Sigma Chi Succeeds in Appeal: Sentence Reduced to 5 Year Suspension


SEE YA SIGMA (FOR NOW):  The former Sigma Chi Fraternity residence may be used for students in SRS.

On Wednesday, February 25, President Jeffrey Herbst announced his decision to suspend the Sigma Chi fraternity at Colgate University for a five-and-a-half year period. Last October, Colgate University’s Student Conduct Board found Sigma Chi in violation of the university’s Hazing Policy, the Student Organizations Relationship Statement and the Code of Student Conduct and recommended a “permanent withdrawal of recognition” for the chapter. Sigma Chi then appealed the conduct board’s sanction on the basis “that it was too severe” for the violations.

This suspension term, which will end on June 30, 2020, is more lenient than the conduct board’s recommendation but longer than the fraternity’s request that the imposed sanction be reduced to a three-year suspension.

“I believe that this lengthy suspension recognizes the severity of the behavior of the chapter’s members, while also allowing the chapter an opportunity to rebuild in the future,” Herbst said in an email sent out to Colgate faculty and students.

When the suspension term is over, alumni of Sigma Chi, along with the Sigma Chi national organization, will be allowed to petition the President of Colgate for permission to recolonize the chapter.

While Sigma Chi’s suspension period is currently set to end in 2020, the possibility of reinstating the chapter is subject to the behavior of current members.

 “If, at any point during the suspension, students engage in activity that is determined to violate Colgate’s Policy on Unrecognized Organizations, the suspension may, at the discretion of the Vice President and Dean of the College, be continued indefinitely, or the sanction may be amended to an immediate and permanent withdrawal of recognition,” said Herbst.

Vice President and Dean of the College Suzy Nelson recognized the value of Greek organizations to the student body, citing the recent Constructive New Member Education Summit as an opportunity for fraternity and sorority leaders to commit to anti-hazing efforts and positive member development.

 “When fraternities and sororities uphold their founding philanthropic and educational principles, they can have a positive impact on their members’ experience. I support all Colgate students and am committed to offering living communities and extracurricular experiences that are aligned with our educational mission,” Nelson said.

For the foreseeable future, the former Sigma Chi house at 100 Hamilton Street will likely be utilized by the Sophomore Residential Seminar (SRS) program. The SRS program will be expanding to five classes during the 2015 to 2016 school year, compared to the four it had this last year. Two classes will be housed in 100 Hamilton Street, while the others will remain in Drake Hall. Professor of Philosophy David Dudrick noted the ways in which housing the SRS program in 100 Hamilton Street would add another dimension to the experience.

“Moving into 100 Hamilton would serve the goals of the SRS program, which is most basically to provide a diverse group of students with the opportunity to become an authentic community centered around intellectual pursuits,” Dudrick said. 

“The academic component of the program is central; one of the crucial ways in which it’s accomplished, though, is by creating a space where students can really get to know one another. The idea is that living and socializing together in a place like the upper floors of Drake and 100 Hamilton will break down the wall between classroom learning and the rest of the Colgate experience.”