Purple Poo suspended for hazing
By: Sierra Wells
The Purple Poo, a spirit organization currently celebrating its 100-year anniversary at Tarleton State University, was suspended on March 31, 2021. According to a Tarleton hazing report, the Purple Poo were given an interim suspension due to their participation in the hazing of new recruits. The incident was initially reported to Tarleton on March 1, 2021, and an investigation ensued. Members of the Purple Poo were found to have supplied and consumed alcohol and encouraged new members to participate in an activity involving nudity.
On July 28, 2021, the Purple Poo were found to be in violation of several rules from the Student Conduct Code, including: 5.8.3 Student Organizations, 5.7 Hazing and 5.26 Violation of any university rules or procedures.
According to the disciplinary sanctions, the Purple Poo will not participate in any events or activities on campus while the suspension remains in place unless the Dean of Students grants special permission.
When asked if she was the Purple Poo advisor, Stephanie Chambers replied in an email, “I am not the advisor, but I believe all questions can be sent to Dr. Ortega-Feerick, the Dean of Students.”
Ortega-Feerick said to forward all questions to the Assistant Vice President of Marketing and Communications Cecilia Jacobs. According to Jacobs, Chambers was the previous advisor.
Texan News attempted to get a statement from the Purple Poo faculty advisor; however, there is currently no advisor since the organization is not active.
When asked if she could answer questions as the previous advisor in an email, Chambers never responded.
Tarleton Police Chief Matt Welch stated, “Tarleton PD, as a best practice, routinely sends their cases to either the County or District Attorney for review and charges if applicable.”
The Police Department then directed all other questions to Jacobs who said, “Tarleton prohibits any conduct that constitutes hazing and takes allegations seriously. Hazing has no place in the university’s mission and values. Our priority is to provide a safe and caring environment for all Tarleton Texans, and the university’s zero hazing policy reflects this. We support our students’ legal rights by following established practices for investigation and sanctioning of campus organizations.”
An eight-step action plan was created for the organization to complete before the suspension will be lifted. The action plan includes: the revision and approval of organizational bylaws and expectations, the revision and approval of internal procedures, the approval of an organizational advisor, attendance to risk management training (Title IX, Hazing, Drugs and Alcohol), development of a risk management plan, the completion of smart choices with the Counseling Center and the completion of a hazing prevention course.
The final step of the action plan will take place during Sept. 20-24, 2021, which is National Hazing Prevention Week. The Purple Poo will be required to organize a campaign, raising awareness of the dangers of hazing. Once the Purple Poo complete the action plan, they will transition from Interim Suspension to Disciplinary Probation until the end of spring 2022.
“We believe that appropriate, reasoned disciplinary processes are educational and ultimately improve a group’s leaders, members and culture,” Jacobs said.
When Tarleton students were asked their view on the Purple Poo’s suspension, there were mixed responses. Some students were unaware that the suspension was even in effect, while others, like junior Ryan Bean, were fully up to date on the situation.
Bean said, “I think what the Purple Poo got as a form of suspension is perfect because what they did was horribly wrong. It’s not 1984; it’s 2021. You shouldn’t be doing any hazing like that.”
On the other hand, junior Kayman Legan did not know the Purple Poo were suspended, but she still agreed with the sentence they received for hazing.
“They definitely do need some punishments,” Legan said. “The drinking part is kind of like, you know, not good, but the hazing part definitely isn’t acceptable.”
This situation mirrors the infamous Plowboy suspension in 2016. When the Plowboys were found guilty of hazing which resulted in significant injuries. Tarleton handled it by suspending the organization for an entire year. The Purple Poo’s indiscretion, on the other hand, resulted in a lower sentence.
When asked about his view on the difference in suspension time, Bean said, “The plowboys got someone horribly injured. This was bad, but it wasn’t ‘put someone in the hospital and disfigure them’ bad.”
Every Tarleton student was given access to information about the suspension in an email that went out Aug. 5, 2021.
The Texas Education Code, Section 51.936c states, “Each postsecondary educational institution shall distribute to each student 14 days prior of each semester a list of organizations that have been disciplined for hazing or convicted for hazing on or off the campus of the institution during the preceding three years.”
Jacobs ended by saying, “Students who experience, witness or hear about hazing in any form should report it immediately or call the University Police Department at 254-918-1273.”
For more information, visit https://www.tarleton.edu/studentrules/documents/hazing-report-August2021.pdf.