November 27, 2002
Purdue places Sigma Nu Fraternity on probation
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Purdue University has placed Sigma Nu Fraternity, Beta Zeta Chapter, on probation for one year following an Oct. 20-21 incident involving theft and underage drinking, which resulted in the arrest of 23 pledges and members.
Andrew Robison, assistant dean of students, on Tuesday (11/26) notified the 125-member chapter and its advisers about the university sanctions. Under the university-imposed penalties, the fraternity is on probation until Dec. 15, 2003, and must sponsor a campuswide educational program. The program, which will be done in conjunction with a Purdue Interfraternity Council event, must be approved by the Office of the Dean of Students and will cost the fraternity approximately $3,000.
The dean of students' staff collaborated with Sigma Nu national headquarters in the investigation and sanctioning process. A member of the fraternitys staff attended a Nov. 19 hearing and met with chapter members, advisers and alumni during a campus visit.
In addition to the university sanctions, the national fraternity has placed the Purdue Sigma Nu chapter on social probation through Feb. 15, during which time it cannot host any events. The chapter is forbidden to have any alcohol in the house through May and also must complete a number of educational requirements.
The Office of the Dean of Students conducted an investigation that found chapter members collected money from new members and coordinated the bulk purchase of alcohol for underage members prior to a new member lock-in event on Oct. 20.
Robison said the investigation determined that at least three groups of new members left the house to steal items during the early morning hours of Oct. 21. One group allegedly stole a golf cart from Purdue athletics and a second group allegedly attempted to steal a ping-pong table from a residence hall. A third group is accused of stealing a picnic table from a neighboring house, which was later returned.
The Office of the Dean of Students also determined the incidents did not constitute hazing, that the entire pledge class was not involved and that about one-third of the pledges chose not to leave the house that night.
There was no evidence to support any allegation that the chapter condoned or otherwise instigated the activities of the pledges who chose to leave the house that night, said Tony Hawkins, dean of students.
Hawkins said the probation imposed by the university, in this case, does not limit the chapter's ability to participate in campus activities, and intramural or philanthropic events. He said, however, that "probation is a serious sanction for the organization that elevates the level of scrutiny they will receive during this time and in the future."
Individual fraternity members and pledges arrested by university police in the wake of the incident also may face costly punishment through court and campus hearings, Hawkins said. Those proceedings are pending.
Writer: Grant Flora, (765) 494-2073, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Tony Hawkins, dean of students, (765) 494-1239, email@example.com
David Glassman, Sigma Nu National, (540) 463-1869
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; firstname.lastname@example.org