COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Two students at Texas A&M University are suing a fraternity for more than $1 million after they claim they were hazed with substances that caused “serious bodily injury.”
Patrick Close and Joseph Figueroa filed the lawsuit against Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), Texas Tau Chapter, and eight members of the fraternity on Oct. 18 in a Harris County District Court.
The men claimed the fraternity violated Texas Education Code Section 37.153, an anti-hazing statute. The statute defines hazing as “any intentional, knowing, or reckless act occurring on or off the campus of an educational institution, by one person or acting with others, directed against a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in an organization.”
The lawsuit states the two men were chosen to pledge SAE for the Spring 2021 semester. Around March 29th, they arrived at the SAE house where they were “forced to do various kinesthetic activities” while substances were being poured on them by local members of the fraternity.
Close and Figueroa claim the substances included “human spit, raw eggs, paint, food condiments and eventually the industrial based cleaner SC-200.”
SC-200 is a high alkaline, solvent-based, extra heavy-duty industrial cleaner which can cause skin burns and eye damage according to the manufacturer.
Both men sustained severe burns to their body due to SC-200 and were taken to a Houston-area hospital where they each had emergency skin graft surgery and would eventually have to undergo a second skin graft surgery, the lawsuit states.
“Close and Figueroa are both permanently disfigured as a result of the burns they endured at the hands of the Defendants,” the lawsuit states.
According to KPRC, KSAT’s sister station, a university spokesperson confirmed Texas A&M’s SAE chapter was suspended for two years and will serve two years of probation following the suspension.