Pledge Blames Fraternity, University for Hazing Incident

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A former fraternity pledge, who claims a hazing incident almost killed him, is planning to file a lawsuit against three University of Arkansas officials, as well as six members of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.

Nicholas Brown was a freshman pledging the fraternity in November 2009. During one event on Nov. 12, Brown says he was ordered to cover his face with a pillowcase and go down to the “dungeon” of the Phi Delta Theta house, reports KFSM.com. The “dungeon,” the house’s basement, was that only room that did not have video surveillance, according to a complaint.

While there, pledges were allegedly forced to endure physical hazing practices and abuse, including drinking several shots of whiskey and drinking large amounts of alcohol quickly through a funnel.

Later, Brown was found passed out on the sidewalk near the Phi Delta Theta house. His blood alcohol level was .68, which is eight times the legal limit. Brown’s girlfriend drove him back to his dorm; however, once there, he collapsed and became unresponsive, according to court documents. He was then taken to a local hospital where he suffered from grand mal seizures and acute respiratory failure because of severe intoxication. Brown fell into a coma, and doctors feared he would either die or suffer permanent brain damage.

An attorney for Brown said university officials knew the organization was already on probation for hazing and alcohol violations; however, they did nothing to stop the abuse. Brown is now seeking damages, as well as reimbursement for his medical expenses.

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