognized or even exist as an official club on campus. It will not be able to participate as a club in activities such as pledging, intramural sports and Sing Song.
Barnard and Jimmy Ellison, chief of ACU Police, who had been conducting the investigation into the club activities, met with Sub T to announce the suspension.
“Asking how the meeting went would be like asking a bereaved family how the funeral was,” Ellison said. “It was certainly not news that the Sub T membership wanted to hear, but they asked some good questions, vented some understandable frustrations and disappointment to Dean Barnard, but overall handled themselves as best as could be expected.”
Chad English, member of Sub T and junior management major from Dallas, said the announcement came as a big surprise, and the club decided to appeal the decision to Dr. Royce Money, president of the university.
However, Barnard said Money announced Monday that he upheld the club’s suspension.
English said the club as a whole had not discussed what it would do now that it was suspended.
Barnard said members would need to conduct a self-study of the club and its history during its suspension.
“The club will need to work with its broader membership to engage in a self-study surrounding issues of mission, purpose and practice,” Barnard said. “This self-study will aid the club in creating new traditions and practices that are consistent with ACU’s Christian principles and with Texas statutes on hazing.”
Texas’ hazing law states that organizations cannot endanger the mental or physical health of another who is seeking entry into that organization through ways such as physical brutality, extreme physical activity or subjecting someone to extreme mental stress, shame or humiliation.
Barnard has said he first heard in late September that some Sub T pledging activities might have violated the state’s hazing law. At that time, Barnard suspended Sub T pledging activities and had Ellison and the ACU Police begin investigating the activities because of the legal questions.
Although he could not discuss specifics findings of the investigation, Ellison said he was able to determine a reasonably accurate timeline and description of all pledging activities. He said that although some unspecified activities could have violated the law or university policies, some events were within law and university policy.
Barnard said the investigation stopped Oct. 10 because the potential victims chose not to file criminal hazing charges. A victim of a potential crime must wish to file charges for a criminal hazing case to proceed.
“While it is true in this case that no pledges wanted to cooperate with a criminal case, I feel comfortable stating that had a pledge elected to file a complaint with us, based on what we learned in the investigation, I would have filed the case with the District Attorney for their review and consideration,” Ellison said.
Ellison said he informed club members that potential victims could file charges up to two years after an event under Texas law.
Sub T was the third social club this semester to be disciplined by the university for pledging activities. The club’s suspension follows the women’s club Delta Theta being made inactive for at least this semester after club advisers resigned and Galaxy’s pledging activities being cut short when the club was put on probation for having an unapproved pledging activity.
“In order for club pledging to work, everyone needs to fully understand the applicable laws, university policies and especially the Christian principles and foundation that should be considered first and foremost in everything any of us do,” Ellison said. “If that Christian principle is truly considered first and foremost and guides all of our activities, policies and laws would never be an issue.”