"THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS CASE ARE OUTRAGEOUS AND UNCONSCIONABLE AND AGAINST THE VERY FABRIC OF EVERYTHING THAT YOUNGSTOWN STATE UNIVERSITY STANDS FOR.” -- Cynthia Anderson, YSU president
By Denise Dick
Youngstown State University’s first black and oldest fraternity has been suspended after a student was beaten off-campus, and amid allegations of hazing.
President Cynthia E. Anderson said an internal investigation is ongoing and could lead to the permanent revocation of Kappa Alpha Psi’s charter at YSU.
City police are investigating the assault of YSU student Resean M. Yancey, 20, of Selma Avenue, whose family believes he was a victim of hazing.
According to a police report filed Feb. 2, Yancey was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center by a friend about 8 p.m. Feb. 1. The report says he had been assaulted and beaten by unidentified suspects, “causing injuries, concussion and contusions all over his body.”
YSU Police Lt. Mike Cretella, the interim police chief, said Yancey was released from the hospital Wednesday and is recovering at home.
“The circumstances of this case are outrageous and unconscionable and against the very fabric of everything that Youngstown State University stands for,” Anderson said at a news conference Thursday. “We will not, under any circumstances, tolerate such behavior, and we will work diligently to make sure that any student organization or individual that in any way participates in such behavior is removed from the university.”
Kappa Alpha Psi was chartered at YSU in 1946. Its website says the YSU chapter was the university’s first black Greek-letter organization and is “currently the oldest chapter of any fraternity at YSU.”
Kappa Alpha Psi is part of the National Panhellenic Council but not the Interfraternity Council at YSU.
Keith Hunt, executive director of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., the national organization in Philadelphia, said the national was notified by Cretella on Wednesday about the investigation and is compiling information.
“We did contact our [regional] leader, and we then asked him to do a cease-and-desist order,” Hunt said. The local fraternity is forbidden from participating as a Kappa Alpha Psi chapter during the course of the investigation, he said.
The regional leader also will conduct an independent investigation into the incident.
Hunt said the national fraternity policy prohibits hazing.
The police report says both Yancey’s mother and grandmother noticed different behavior in the young man for the previous two weeks, including going out late at night.
Family members told police at the time of the report that they believe his injuries may be the results of hazing, the report said.
A man who answered the telephone at the Yancey home Thursday said the family didn’t want to comment.
University police are working with city police in the investigation.
“We had enough information that we felt we absolutely had to take some action,” Anderson said.
She declined to say where the beating occurred because of the ongoing police investigation.
The fraternity is being suspended under YSU’s Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct, which prohibits hazing, the YSU president said.
Because of the suspension, the fraternity is denied access to the campus and prohibited from participating in any university activities.
Jack Fahey, vice president for student affairs, said that while other Greek organizations at YSU have been suspended in the past, he’s not aware of any suspensions because of hazing allegations.
Anderson said the alleged incident reflects poorly on other student organizations that are working positively on behalf of YSU and their members.
“I want to make it perfectly clear that any campus student organization or individual student participating in any activity that threatens the safety of the YSU community will be dealt with promptly and severely,” she said.
Kappa Alpha Psi has had problems at other campuses.
In 2010, the Student Judicial Board at Georgia State University ruled that Kappa Alpha Psi would be permanently suspended from campus due to alleged hazing, according to its student newspaper.
The board concluded that on Dec. 16, 2009, a student was “slapped in the face three times and punched in the stomach, an area of his body that had a surgical scar from a previous injury.”