Four Tallahassee Students Face Hazing Charges

1-29-07

FSU police say complaints of hazing come in every so often; usually they turn out to be nothing, possibly a joke. Still, officers go to the scene, regardless. Another call came in on Saturday, this complaint referring to an incident at an off campus home on Bonnie Drive.

When FSU and Tallahassee police arrived on scene, four men took off running, tipping them off that something was up. That's when they found 31 Sigma Phi Epsilon pledges, dressed in t-shirts and sweat pants, huddled under the crawl space of the home.

MAJ James Russell with the FSU Police Department said, "It's not normal to be under a crawl space to begin with, and then on top of that, according to the officers, they had stuff on their clothing."

That stuff is described by officers as fish stink bait, raw eggs, flour and vinegar. A probable cause affidavit goes on to say the pledges' t-shirts were marked with vulgar language and they had what appeared to be welt marks on their bodies from an unknown object hitting them.

Police arrested the four men who ran off, charging them with misdemeanor hazing. The men charged are FSU students Joshua Vincent and Drew Johnson and Tallahassee Community College students Eric Fernandez and Nicholas Finazzo. Vincent and Johnson are the only two registered with the national fraternity, according the Sigma Phi Epsilon headquarters.

Chris McCaw, with the fraternity's headquarters, says the behavior listed in the police affidavit is not condoned by the national organization. McCaw says a staff member is heading to Tallahassee to help participate in the investigation to determine whether it was a chapter sponsored event or if it was just a few individuals. The outcome of that investigation will determine the consequences ranging from the chapter handling disciplinary action on its own to the chapter's closure.

FSU's Student Rights and Responsibility is also looking into the incident to determine whether the students violated FSU's student conduct code.


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