Jana Lynn Patterson, associate vice president for student life and dean of student health and wellness, upheld Elon University’s suspension of Sigma Pi Epsilon-Theta for hazing after reviewing a formal appeal submitted by the fraternity and meeting with representatives from the group on Monday.
Patterson’s decision adheres to the university’s original suspension of the organization until spring 2017.
The 12 Sigma Pi members who lived in the Loy Center’s House A are working with Dean of Student Development Rex Waters to find alternative housing for Winter Term and the spring semester, said Smith Jackson, vice president for student life and dean of students, in a statement Wednesday. The group will be allowed to live in the house through the remainder of the fall semester.
Members of Sigma Pi were informed of the decision on Tuesday when they met with members of Elon’s Greek Life staff. Mike Ayalon, executive director of Sigma Pi International, also informed fraternity members that the organization had revoked the charter of the Epsilon-Theta chapter at Elon.
But the university and Sigma Pi's international office have agreed that the fraternity can return to campus in Fall 2017 pending a detailed plan from the national organization for recruitment and new member activities to be conducted by fraternity staff, a four-year member plan and an alumni board structure and training program.
Elon’s Office of Student Conduct initially received the report of hazing during the first week of October. The university’s investigation, which began the same week, revealed evidence that some of the younger fraternity members had endured minor physical injuries as a result of the hazing. The university suspended the organization’s activities Oct. 15.
“At that point there was enough information to say we need to pursue this formally and suspend all activities,” Jackson said.
Sigma Pi representatives attended a hearing with Elon’s Honor Board in late October. The hearing confirmed the report, and the university issued the fraternity a three-year suspension, preventing the organization from recruiting new members or holding philanthropy events.
A police report from the same incident was filed with Campus Safety and Police Oct. 9. It indicated that a university administrator called Campus Police about a possible hazing incident. The university would not disclose who made the call.
The report said three male students sustained minor physical injuries after being “forced to plank on bottle caps.”
Jackson said the sanctions for Sigma Pi are meant to break the pattern of hazing not only in Greek Life, but also in other organizations on campus.
“We’re going from a ‘teachable moment’ kind of perspective,” he said. “Hazing is not unique to these organizations. We want to address it for the student body. We want to re-emphasize policies we have because it’s just not tolerable on campus.”
The university encourages students who have been hazed or have witnessed hazing to call the Hazing Hotline at 336- 278-HAZE.