UB’s decision to postpone Greek events is commendable but overly general


UB President Satish Tripathi was quick to act Friday and suspended fraternity events for the immediate future.

This was hours after 18-year-old Sebastian Serafin-Bazan was rushed to Buffalo General Medical Center Friday morning following possible hazing at Sigma Pi. 

We applaud UB for quickly telling students what happened and taking an immediate stance.

This is what SUNY’s flagship university should do.

We support a serious approach to hazing, which has resulted in the deaths of 27 college students since 2010. Most deaths involved alcohol, but at least three involved over-strenuous exercise. That’s what appears to have happened with Serafin-Bazan, although police and the university have yet to offer a cause. 

We are thankful Serafin-Bazan is still alive and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. We hope he returns to walk the halls with us soon. 

We don’t want to lose any more classmates to the senseless stupidity of hazing. 

Still, we question Tripathi’s broad action. We fear it is too general, too harsh. 

We agree with the many disgruntled Greek-life students we spoke to who insisted they were being unfairly punished. Some students have spent months planning upcoming events, many of which benefit charities. They should not be forced to cancel these events because of the poor choices of others. 

All Greek-life organizations should understand the gravity and responsibility of their charters.

They should be wary of the dangers of hazing, of pushing people to their limits, of the mob mentality that allows people to watch as others suffer. 

We don’t yet know what happened at Sigma Pi. The fraternity has to answer for Serafin-Bazan’s condition. 

The immediate need for accountability falls on Sigma Pi. It should not fall on all fraternities and sororities. 

We agree, the university should know how each organization functions and if it is fulfilling its mission. We’re surprised it doesn’t know this already. 

We encourage the university to do a thorough review and to suspend Sigma Pi. But we think the university should allow the 16 fraternities and eight sororities to incite this acute review to carry out their charity and other select events through the end of the semester. 

Postponing all social Greek events takes the attention off Sigma Pi and makes Greek life the focus. 

Fraternities and sororities are historically secretive. 

For decades, Spectrum reporters have struggled to cover Greek life comprehensively. 

This weekend, several frat members blocked a Spectrum editor on social media, just for reaching out for information to inform the students what happened. 

We believe Greek life adds to our campus. We know many students feel their fraternities and sororities help them navigate college life better and make them feel less alone.

We hope this tragedy will remind fraternities and sororities of that role and of their responsibilities to their pledges. 

We also hope the university’s review will make Greek life more transparent and accountable. Long-term change is needed to avoid having conversations like this again. A stronger relationship is needed between UB and Greek Life so the university can be more aware of what is happening around campus.

This would show that irresponsible actions have consequences and is key to making that change, but UB must ensure the right people are being held accountable.

The editorial board can be reached at  opinion@ubspectrum.com