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According to Eric Townsend, Director of Elon University News Bureau, the university has upheld the three-year suspension of Elon's Epsilon-Theta chapter of Sigma Pi.
Dean Jana Lynn Patterson, Associate Vice President for Student Life, told ELN the president of Sigma Pi met with her on Nov. 10 to appeal the suspension.
The university would not provide details about the hazing allegations involving Sigma Pi. According to Dr. Smith Jackson, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students, the university began investigating the fraternity in mid-October.
On October 9 an incident report was filed with Elon University Police for hazing. It says three male students reported they were "forced to plank on bottle caps." This means they were forced to hold up their body weight on their arms with bottle caps placed underneath.
The report says the victims sustained "minor forcible injuries."
ELN asked Dr. Jackson if this report refers to the same allegations the university is investigating Sigma Pi for. Watch his response here.
According to the university website, Elon defines hazing as "any action or situation created, either directly or through innuendo, that jeopardizes the student's psychological, emotional, or physical well being, regardless of the person's willingness to participate."
Dr. Jackson says this investigation into Sigma Pi is currently focused on the chapter as a whole, not on individual members of the fraternity. According to the university, the chapter has 47 members, 12 of whom live in the on-campus house, Loy Center A.
Dr. Jackson says on October 28, Elon's Honor Board held a hearing on Sigma Pi's actions. Jodean Schmiederer, Associate Dean of Students for Leadership and Honor Code, and Dr. Jana Lynn Patterson, Dean of Student Health and Wellness, then suspended the fraternity.
The suspension means Elon's chapter of Sigma Pi cannot hold activities, participate in intramural sports, or hold meetings.
Dr. Jackson says Sigma Pi International will have to make their own decision regarding the chapter's charter.
"What ours is is a suspension of recognition as a student organization. What theirs [the national organization] would be, ultimately could be, is a loss of the charter," Dr. Jackson said.
The chapter has been on Elon's campus since 1977.
ELN reached out to members of Elon's chapter of Sigma Pi, all of whom declined to comment. However, the Executive Director of Sigma Pi Fraternity International, Michael Ayalon, said:
"We have been working very closely with the University and the Chapter, and we are aware of possible hazing activities at our Elon chapter, and a University hearing with members of the chapter. There is an appeals process available for the chapter. We want to make sure that the process is completed before deciding on the next steps for the chapter...We have had a long history of success at Elon. We hope to be able to continue that success into the future. "
According to Dr. Jackson, there are approximately three to five incidents of hazing reported each year that are usually anonymous.
Dr. Jackson was in a fraternity in college and admitted to being hazed while in school at the University of Alabama.
He says it can be hard for students in the moment to differentiate between hazing and tradition. He says pressuring other students is not what Greek life is about.
"It's not about hazing. That's antithetical to brotherhood and sisterhood. It's antithetical to academic achievement. It's antithetical to being leaders-all the things that greeks aspire to and stand for," Dr. Jackson said.
Elon University's hazing hotline is 336-278-HAZE. Students are encouraged to report whether they or someone they know has been hazed.