UPDATE: UM Sigma Chi responds to suspension

By Daily Journal/UM News

• See below news for Ole Miss fraternity’s view of the situation.

OXFORD, Miss. – Effective immediately, the Eta Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity has been suspended from the University of Mississippi campus through the conclusion of the fall 2013 semester for violation of the University Alcohol Policy.

The fraternity was already on two-strike probation due to a previous violation of the same policy during the fall semester of 2012. Two-strike probation is levied on an organization that is found guilty of an alcohol or drug violation. the university reported this morning.
According to university policy, an organization that violates the University Alcohol Policy while on two-strike probation automatically receives a one-semester suspension. The Sigma Chi fraternity was placed on interim suspension on March 5, 2013, when the second violation occurred.

The fraternity was also found guilty of disorderly conduct, disregard for university authority and failure to follow the guidelines for registration of activities found in the Student Organization Handbook.

Upon reinstatement, the fraternity will remain on two-strike probation and social probation through the conclusion of the spring semester of 2014.
Sigma Chi’s annual “Derby Days” were under way on campus, and the university’s news release announcing the suspension made no mention of how or if the decision will affect this weekend’s activities.
A check of the fraternity’s website showed that links to upcoming events and its officers are not working.
But an adult close to the chapter reported shortly after noon today on Twitter that “Derby Days” were canceled.

The University Judicial Council voted unanimously on all counts. The council is composed of three students, one faculty member and one staff member. The Student Judicial Chair is elected by the student body through the university’s annual Associated Student Body campus-wide elections.

The board also agreed to allow the current members residing in the fraternity house to continue living in the house and receiving meals at the house through the end of the current semester.

Decisions handed down by the University Judicial Council can be appealed to the Appellate Consideration Board, which is appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. The Appellate Consideration Board is also composed of students, faculty and staff.

APRIL 5, 2013 – University, MS – After a hearing from the University of
Mississippi Judicial Council on April 4, 2013, the University has placed Sigma Chi under suspension for the Fall 2013 semester.

The University found the Eta Chapter guilty of illegal possession of alcohol, disorderly conduct, disregard for university authority and failure to follow the guidelines for registration of activities found in the Student Organization Handbook. The Eta Chapter previously had one strike in the University’s twostrike policy from the fall of 2012.

“The University’s two-strike policy for students and organizations is flawed and needs to be changed as it delivers major punishment for minor offenses. A first strike sets up the opportunity to fail for the second,” said Major Geoffrey Yoste, chapter advisor of the Eta Chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.

The suspension includes no formal recruitment, no social activities, no housing, no meals, and no formal meetings will take place on the campus of the University. The suspension beings on May 13, 2013 and ends on January 1, 2014.

After the suspension is lifted in January of 2014, the Eta Chapter will be under social probation, with the allowance of philanthropic events; meals, room & board, and recruitment will also return.

“We’re disappointed with the outcome and we do plan to appeal and hope that a better outcome can come out of that process,” said Buckner Corso, president of the Eta Chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.

This decision made by the University in no way revokes the charter given to the Eta Chapter by the Sigma Chi Fraternity in 1857. According to Sigma Chi International headquarters, the charter will remain intact.

“We are disappointed with the decision of the Judicial Council. We understand the importance of the relevant University policies and we want to continue to educate our members but we feel that this ruling will only hurt efforts to do that, no only at Sigma Chi, but across the Greek community at Ole Miss,” said Cameron Ray, vice-president of the Eta Chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.

Currently, the Eta Chapter employs six full-time employees in their house. The fate of their jobs is unknown at this time. All efforts will be made by the Eta Chapter to insure these individuals are properly compensated for their dismissal caused by the decision of the University.
The Eta Chapter, as a whole, is disappointed with the decision made by the University. These gentlemen will be without housing and a meal option for the next seven (7) months. Although these young men will not have a place on campus to call home or practice the rituals of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, their bond of brotherhood will endeavor.”

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