TIME beauty

Miss America Responds to Hazing Allegations

FOX News Anchor Gretchen Carlson Interviews Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev
Rob Kim—Getty Images Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev on September 16, 2014. ( Rob Kim/Getty Images)

Said she didn't haze, except if you count what's "under the broad definition of hazing"

Newly crowned Miss America Kira Kazantsev appeared on Good Morning America Tuesday to deny allegations that she was kicked out of her Hofstra University sorority for hazing, but admitted that she did mistreat new pledges “under the broad definition of hazing.”

“Well, unfortunately these allegations, first of all they’re just not true,” she said, before adding: “Under the broad definition of hazing, yes I was involved with some of those activities while I was at Hofstra.”

“I came in as an impressionable freshman, everybody wants to be a part of something, and at the time unfortunately that was just the culture of the university. I was hazed. I was kind of brought up through the organization thinking that that was appropriate behavior.”

Jezebel first reported Monday that Miss America Kira Kazantsev was kicked out of Alpha Phi sorority at Hofstra University in April 2013 for hazing pledges while she was supervising the initiation process. She allegedly hazed pledges to the point of “bruising and exhaustion.”

Kazantsev says she was kicked out of her sorority not for hazing, but for joking to sorority alumni that she would make the evening “scary” for pledges. “All I can do is sit here and be honest and share that yes, I was involved under the broad definition of hazing at some point, but never ever in a million years what this is claiming.” She said she never physically harmed anyone, but just tasked recruits with things like reciting information, or staying up all night “crafting.”

When asked how these hazing revelations might affect young girls who look up to her, Kazantsev said she still hopes she can be an example. “I’m gonna take this negative and turn this into a positive,” she said. “I’d say it’s okay to make mistakes. That’s life.”

MORE: Watch John Oliver Debunk the Miss America Pageant’s Scholarship Claim



NFL Launches Effort to Change Locker-Room Culture

San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers
Michael Zagaris—Getty Images The San Francisco 49ers chant in the locker room following the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on January 12, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Every player will attend human resources seminars in the next month

The NFL kicked off its effort Monday to reform locker-room culture, with representatives from the league’s human resources team and a group of retired player “ambassadors” set to visit each team to kickstart conversations with players after a bullying incident raised pitched questions.

The hour-long sessions will include talks from values-based-leadership speaker Dov Seidman and former player Wade Davis, who came out as gay after retiring Sports Illustrated reports. Davis recently spoke with the Rams organizations after they drafted Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL draft.

The mandatory sessions come after Jonathan Martin quit the Miami Dolphins over allegations of hazing and bullying, particularly by Richie Incognito. The scandal sparked demands from both inside and outside the NFL that the league do something to eradicate—or at the very least minimize—discrimination and bullying among the players.

Read more at Sports Illustrated

TIME hazing

Tennessee Frat Suspended After Hot Sauce-on-Genitals Hazing

The Alpha Phi Alpha chapter has been suspended until 2016

The University of Tennessee’s chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity has been suspended after students admitted to hazing pledges by pouring hot sauce on their genitals.

Charges were brought forward to campus officials after one pledge’s parent and the uncle of another pledge contacted the university in March with concerns about the fraternity’s initiation process.

“A folder containing historical facts, a hand written letter, and a pair of men’s underwear was delivered to the Dean of Student’s Office,” says a university document chronicling events leading to the fraternity’s suspension. “The letter advised that an element of the hazing involved pouring hot sauce on the young men’s genitals and that the underwear was hot sauce stained.”

The fraternity did not have a house on the campus of the university. It has been suspended as a student organization until August 2016.

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