Update: DSU investigating hazing allegations after crash

DOVER – Hazing allegations are being investigated after four Delaware State University students and another person were injured Saturday in a two-vehicle crash on Del. 1 near the Del. 9 overpass near Smyrna, the school confirmed.

DSU President Dr. Wilma Mishoe and Executive President Dr. Tony Allen released a statement to the University community Monday night regarding the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and issued it publicly late Tuesday morning.

“Throughout the day we have continued to receive additional information concerning the accident our students were involved in on Saturday.

“We have decided to conduct a thorough investigation into what we now know are allegations of hazing and improper conduct in the membership intake processes of at least one Greek-letter organization on campus. While completing this investigation, we have placed a hold on all activities for this organization in particular, and are also issuing an unequivocal statement to the entire campus community:

“ ‘We are wholly committed to creating a campus that is welcoming to all students and supporting them in their academic and student life throughout their college years. Any action to the contrary will not be tolerated. To be clear, the University does not condone hazing or abusive conduct in any fashion, at any time.

“We are equally committed to thorough fact-finding, cooperation with all legal authorities, and an appropriate response to all of the affected parties.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured students, their families and the entire campus community. We appreciate your continued support during this difficult time.’ ”

DSU spokesman Carlos Holmes said all Kappa Alpha Psi “activities have been put on hold pending completion of an investigation.”

DSU Police and the Office of Student Affairs are investigating the matter. The nature of the possible hazing was not disclosed.

“We’re not commenting on specific allegations,” Mr. Holmes said. “We will conduct a through investigation and once completed the findings will be evaluated and lead us to what actions we may have to take.”

National organization responds

Kappa Alpha Psi’s national headquarters released a statement early Tuesday afternoon:

“On (Saturday) four candidates for membership in the Delaware State University Chapter the Pi Eta of Kappa Alpha Psi were involved in an automobile accident where all candidates were taken to the hospital with two listed in serious condition and others listed as stable.

“Kappa Alpha Psi has suspended operations of the chapter pending investigation and will fully cooperate with the Delaware State Police throughout the investigation. Kappa Alpha Psi will work closely with the university on the fraternity’s course of action.”

According to Kappa Alpha Psi Executive Director John F. Burrell, “We want to express our concern and offer thoughts and prayers for all involved.

“We are so grateful for the first responders and law enforcement officers as they provided important care and protections during the accident.”

In 2013, DSU determined that 16 members of school band groups participated in minor hazing incidents and faced possible dismissal from the organizations.

While DSU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Alton Thompson described at the time the actions as late-night and early-morning pranks with no injuries resulting, they did violate a strict adherence to student code of conduct that has a zero-tolerance policy for hazing.

“The actions involved things like some students getting coffee and drinks for others at all hours of the night, answering cell phones early in the morning, taunting, name calling, situps, pushups, running, things of that nature,” Dr. Thompson said.

The crash detailed

Delaware State Police responded to media questions about the incident with a statement as well:

“The investigation is active and ongoing and there are no further details to release at this time.
“The Delaware State Police have not released any information as to whether or not any of the injured subjects were affiliated with Delaware State University and have no information nor comment about any suspected hazing.”

According to the DSP the driver of a 2007 Chevrolet Impala and a passenger were transported to Christiana Hospital in critical condition, and two passengers were in stable condition. A lone occupant of a 2019 Toyota Tacoma was taken to Christiana Hospital in stable condition.

Police reported the accident took place late in the afternoon. Del. 1 northbound was closed for about four hours as an investigation ensued and the scene was cleared.

In announcing the crash last weekend, DSP said the Chevrolet veered into the center grass median, then began to spin counter-clockwise into the northbound lanes and into a vehicle driven by a Pennsylvania man.

The Toyota’s front end struck the Chevrolet’s passenger side, moving it northbound for a shot distance before both vehicles came to a rest in the middle of the highway, authorities said.

According to the New Castle County Paramedics Facebook page, the Kent County 911 center dispatched fire and EMS units at 4:50 p.m. The first responder within a minute was an off-duty NCC Paramedic Sergeant just beginning his work commute.

The paramedic reportedly found for people trapped in a vehicle, two who could not be accessed due to extensive damage.

Police asked anyone with information to call Cpl. J. Lane of the Troop 3 Collision Reconstruction Unit at 698-8457. Information can be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or online at delaware.crimestoppersweb.com.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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