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Pennsylvania Lawyer Says Penn State Hazing Allegations May Involve Former School Employees

May 9, 2012 – The Centre Daily News is continuing to report on hazing allegations at Penn State. Below is a copy of Matt Carroll’s article in today’s paper. It appears that at least one school employee may have been involved.

A Penn State employee resigned and students were held from spring graduation in the wake of investigations into alleged hazing on campus.

Aaron Holloman stepped down from his position as resident life coordinator of Pennypacker Hall effective Monday, said university spokeswoman Lisa Powers.

According to a university police report, officers found 10 men in Holloman’s Pennypacker Hall room during spring break, engaged in what police suspect was hazing activity.

Police said Holloman left his room unlocked during spring break. A student, Claude Mayo, allowed the individuals to access the room.

Mayo, a graduate assistant at Pennypacker Hall, resigned from that position effective May 2, Powers said.

According to the university’s website, the Pennypacker Experience is a scholarly and diverse living and learning community. “Its main goal is to create a supportive environment for first-year students,” the website said.

Mayo and Holloman, who were both on the hall’s advisory board, were named in a police report into alleged hazing on campus.

No charges have been filed, but several students were prevented from graduating as investigations continue, university officials said.

In a report, Penn State police said Mayo was seen allowing unauthorized individuals into Holloman’s room. Officers responded and heard “slapping sounds” coming from the room.

“Upon entry into the room, several paddles were found in a bag,” police wrote in a report. “The paddles had been hidden in an attempt that police officers would not locate them.”

The information is outlined in a police report made in early April after freshman Asya Trowell came forward and claimed she was badly injured in a separate hazing incident.

Trowell said she was punched and slapped to the point where she suffered serious injuries that included two black eyes and a bloody nose, according to her attorney, Scott Cooper, and the account she gave to university police.

She told police she was assaulted while pledging for Omega Essence, a “little sisters” group with the fraternity Omega Psi Phi.

In the report, police said Trowell claimed Mayo is a brother in the fraternity.

Mayo served as the program assistant coordinator for the Pennypacker Experience, according to its website.

The website said program assistants are students from various majors who serve as mentors to provide first-year students in Pennypacker Hall with “guidance, mentorship and a shoulder to lean on.”

“They know what you are facing as a first-year student and are here to help — but you have to ask,” the website said.

Holloman served as resident assistant coordinator. Resident assistants are responsible for enforcing the rules of the residence hall, according to the website.

Many Pennypacker Hall residents are in the first-year science and engineering house program, are undergraduate fellows, athletes or participants in the Schreyer Honors College. Many are first-year students.

Neither Mayo nor Holloman could be reached for comment Tuesday.

Penn State Police Chief Tyrone Parham said no charges had been filed in either case. He said investigations will continue.

University police also are investigating a third alleged hazing incident. On April 4, a female student reported she was harassed and exposed to hazing by members of a sorority between January and February.

Parham said the student, whom he did not identify, reported she was subjected to mostly verbal abuse, but also to physical hazing activity.

Powers said some students accused of hazing were prevented from graduating pending the outcome of the investigations. She did not say how many students’ graduations are being delayed.

“The accusations are serious, and there are serious implications attached if students are found guilty,” she said.

Trowell, who was also a resident of Pennypacker Hall, according to police reports, is in the process of transferring from Penn State, Cooper said Tuesday.

Cooper said Trowell, who returned home to Maryland, is still having health issues, and is experiencing problems related to her injuries.

He said the university has been helpful since Trowell came forward with her accusations, helping her get back her belongings, transfer to a new school and finish up her finals.

“She’s pleased with that,” he said.