Education

Texas A&M fraternity suspended, sued for $1 million over alleged hazing that led to severe burns

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Two Texas A&M students are suing Sigma Alpha Epsilon for $1,000,000 alleging they suffered severe skin burns when members poured industrial-strength cleaner on them.

In the complaint filed Oct. 18 in Harris County, Patrick Close and Jose Figueroa said they rushed the fraternity in the Spring and were chosen to pledge.

A group of fraternity members took the pair to the SAE House barn on March 29 and forced them to do “kinesthetic activities” while “human spit, raw eggs, paint, food condiments and eventually industrial strength cleaner,” known as SC-200, was poured onto them, according to the complaint.

“Close and Figueroa experienced serious bodily injuries including severe burns as a result of the SC-200,” the plaintiffs said in the complaint.

According to Spartan Chemical, SC-200 is a high alkaline and extra heavy-duty cleaner that can corrode metal and cause severe skin burns.

As a result of the burns that were incurred, the two students were transported to a Houston area hospital to undergo emergency skin graft surgery and were left permanently disfigured, according to the complaint.

Texas A&M suspended the fraternity as of Wednesday night, according to Kelly Brown, associate vice president of Marketing & Communications at Texas A&M.

“The fraternity lost its appeal and was notified last night that their organization is suspended for two years,” Brown said in a statement to 25 News. “Following that period, they will be on probation for two years.”

The university said it will continue hazing prevention education programs with its students.

“Texas A&M will not tolerate actions or behavior that degrades, intimidates, humiliates or endangers students,” Brown said. “Hazing is a violation of Texas A&M’s Student Code of Conduct, student organization policies and Texas state law.”

Close and Figueroa claim the incident violates the Texas anti-hazing statute and have requested a jury trial.

Written by Khadeeja Umana

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