Nelson: 0 of 6 alcohol poisonings greek

Editor's Note: The Crimson White received the following message at 1:33 p.m. Thursday from University spokeswoman Cathy Andreen. The statement corrects Nelson's previous statement, saying instead that four of six students treated for alcohol poisoning as of Oct. 1 were greek.

Unfortunately, there was an error in the statement from Dr. Nelson that we sent you late yesterday. Greek affiliation was not listed in the original information we received about the six alcohol poisonings. After seeing the headline this morning, Dr. Nelson rechecked and learned that four of the six students who were treated for alcohol poisoning  are members of Greek organizations. However, it is absolutely true that none of the alcohol poisonings were related to hazing. -Cathy Andreen

Vice President for Student Affairs Mark Nelson released a statement Wednesday night in response to concerns about the anonymous email that The Crimson White reported on earlier in the week. In it, Nelson said the University takes the process of pledgeship and allegations of associated hazing very seriously and outlined the process of investigating those allegations and the resources in place to ensure that the pledgeship process was as free of hazing as possible.

“I know there have been concerns expressed about the anonymous letter reported by the CW in Tuesday’s edition,” Nelson said. “While we have confirmed that a similar ‘anonymous’ letter was also sent to other universities in the SEC, I want to emphasize that UA will continue to take allegations of hazing and the national problem of alcohol abuse very seriously.”

“We take immediate steps to investigate and respond to any allegation of inappropriate behavior,” he said, citing the Office of Greek Affairs’ yearlong work with fraternities and sororities to educate them on hazing, a shorter pledge period of seven weeks, a limited and monitored number of hours that pledges can be in the house each day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., required study halls for each chapter, and required educational programs every Tuesday night for all new greek members.

Nelson said security guards patrol the areas outside fraternity houses between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. every night as well, to be able to deal quickly with any problems that occur, and the hazing and harassment hotline is monitored daily by members of the Student Affairs staff.

Nelson also responded to the allegation of the authors of the anonymous letter that hazing during the pledge process had sent pledges to the hospital.

“Due to the significant hospitalizations and other infractions,” the anonymous letter said, “It would appear a weekly suspension is insufficient in order to correct the pledge process at UA.”

In his statement, Nelson said as of Oct. 1, six UA students had been treated at the DCH Regional Medical Center for alcohol poisoning and none were members of greek organizations.

“Not one incident was related to hazing,” Nelson said.

Brad Fisher, the communications director of DCH Regional Medical Center, said in the hospital’s 2012 fiscal year, Sept. 30, 2011 to Oct. 1, 2012, 48 people between the ages of 18 and 22 were hospitalized for alcohol overdoses. Because of federal privacy laws, Fisher could not report whether the hospitalized were UA students or their conditions on admission to or discharge from the hospital.

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