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Former Lambda Phi Epsilon Pledge Details Culture Of Hazing

Lambda Phi Epsilon’s brownstone on 114th Street

Editor’s note: this article contains descriptions of physical hazing.

Bwog has received a detailed report about the initiation process of Columbia’s chapter of Lambda Phi Epsilon which details the extreme hazing pledges are forced to endure. According to an anonymous student who pledged the fraternity in the Spring of 2018 and disaffiliated this semester (Fall 2018), the abusive rush process that he experienced involved intense physical exertion, food restrictions, and food that appeared to be laced with chemicals.

The student, who said that he vaguely knew that the initiation process would be physical but did not know the extent, described physical trials including doing push-ups, burpees, running suicides, and other strenuous activities. The exercises started out at a manageable level, he said, but grew increasingly torturous. Lambda’s pledging process included so many “knuckle push-ups” that his knuckles were bleeding for days.

The student also described an incident in which the fraternity brothers singled out a pledge and made the pledge suffer additional extreme physical exercises, including knuckle push-ups, in the Lambda house basement. The rest of the pledge class, who did not know what was happening to him at the time, was summoned to the house to “save” the pledge after the pledge had been there for around two hours. When the student and his fellow pledges arrived, according to Bwog’s source, the pledge who was being punished was crying out in pain and collapsing as he attempted to do the exercises.

Other chapters of Lambda from New York University and the University of Pennsylvania were involved in the hazing, according to Bwog’s source. He said that members of NYU’s Lambda chapter came uptown to Columbia to participate, and at one point an NYU brother singled him out to do hundreds of knuckle push-ups.

In the last week of the pledging process, the Columbia pledges were taken to the University of Pennsylvania’s chapter. There, they were made to compete with the Penn Lambda pledges in physical activities, including push-ups and high knees. The exertion was so extreme that our source recounts passing out and being doused with ice water to forcibly awaken him.

The student described other horrifying accounts of hazing rituals that happened during the final week of the pledging process, commonly referred to as “Hell Week” at Lambda and other fraternities. According to him, the pledging members were made to sleep in the Lambda house every night. They were permitted to sleep for only a few hours at a time and were woken up at irregular intervals to be hazed.

Our source said that the pledges’ CUIDs were taken from them and that they were forbidden from going to dining halls. The pledges were permitted only to eat tofu and brown rice prepared at the house. At one point, according to our source, they were fed chicken that seemed to be prepared with some sort of chemical that he said caused an intense, acidic burning sensation, and made one pledging member momentarily go blind.

Our source described the pledging process as he experienced it last semester, in Spring 2018. The student further claimed that he disaffiliated in the Fall and filed a report with the university last week. He has not yet heard from the university about his report. He said that the university does not know about these incidents unless someone tells them, which he believes is uncommon. He also noted that Lambda only had two or three group hazing sessions such as the ones described above, and interactions with the fraternity brothers outside of such hazing are mostly casual and social. He added that fraternity initiation processes at other universities tend to be even worse than those at Columbia.

If this student’s recent report leads to repercussions for Lambda, the fraternity will first receive a list of alleged charges. Then a small number of brothers will represent the fraternity at a hearing, where they will be informed of the context of the report. This process typically takes weeks; any charges brought against Lambda and the results of the hearing are typically not made public even after completion. Lambda is currently on social suspension for hard alcohol, according to the fraternity’s president, but is not facing any sanctions related to hazing.

The Lambda president acknowledged in an interview with Bwog that recruiting processes have been “problematic” in the past, and emphasized their recent efforts to change how initiation works. He also stated that the old process included certain rules, including “no drugs, no alcohol, and no skipping classes.”

He explained that resistance to any changes in the Lambda pledging process typically came from the outgoing class of upperclassmen. Once the class of 2017 graduated, the fraternity was allegedly more free to make changes. Lambda claims that they voluntarily opted out of taking a pledge class this semester (Fall 2018) because they were making drastic changes to the pledging process. He said they have been redesigning the process since the summer and have been working on it throughout this semester.

He also said that the fraternity wanted to keep the end goals of the pledging process and the lessons it teaches (“never leave a brother behind,” “know your limits,” etc.), which he said are “objectively good values,” while rejecting the “bad” process. According to the president, Lambda’s new pledging process no longer involves physical coercion, which he confirmed has happened in the past, but rather focuses on learning about Asian identity (Lambda Phi Epsilon is an Asian American-interest fraternity) and planning cultural and philanthropic events.

A university spokesperson declined to comment at this time about the hazing rituals at Lambda, which occurred in part within Lambda’s university-owned brownstone on 114th Street, but Bwog has reached out again and will update this post with any statement received from Columbia.

Edit December 2, 2018, 8:20 PM: To clarify, Lambda Phi Epsilon was not aware of the allegations in this article prior to its publication.

Lambda Phi Epsilon via Bwog Archives

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68 Comments

  • What a snitch says:

    @What a snitch Kid needs to mind his own business. If he didn’t like it, he could have dropped at any point.

