Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sigma Chi at Chapel Hill Wins Appeal

Jablonski reduces Sigma Chi penalty
Fraternity now on probation
Daily Tar Heel
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
January 22, 2007
Andrew Dunn, Assistant University Editor

Sigma Chi fraternity, which was found guilty in November on seven hazing charges, will not be suspended after a reduction of previous sanctions on appeal.

The fraternity now will be under University probation until Dec. 31 after the decision of Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Margaret Jablonski altered that of the Greek Judicial Board.Under probation, the fraternity will be unable to hold social events with other organizations but will be able to hold rush and initiate new members.

Sigma Chi had been suspended until 2009 after a decision by the judicial board.Terms of suspension included not being allowed to hold rush or host social events such as cocktails or mixers."I wanted the sanctions to be proportional to the allegations," Jablonski said. "And to be in concert with what the authority of the Greek Judicial Board is.

"Jablonski said she heard the appeal because the board could not suspend a chapter, only make that recommendation to the Dean of Students office.

Other features of the new sanctions stipulate that Sigma Chi cannot field intramural sports teams, that each member must complete 20 hours of community service, that the new member program must be revised and that fraternity officials must meet regularly with members of the Dean of Students office.

The national Sigma Chi organization also will review the UNC chapter's procedures.

The fraternity must present documentation that it is following through on its sanctions.Sigma Chi officials released a written statement in lieu of comment."

As a chapter, we are glad that the appeals process has concluded, and we are now able to initiate our new members," it reads in part. "We wish to thank the Office of Student Affairs for their professionalism throughout the appeals process."

All new members from fall 2006 have maintained an interest in being initiated, fraternity officials said. Sigma Chi's next rush period will be fall 2007.Charges against Sigma Chi included forced consumption of alcohol and other substances, verbal harassment, sleep deprivation and calisthenics.The fraternity appealed the severity of the sanctions. An appellate hearing by the judicial board returned the same decision.

Ashley Frazier, chairwoman of the board at the time, said that she has decided not to comment on Jablonski's decision, but that the judicial board and the University have worked together well.

The ruling was the first appeal from a Greek board for Jablonski, who came to the University in 2004. She also hears appeals from the Honor Court and other student groups, but she said appeals reach her office very infrequently."I think that's a reflection that the system is working."