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Canton police investigate alleged hazing

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CANTON — Village police continue to investigate an incident of alleged hazing that prompted SUNY Canton to suspend the Zeta Alpha Phi fraternity and many of its members.

While college officials have said they expect charges to be filed against some of the instigators, police have yet to say whether this is likely.

“We don’t know at this point. It’s still an ongoing investigation,” said Sgt. Basil W. Cheney, who is leading the investigation.

Several students are under investigation, he said, stemming from an incident that occurred at an off-campus residence less than two weeks ago.

While college officials have disclosed that the incident involved hazing, including physical and mental abuse, of students looking to join ZAP, Mr. Cheney said he could not disclose any details until the investigation is complete.

How long that will take is still up in the air, he said.

“It all depends on how many people I have to talk to and how long it takes me to track the people down and get them in here and talk to them,” he said.

SUNY Canton expects its investigation to finish up within a few weeks. It is being conducted independently of the police investigation and may lead to sanctions against the students involved and the fraternity.

The organization may be fined, suspended temporarily or disbanded permanently. This is not ZAP’s first hazing incident. It was suspended in 2006 after a similar situation and reformed three years later with all new members.

Fewer than 10 students are involved in the college’s investigation, according to Courtney B. Bish, SUNY Canton’s dean of students.

They may be suspended or even expelled, depending on the investigation’s findings and a determination by the college judicial board.

Mr. Cheney would not confirm whether the police investigation was limited to members of ZAP, but the college has said that no students from any other fraternities or sororities were involved.

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