Eastern Washington University Investigates Alleged Hazing Incidents in Phi Delta Theta Fraternity

Eastern Washington University Investigates Alleged Hazing Incidents in Phi Delta Theta Fraternity

By Cannon Barnett, Reporter

Eastern Washington University’s chapter of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity allegedly engaged in multiple hazing incidents, including “having 18 students drink over 13 cases of beer in under 30 minutes, physical intimation while answering questions, and ‘wall sits’ for wrong answers,” according to an EWU police report. 

Stacey Reece, EWU’s director of Student Rights and Responsibilities (SRR), said that EWU is currently conducting an investigation into these allegations. Hazing is considered a misdemeanor under Washington state law, however EWU Police are not currently proceeding with a criminal investigation, as the student making the allegations did not wish to be a witness.

Hazing is defined by Washington state law as “any activity expected of someone joining a group (or maintaining full status in a group) that causes or is likely to cause a risk of mental, emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.” Reece said that activities may be hazing if they are not educational, don’t represent the values of the group, involve only select members, or one would not feel comfortable having others witness the activity.

Reece would not offer more details regarding the hazing allegations against Phi Delta Theta in order to protect the “integrity and fairness” of the investigation and student conduct review process. 

In 2019, 19-year-old Washington State University student Sam Martinez was tragically killed by alcohol poisoning after a hazing incident in which he and another pledge to the fraternity were told to drink nearly half a gallon of rum (about 40 shots) over the course of a half hour. It was Martinez’s death that triggered the creation of Sam’s Law, which enforces the prohibition of hazing rituals on college campuses, and requires anti-hazing training be made available for all college staff and students in Washington state.

Eastern Washington University has implemented many programs in order to provide proper education for staff and students, a list of which can be found at the end of this webpage. Jewell Day, EWU Chief of Police, also said that there has been talk at the police department of appointing a Greek liaison within their agency in order to provide education on what hazing is and the law surrounding it to sororities and fraternities.

Without proper education, some people may not know what hazing is in the first place. Here is an article detailing the lack of awareness in students.

Police received a report of hazing from a student on Nov. 9, 2022. The student did not wish to be a witness in a criminal investigation for fear of retaliation from the fraternity, though if they did retaliate, Day pointed out, that would be a crime in and of itself. Reece has confirmed that EWU is holding an investigation on the issue, and that should the chapter be found responsible, any additional information will be posted on the SRR website

Hazing investigations at EWU involve contacting the national or regional headquarters of the fraternity or sorority to let them know that the chapter leaders/members will be interviewed about the alleged behavior. If enough information was received from these investigative interviews, then a staff member from SRR, the chapter leader, and an advisor of the chapter’s choosing, schedule a hearing with the Student Disciplinary Council. If the allegations are deemed true in this hearing, the chapter would be “sanctioned according to the EWU Student Conduct Code,” according to Reece.

Neither the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity nor the Office of Sorority and Fraternity life responded to requests for comment by The Easterner.

Day said he wouldn’t be too surprised if there were other hazing incidents on campus going unreported. 

“I wouldn’t say that I suspect it, but it also wouldn’t surprise me… I’ve been here for many many years, so I am aware of things that go on without any concrete proof of them happening.”

Day says that there are also ways to report incidents anonymously on the EWU Police website, for those that fear retaliation from their respective fraternity or sorority. When this happens, the university police will contact the group involved in the report and conduct a cursory investigation. Essentially, this means that the police will try to figure out the who, what, where, when and whys of the situation while also seeing if anybody would be willing to cooperate as a witness.


List of hazing prevention efforts put forth by EWU, according to Reece:

  • Workshop hosted during Welcome Week for all new students that include bystander intervention, hazing, consent and Title IX
  • Get Inclusive, an online training with modules, one specific for hazing prevention sent to all new students. At present, 1,097 students have completed the comprehensive training that includes information about hazing prevention this fall.
  • Sorority and Fraternity Presidents and Advisors received email outlining new legislation, Sam’s Law, with RCWs linked and attached
  • Hazing committee created this Fall
    • Met twice thus far with meetings established for the remained of the academic year
    • Committee consists of staff, students, and a parent of a student
  • Two hazing prevention workshops hosted for Sorority and Fraternity Life members this Fall
  • Get Inclusive, online hazing prevention training provided to all Sorority and Fraternity Life members this Fall
  • Blog on hazing prevention sent out via Orientation and Family Programs
  • EWU Hazing Prevention website created, includes resources, how to identify hazing, and how to report
  • All EWU employees are now required to take hazing training. This training goes over signs to identify hazing and that they are required to report any potential hazing to Student Rights & Responsibilities. Since the hazing training for employees started in September, 518 employees have taken the online training and 450 have attended in-person training.


The Original version of this article used a picture of a fraternity not associated with these allegations. The Easterner has since removed the photo.