The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is reporting in an article by Molly Born that a Penn State student is pressing charges against a fraternity and the individuals of its purported “little sister” group she claims beat her up in a hazing exercise.
Asya Trowell, 18, of Owings Mills, Md., said members of Omega Essence, an auxiliary group supposedly affiliated with Omega Psi Phi fraternity, poured hot sauce on her face and repeatedly slapped and kicked her in the stomach, among other things, over the period of several hours.
The incident took place April 3, Ms. Trowell’s second pledge day. Two Omega Essence members, ordered by a member of the fraternity, hit her and two other “little sister” hopefuls in the basement of a townhouse off campus and outside, Ms. Trowell said.
“And it was like the torture began,” she said, adding later, “It got to a point where my face was looking so bad, the male dean told the two others they couldn’t hit [me] in the face anymore.”
At one point, Ms. Trowell said her nose was bleeding and one Omega Essence member demanded she wipe the blood off on the shirt of another aspiring “little sister.”
Ms. Trowell said those two were also beaten up, although she believes they proceeded with the activities to earn membership in the group.
Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said the group under investigation, Omega Psi Phi Graduate Chapter, is based in State College but is not a recognized group on campus. An undergraduate chapter of the fraternity has not been recognized or functioning for a year, she said.
Ms. Trowell said she understood the fraternity was part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, a group of historically African-American fraternities and sororities also known as the “Divine Nine.” Penn State’s website lists eight members in that council, and Omega Psi Phi is not among them.
Back in her hometown, doctors told Ms. Trowell she had severe internal bruising and needed bed rest, she said. She said she reported the incident to university police April 9, and the university confirms it received a police report that day.
The investigation continues and individuals are being interviewed, Ms. Powers said.
Ms. Trowell’s lawyer, Scott Cooper of the Harrisburg firm Schmidt Kramer Injury Lawyers, said Ms. Trowell is worried the accused students, who are seniors, will graduate quietly before the university takes action.
“It is possible that if the allegations are accurate and warrant severe sanctions, then we may hold off the graduation of any accused student who was on the graduation list until we work through our judicial process,” Ms. Powers said.
Ms. Trowell does not plan to return to the university and is in counseling to cope with the ordeal.
“It’s taken more of a mental toll on me,” she said. “I’ve lost everything. Penn State was my dream school.”
Molly Born: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1944.
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