Senate censures USG VP for hazing comments

USG Vice President Blake Ackerman apologized for comments regarding hazing pledges of his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu. (Krystal Gallegos | Daily Trojan)

Undergraduate Student Government Vice President Blake Ackerman was censured at the USG meeting Tuesday after senators received an anonymous email with screenshots tying Ackerman to comments about hazing.

“I … regret that those comments imply that I condone hazing in Greek life, which I absolutely do not,” Ackerman said. “I know that hazing has a negative impact on both individuals and the community as a whole, both in terms of mental health and campus climate, and should not be tolerated on our campus.”

Following his remarks, the Senate voted to censure Ackerman while it looks into the screenshots included in an anonymous email.

On Friday, USG senators, along with the Daily Trojan, received an email with screenshots of Ackerman’s comments on a post in a Sigma Alpha Mu Facebook group. One screenshot showed comments made by Ackerman in support of a post that suggested giving an instant bid to pledges who have sex in a casket.

“So down for this,” Ackerman wrote.

Another screenshot showed Ackerman standing behind two fully naked brothers on the fraternity’s front lawn.

“I firmly believe that the process of censuring [Ackerman] is a good first step towards addressing these allegations in a thorough and fair manner,” said Sen. Michaela Murphy, who proposed the censure.

The email states that an SJACS investigation is underway, but Ackerman said in a statement to the Daily Trojan that he has not been notified of an official investigation.

These screenshots clearly position Blake within close vicinity of an incident of indecent exposure,” the email read. “Blake is within mere feet of two fully nude brothers … on Greek Row in front of the SAM fraternity house, and surely must have been aware that this was occurring at the time.”

With Ackerman censured, Speaker Pro Tempore and Sen. Matt Crane presided over the meeting.

Sen. Meagan Lane, who said she voted in favor of the censure, explained that as of now no drastic measures will be taken and Ackerman will not be removed from his position.

“I’m very much in favor of being as fair as possible and getting all of the facts from all parties,” Lane said. “As an elected officer I also intend to look further into the information that we did receive over the weekend because my primary interest is to protect the integrity of our work.”

Senators will discuss the future of Ackerman’s position at following senate meetings. 

CORRECTIONS: This article incorrectly stated that Vice President Blake Ackerman was censured indefinitely. He was only censured for the senate meeting on Nov. 6.

The story also incorrectly stated that Sen. Matt Crane will be presiding over future senate meetings . He only presided over the meeting of Nov. 6.

The story also stated that Ackerman was being investigated by Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards. Ackerman said he was not aware of this investigation and the Daily Trojan could not independently confirm the type of investigation.

The Daily Trojan regrets these errors.