Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
The Alpha Gamma chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity is on interim suspension pending an Ohio State Student Conduct investigation less than a month after an incident of “disorderly conduct” involving a Sigma Chi pledge, according to University Police reports.
The chapter was served its suspension sentence on Feb. 26, nearly five months after being put on disciplinary probation through May 2014 for hazing-related violations, according to police reports and Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs.
The probation sentence was issued Oct. 9, Isaacs said.
The disorderly conduct incident occurred Feb. 3 at about 1:30 a.m. at Park-Stradley Hall. The Sigma Chi pledge, who was found with “two (significant) open lacerations to his chin,” told police that he had fallen on his walk home, according to the police report.
Although medics were called, the student refused to be taken to the hospital twice, and the medics cleared him because the “bleeding was controlled,” according to the report.
The student’s resident adviser reportedly told police the student is a “continual problem.”
Police were “advised of disorderly conduct” and referred the student to Student Conduct, according to the report.
Sigma Chi president Joe Panos, a second-year in biomedical engineering, said he could not comment on the details of the disorderly conduct incident because the investigation is pending.
“Because that’s the main point of the investigation, I really can’t say anything about that,” Panos said.
Sigma Chi is being investigated for multiple possible violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Both Student Conduct and the national organization of Sigma Chi are investigating the chapter.
Isaacs said the chapter’s pre-existing probation will be taken into account during the Student Conduct investigation process.
“Their status will certainly be a consideration,” Isaacs said.
Interfraternity Council president Jim Neidinger, a fourth-year in marketing and a Delta Tau Delta member, said that he is not fully up-to-date on the case because it is confidential.
“IFC fully supports Student Conduct investigations (and sanctions) into any and all matters. As far as the Sigma Chi investigation goes, it’s a pending investigation,” Neidinger said.
Neidinger also said the Joint Council Judicial Board, which exists for the self-governance of the IFC, Panhellenic Association, Multicultural Greek Council and National Pan-Hallenic Council and all of the sororities and fraternities within those councils, can levy cases against groups which violate the rules of the chapter’s respective council, OSU Sorority and Fraternity Life, OSU, City of Columbus or the State of Ohio.
However, with potential hazing violations, “Student Conduct typically handles hazing cases in a manner that IFC and Joint Council Judicial Board don’t have to be involved,” Neidinger said.
The executive director of Sigma Chi Fraternity, Mike Dunn, said Thursday the national organization is working with OSU to “find out what all the circumstances are,” and said local and national people from the fraternity on site to investigate.
With regards to the national organization’s treatment of any chapters found to be hazing, Dunn said punishment varies according to where the chapter in question is.
“The policy is, we don’t condone any hazing whatsoever,” Dunn said. “(But) hazing is defined 42 different ways in 42 states. So we have to look at it and see what the severity is … if it’s real severe, then we’ll pull the charter of the chapter. If it is something (less severe), again working with the school, we’ll figure out if there just needs to be some education done. Then you’ve got the wide middle … that could be anything in between.”
Dunn declined to provide further comment Monday.
The Student Code of Conduct defines hazing as “doing, requiring or encouraging any act, whether or not the act is voluntarily agreed upon, in conjunction with initiation or continued membership or participation in any group, that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm or humiliation. Such acts may include, but are not limited to, use of alcohol, creation of excessive fatigue, and paddling, punching or kicking in any form.”
The Ohio Revised Code defines hazing as “doing any act or coercing another, including the victim, to do any act of initiation into any student or other organization that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm to any person.”
Student Conduct does not have a defined set of repercussions should the investigation turn up Student Code of Conduct violations.
“Each case is treated differently, and any sanctions would be based on the violations and the nature of the case,” Isaacs said Thursday.
The investigation will continue until Student Conduct reaches a decision, but there is no set time limit, Isaacs said.
While it is on suspension, the fraternity cannot participate in recognized student organization activities, including intramural sports, recruiting of new members and Greek Week, which is scheduled to begin March 31.
Disciplinary probation is defined by the Student Code of Conduct as a “probationary condition … in effect for a specified period of time and may involve the loss of specified privileges.”
The code also states that “further violation of university policies during the probationary period will additionally be viewed as a violation of the probation, which shall result in further action up to and including suspension or dismissal.”
Antonio-Phillip Lytle, coordinator of Sorority and Fraternity Life at OSU, referred The Lantern to Isaacs for comment Thursday.