    1. are y'all even a real frat says:

      @are y'all even a real frat u mad bro?

    2. bepis says:

      @bepis you complete stupid fuck he did drop and then reported the frat for hazing aka violence and abuse. shut the fuck up

      1. moron says:

        @moron He dropped after he went through with the entire process. Shut the fuck up and read the article dumbass

      2. @collusion prince shut the fuck up bepis

    3. DodgeAllDay says:

      @DodgeAllDay lambdas is full of ppl insecure about their self-perceived emasculation and choose to compensate with a nice protein shake made of 100% pure aggro-ness

      1. roidrage says:

        @roidrage +1 can confirm, incredibly toxic people to be around.

    4. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Taking that L L L.

    5. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Stay REKT and in jail .

    6. kev says:

      @kev Literally suck me dude, you and your bois are going to be pushed off campus, lost to the tides of history and actual physical/mental abuse.

      absolutely ridiculous that this is the accepted process for “brotherhood,” and making a “community.” I’d snitch on you and your dumbass bros anyday of the week. losers, its all fun and games until some poor lost frosh gets speared to death in the mountains of northern new york. fuck all of you idiots

  • AznBro says:

    @AznBro Weak Asian frat wannabes

    1. Donald Trump says:

      @Donald Trump Keyboard warrior

  • Bitchass says:

    @Bitchass Bitchass

  • ameringlishboy says:

    @ameringlishboy my best friend joined a frat. now he only hangs out with his fellow bros. dickhead.

  • Concerned says:

    @Concerned This is despicable. I can’t believe we even have Greek life at Columbia. Greek life perpetuates morally repugnant behavior among cis white men.

    1. AznBro says:

      @AznBro There’s two genders. Cis my ass

    2. duh says:

      @duh I’m trans and in a frat and i kinda fucking agree most of the time

      1. duh says:

        @duh (with concerned not Azn bro)

    3. equally concerned says:

      @equally concerned Lambda is an Asian-American interest frat so let’s not leave that out of the picture

    4. That's racist bro says:

      @That's racist bro Definition of racism
      1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

    5. That's sexist bro says:

      @That's sexist bro Definition of sexism
      1 : behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex.

  • Kunta Kintae says:

    @Kunta Kintae Lol rekt bro gg

  • xeslana says:

    @xeslana A culture of hyper masculinity to overcompensate for all of the negative stereotypes surrounding asian males that these men grow up hearing and internalizing.

    1. anon says:

      @anon kinda fucked to say that whenever asians do things percieved as masculine its to overcompensate. like are they not allowed to work out and be healthy lol?

      1. xeslana says:

        @xeslana Not necessarily. I’m just saying in this context. I don’t see that many people doing knuckle pushups at the gym until their hands are bloody, do you?

        1. anon says:

          @anon If this wasnt an asian frat would you have the same response in saying that theyre overcompensating? Stop trying to make generalizations about a group only in context or their stereotypes, you’re only enforcing them. Perhaps that is your intention becuase you feel your own identity being undermined when you see that others arent restricting themselves to your preconcieved notions of their culture and race. What a bummer.

      2. read before u weep says:

        @read before u weep ok but like as an asian-american, i’m just saying there ‘s actual research backing the fact that hazing is especially physical for asian-american frats. it’s a systemic issue & calls for deeper investigation into both the frats themselves (and how they play a role in our communities) and how broader society treats asian-americans as a whole.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/magazine/what-a-fraternity-hazing-death-revealed-about-the-painful-search-for-an-asian-american-identity.html

        https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3105967

    2. Like Genghis Khan? says:

      @Like Genghis Khan? Dude was the most alpha motherfucker in history. Also happened to be asian.

  • @collusion prince fake news

  • hazing happens here says:

    @hazing happens here this is not the first or only frat w hazing on this campus. the culture needs changing

  • impartial2104 says:

    @impartial2104 While the guy had all the right to share whatever happened to him, there are also certain commitments to the fraternity that are assumed to be secret and agreed by the rushee before pledging. If he had already disaffiliated in the fall, why would he come up with this now? I wonder if his intentions in coming out with this now were fueled by resentment more than anything else. I’m not trying to endorse the emotional and physical toll pledging involves, I just think that he should think about his intentions in making this public and the consequences this has for others whose experiences with pledging have been more positive.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous You’re throwing around a lot of assumptions about this person. There are plenty of good reasons to file a report that aren’t resentment. One of them might be so that others will never have to experience this kind of abuse. Even if the person is resentful, he has a reason to be if these details are true.

      1. @RATS, stay biting on that cheese he’s a fucking snitch

        1. dudebro says:

          @dudebro dude shut the fuck up, nothing is sacred, and any dumbfuck bois club should get snitched on. grow up dude

      2. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous keep in mind pledging is entirely a voluntary process…

    2. Anon says:

      @Anon 1. Is this not still fall semester? 2. Is that a threat? “Think about the poor consequences for the hazers…” Violent cultish hazing rituals don’t need to be honored with silence, like what the fuck. He has no obligation to keep the secrets of these shit heads anymore. These creepy rituals thrive in silence and should be brought to light for criticism. Also, hazing is still considered hazing even if brainwashed little fucks willingly participate and claim to enjoy.

