Hey, IUS, please give us the hazing investigation records we requested

The Horizon Editorial Board

Interviews with many members of IUS student organizations and the dean of campus life have revealed IU Southeast is aware of student hazing complaints and has investigated such claims multiple times over the past 10 years.

Two weeks ago, The Horizon requested public records relating to allegations of hazing and resulting university investigations.

We have not received any records, nor have we received the administrator travel reimbursement records we requested two months ago.

Two weeks is more than enough time to produce records, and two months is egregious. In both cases, IU Southeast is flouting state law. The Indiana Access to Public Records Act requires IU Southeast, as a public institution, to provide these records upon request, and The Horizon calls on IUS administration to follow the law and demonstrate the transparency our community deserves.

To be clear, The Horizon is not accusing anyone of hazing.

But if our university has investigated reports of hazing, the public has an interest in knowing what has been alleged and what has been done about it.

In a Nov. 4 interview, Dean of Campus Life Seuth Chaleunphonh said, “It is a priority of our university to make sure we keep our students safe from anything related to hazing or other abuses or misconduct.”

During our investigation, members of IUS student organizations told us concerns about hazing are raised every year.

Chaleunphonh did not tell us how many complaints have been filed, but he did deny there have been formal complaints or investigations every year since he became dean in 2008.

“Are you saying, like, the last 10 years I’ve been here have there been 10 complaints about hazing? I would say I don’t think so. It’s small. I don’t know, specifically,” he said.

Regardless of the number of complaints, the public has a right to know the facts about any hazing that may have occurred.

An opportunity

It is easy for administrators to speak out against hazing, but words are useless if not accompanied by meaningful action. IU Southeast has an opportunity to take a public stand against hazing by being fully transparent and releasing the records. Anything less is unacceptable.

Following several recent fatalities, universities across the nation are reassessing hazing. Some are taking appropriate corrective action; some are looking the other way.

IU Southeast cannot look the other way. We must be better, and the first step is transparency.

Our message to students and alumni

This is a difficult issue. We get it. We will continue to cover it with restraint and sensitivity.

Over the past month, we have interviewed many sources and heard many stories, but we know we have not heard every story. Maybe you have something to add. If you or someone you know has information about hazing at IU Southeast, we want to listen.

The Horizon wants our campus to be safe and enjoyable for everyone.

If you have a story to tell – if you believe you were hazed, or if you saw or heard something – we want to hear your story. Contact us at horizon@ius.edu.