HATTIESBURG – The University of Southern Mississippi will use a campus fraternity house vacated after a hazing case last year as a home for the school’s best business students.
The Kappa Sigma fraternity lost its charter at Southern Miss over a case of hazing and alcohol in September. The university struck a deal with the fraternity to use the house for three years.
The three-story home was renovated and is now the College of Business Honors House, scheduled to open in the fall.
The plan calls for 12 female and 12 male business students to live there and function as a learning community, a trend seen at some of the most prestigious schools in the country, said Lance Nail, dean of the College of Business.
“Being able to offer something comparable to universities such as those in our region is really a fabulous recruiting tool for us,” he said. “This house provides our gifted students a cohesive, collaborative experience where they learn to live and work together in groups.”
Minimum requirements include a 3.5 grade point average or a history of demonstrating outstanding leadership.
Kappa Sigma has the right to reoccupy the house if the fraternity meets certain requirements in three years, university officials said. Otherwise, the agreement likely would be extended.
The fraternity lost its charter and several students were arrested last year after two female students hospitalized with alcohol poisoning.
President Martha Saunders has said the fraternity was cited for violating USM’s alcohol policy, the fraternity-sorority alcohol policy, the institutional policy of hazing and student code of conduct.
Southern Miss senior Christy Reynolds said she was excited to be among the first group invited to live in the new honors house.
“When they called and invited me to be a part of the first group to live there, I thought it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” said Reynolds, an accounting major from Selma, Ala. “A lot of wonderful things have happened to me since I’ve been at Southern Miss and this is just another one of them.”
Each resident will have a separate bedroom, suite bathrooms and two large closets in the house, which also features a large meeting room and laundry accommodations. The male and female students will live in different wings of the house that are restricted by card access.
Residents also receive scholarship assistance ranging from $2,500 to $8,000 per semester.
The Associated Press