Virginia Tech student sues after hazing suspension

February 6, 2020 GMT

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A former Virginia Tech student is suing the university after he was accused of overseeing a ceremony that violated the school’s hazing policy.

Darrien Brown alleges the university denied him due process when administrators suspended him for two semesters for allegedly overseeing a Corps of Cadets blood-pinning ceremony in October. During the ceremony, the sharp ends of military pins are pushed into the chests of cadets. Brown’s lawsuit describes the ceremony as “a Corps tradition.”

The Roanoke Times reports that Brown brought the lawsuit last week in federal court. The suit alleges that Brown, a business management major, will lose his military scholarship and ability to join the Army. It calls on Tech to reinstate Brown and expunge his record.


The AP reached out to the Corps of Cadets. Its communication director referred questions to Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech spokesman Mark Owczarski declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said the school stands by its policies and protocols.

“We believe that when all sides of an issue are ultimately heard that our actions will be upheld,” Owczarski said in a text.

Brown’s lawsuit says that a group of cadets gathered on Oct. 18 for a voluntary sophomore integration event. About 21 juniors and seniors led the event, the lawsuit says.

The group performed exercises, went on a hike and had a bonfire, then cadets were given pins, the lawsuit says. It says an unidentified participant later alleged the pinning ceremony event constituted hazing.

“The pin involved is a small company pin. It is placed on a person’s shirt and tapped. Participation in this ceremony is entirely voluntary,” the lawsuit states.

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in federal court.