Monday, August 9, 2010

Best of Busted!

UNL Suspends Sigma Chi Fraternity for 4 Years

Sigma Chi fraternity, facing a pair of lawsuits and charges of repeated hazing in the last academic year, has been suspended from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus for four years.

But given the troubles plaguing Sigma Chi - two lawsuits alleging hazing, a police search that uncovered large quantities of alcohol in the fraternity house and hazing or alcohol charges against nine of its members - strict punishment is warranted, [the vice chancellor] said.

[The vice chancellor] said he hopes to send two messages with the suspension: "One, the university is very serious about the potential violations and will not tolerate them. And two, that we really do have a strong Greek system. The vast majority of our chapters are very, very good."

[The vice chancellor] said university leaders considered a wide range of punishments for Sigma Chi - including expulsion - but ultimately decided to give the fraternity another chance.

Plus, he said, not all fraternity members were violating university policies… "Unfortunately, a few ruined it for all."

UNL police began investigating Sigma Chi earlier this year after a former pledge came forward and claimed he had been subjected to repeated hazing from fall 2008 to early 2009.

The pledge said he had been verbally assaulted, paddled, forced to drink alcoholic concoctions until he vomited and made to participate in humiliating activities with other pledges, such as one in which they leap-frogged each other through the fraternity house while being pelted with ice and wet paper towels.

The pledge also alleged he had been sexually assaulted by a female stripper during an off-campus party. [Although] sexual assault charges won't be filed in the case.

In a search of the house in March, UNL police uncovered evidence to support hazing allegations as well as a large amount of alcohol, even though UNL is a dry campus.

The search led to hazing and procuring charges against nine Sigma Chi members. Six of them have been convicted; the others are working their way through the court system.

Now, a group of local fraternity alumni have stepped forward to help the fraternity get back on the right track. They will serve in an informal capacity, providing guidance, advice and support as needed.

Trust us, we are just as annoyed as you are. This is the same old story. When will people learn? When will people realize that leap-frogging while being pelted with ice cubes is hazing? And, if we may be so blunt, it’s silly and preposterous. We know that people tend to do stupid things when others are also doing them, but we were thinking more along the lines of wearing knit ponchos or legwarmers.

While this may seem obvious to most reasonable people, the article indicates that this suspension means Sigma Chi will not be recognized and no one will be allowed to live or hold activities in the fraternity house. UNL’s vice chancellor for student affairs said that the sanctions are the toughest imposed on a UNL fraternity in recent memory. We agree, it’s a tough one… but… it’s not so tough that it can’t be reversed. The suspension could be lifted after two years if the fraternity's Alumni Board successfully crafts a plan to ensure compliance with UNL's Student Code of Conduct and regular house inspections. We call shenanigans on this: so, what you’re saying is that crafting a plan to comply with the Code of Conduct (a.k.a DOING WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO) can get a hazing chapter off the hook?

Also, why do people feel as though they need to say things like ‘a few bad apples ruined it for the whole bunch’? This is obvious, and what happens all of the time; it’s part of being affiliated with a group. As far as we’re concerned a person should not affiliate with a group that has strict behavior guidelines if they don’t think they’re able to adhere to them… on the flip side, we shouldn’t invite members to join our organizations (or allow them to remain affiliated) if they’re going to act like jerks. Pointing out that ‘not all Sigma Chi’s are hazers’ is nice and all… but everyone already knows that. Plus, validating the fact that most Sigma Chi’s aren’t hazing jerks doesn’t fix the fact that this one in particular happens to be one.

1 comment:

Chris Volny said...

I think the larger issue than stating that not every member hazes is avoiding the truth that the rest of the chapter allowed it. Just because you're not a part of the hazing crowd doesn't mean you're living up to your fraternity's values. Bystanders are equally responsible as they fail to hold their brothers, their new members, and their chapter to their Ritual.