The Shmooze

Student Sues UC Davis Over Jewish Fraternity Hazing

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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A former University of California at Davis student has filed a lawsuit against the university. His claims include negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and creating a hostile educational environment — all stemming from the university’s refusal to address his complaints about hazing at a Jewish fraternity on campus.

According to the court papers filed on behalf of Ryan Clifford, he was forced to drink dangerous amounts of alcohol laced with drugs and was subjected to violent and sexual abuse. Clifford says that Alpha Epsilon Pi pledges were required to attend a retreat at Lake Tahoe, where senior members forced them to drink “inordinate amount of alcohol” laced with narcotics. Clifford says he was also forced to undress in front of everyone there and that some of the fraternity members touched his penis and made sexual comments. The lawsuit lists other instances of abuse, including one that resulted in Clifford’s suffering a broken bone requiring two orthopedic surgeries.

In addition, Clifford alleges that he was “specifically targeted for the harshest form of hazing, known as ‘ratfucking,’ because of his non-Jewish religious affiliation.”

Clifford says that the university did not initially respond to any of his complaints. Eventually, it did put AEPi on “conditional registration” status for seven month. Clifford claims, however, that the university did not monitor the fraternity and that the abusive behavior continued as before.

Eventually Clifford left the fraternity and filed suit against it. At that point, Clifford claims the university advised him to withdraw from his studies, despite his being only 6.5 credits away from graduation. Clifford did so and then sued the university.


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