    3. Steven says:

      @Steven This fraternity has killed people in the past during hazing, he is doing the Noble thing. Google Kenny Luong.

  • horrifying says:

    @horrifying BAN FRATS

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Ban alcohol, and drugs, and pot first.

      1. that was dumb says:

        @that was dumb L.

  • L L L says:

    @L L L you taking the L L L

  • Anon says:

    @Anon Ban frats. Literally only the US has these stupid organizations that do nothing but hurt students

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Not true. Europe is loaded with private clubs and organizations.

    2. generalization much says:

      @generalization much frats are flawed but don’t have completely negative effects or else no one would still be rushing them dumbass

      — cis (not het!) frat kid

  • yike says:

    @yike I’m sure that frat hazing is problematic, especially when it comes to hazing with alcohol… but from the article, it sounds like Lambda’s hazing process is alcohol-free and is basically intense workouts, food restriction and sleep deprivation — which sounds a lot like being on a sports team?? I’m sure I don’t know the full extent of the pledging, and I do not want to delegitimize the feelings of the person who came forward with the allegations, but I’m curious to know if most members of Lambda Phi Epsilon feel though the process is abusive, or if this is an opinion held mainly by this one ex-Lambda.

    I’m also curious to know if Bwog has done any reporting to verify the claims in the article, especially the food-lacing claim, which seems particularly egregious.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Omg, he had to do pushups! Sounds terrible. Say it isn’t so.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Wait is this the kid that has been going around bragging to people that he’s going to “take down lambdas” and joking about what frat he should take down next? I think a hazing process like this should definitely be exposed, because it’s truly a horrible thing and this kid could be truly traumatized, but I’m confused what his true motives are because it seems like the frat is already taking actions to reform the process, so why is he going public with this now? Aren’t there better ways to change the process (which are maybe happening already?)? Seems shady, esp because I haven’t heard of any other lambda disaffiliates/complaints against their hazing process, but idk

    1. “Anonymous” says:

      @“Anonymous” Why would you personally have heard of other disaffiliated/ complaints? Gossip queen? You must be a lambda bro

  • f bwog says:

    @f bwog that feel when spec hasn’t posted or commented on this but bwog has … probably because it’s very clear they’ve done no fact-checking (as evidenced by the edit at the bottom) and thus this amounts to nothing more than publishing unverifiable gossipy claims. smh bwog

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous damn bro why are you so mad that spec didn’t post an article first? I guess you lost your chance to get your name on a hazing article. So sad. I’ll pour one out for you.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous rumor has it spec turned this article down because it was unsubstantiated/could not be verified

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous so you’re not going to trust the statements of a person who has already reported everything in this article to the university? That sounds more like you don’t believe the source (which is a whole other issue). It also seems that Lambda acknowledged that hazing of this type has occurred in the recent past. So what tips you off that this isn’t a true story?

          1. we don’t know anything says:

            @we don’t know anything to be fair we also do not know if he actually reported to the university / if there is an ongoing investigation, as the university has not commented. i guess if he didn’t then it would call into question the trustworthiness of the source, and whether some of what he said was exaggerated

          2. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous fairly certain they weren’t confirming it, made clear by the last edit that they were not aware that they were responding to specific allegations

      2. spec sux says:

        @spec sux remember when bwog scooped spec on that wrestling story and spec literally copied what bwog already reported and listed FOUR DIFFERENT WRITERS in the byline so said writers could pad their resumes?

    2. spec sux says:

      @spec sux bwog consistently scoops spec and instead of actually getting better at establishing contacts on their beats, spec just leaves rude comments on bwog articles

    3. gurl it's ok says:

      @gurl it's ok spec, we all know it’s u. calm down babe <3

    4. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous That’s what butt hurt lambdas say. Grow up kid

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Triggered Lambdas LOL.

  • Your Daddy says:

    @Your Daddy This article is fake. Everyone knows multicultural orgs don’t haze.

  • rushPi's says:

    @rushPi's Snitches get stitches

  • x says:

    @x you get in shape from the workouts and its all worth it in the end :)

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Lambdas are trash

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Downvotes are by sensitive Lambdas who are in denial that their org is a joke

  • hot ones says:

    @hot ones “they were fed chicken that seemed to be prepared with some sort of chemical that he said caused an intense, acidic burning sensation” u mean hot sauce? LMAOOO

  • Anon says:

    @Anon Identity politics at its worst.

  • Bart K says:

    @Bart K Anybody who have heard of lambdas know that these kids are a bunch of wannabe herbs that still look like they in highschool 😂😂 not surprised one of their FORMER pledges will go against them 😂 And they stay getting bullied by other fraternities is what it looks like

    1. Bart’s Fart says:

      @Bart’s Fart 😂😂😂😂😂😂

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