Texas A&M frat sued for $1M after some pledges say they were burned

Briana Conner Image
Saturday, October 30, 2021
Texas A&M frat sued for $1M after pledges say they were burned
Some pledges claim they suffered such severe burns that they had to undergo skin graft surgeries. The university has dealt with other hazing issues in recent years.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KTRK) -- Alleged fraternity hazing at Texas A&M University has one group facing a lawsuit for $1 million after some pledges say they were burned.

The lawsuit was filed last week after two pledges say they were hazed in March by members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

The pledges said they were forced to do "kinesthetic activities" and had foreign substances poured on them, including spit, raw eggs and industrial-strength cleaner known as SC-200.

The two plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit are sophomore students at the university and are from the Houston area.

They claim they suffered serious burns and had to receive several skin graft surgeries.

The university said the fraternity is suspended for two years for violating the student code of conduct, as well as the Texas state law. After the two-year suspension, the fraternity will be on a two-year probation.

Texas A&M sent ABC13 a statement about this incident.

"Texas A&M will not tolerate actions or behavior that degrades, intimidates, humiliates or endangers students," university representatives said. "We will continue our hazing prevention education programs, which includes outlining what constitutes hazing and the consequences for such poor choices."

"At first it was fun and games, you know, but things started getting a little bit out of hand," said Houston-based attorney Jose Calderon, as described an event involving the Texas A&M chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and his two clients who were pledges.

He identified the degreaser allegedly poured on them as SC-200, which the lawsuit said caused his clients serious injuries.

"They're going to have these scars for the rest of their lives," Calderon said. "There's no doubt about that."

Calderon said he and his clients hope a jury trial in Harris County will lead to change on Texas A&M's campus.

"Hazing has been going on for way too long," he said. "We hope that this case sets a precedent that this wont be tolerated."

The fraternity's national manager of public relations, Johnny Sao, sent a statement in response to ABC13's questions.

"Although Sigma Alpha Epsilon does not comment on matters related to litigation, we want to be clear that hazing in any form will not be tolerated, and members who engage in these types of activities will be held accountable to the fullest extent," Sao said. "Hazing has absolutely no place in Sigma Alpha Epsilon."

This is not the first hazing incident the university has had to handle in recent years. In 2018, its Phi Gamma Delta fraternity was suspended for violating alcohol and hazing rules at the time of a freshman's death.

Joseph Little, an 18-year-old from Houston, died as the school year was beginning. Little reportedly had a seizure at an off-campus housing complex two days before he died.

SEE MORE: Texas A&M fraternity Phi Gamma Delta suspended for violating alcohol and hazing rules before Houston teen's death

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