By John Clarke
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Maryland's Salisbury University has suspended a fraternity over allegations of hazing that include members paddling pledges and forcing them to exercise, a school official said on Tuesday.
Salisbury, about 115 miles southeast of Washington, has suspended the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity chapter until 2017 after several incidents of hazing allegedly took place last fall at an off-campus residence, said Valerie Randall-Lee, an assistant vice president at the school.
Ten students at the predominantly black fraternity were involved, Randall-Lee said. She would not say whether the fraternity members were expelled or suspended.
The suspension comes as U.S. college fraternities are under increasing scrutiny for hazing and possible racist or sexist behavior and language.
The administration of Salisbury, which is a public university, was made aware of the hazing by an anonymous tip, Randall-Lee said. The incidents included paddling and forced physical exercise.
She sent students a letter on the decision on Monday. The case is being investigated by Salisbury police.
Ron Carter, a spokesman for the national Phi Beta Sigma organization, said it did not tolerate hazing.
"We are still figuring out what happened and trying to find out what took place," Carter said.
Randall-Lee said less than 10 percent of the school's 8,700 students were members of fraternities or sororities.
(Reporting by John Clarke; Editing by Ian Simpson and Eric Walsh)