Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Chi Omega at U Penn Has Issues

U. Penn sorority under investigation
By Lauren Textor

The University of Pennsylvania chapter of Chi Omega has been under an internal investigation since last week regarding events that took place during pledging.
"Chi Omega did experience some small issues and inappropriate behavior during their new-member education process by a couple of individuals," Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs director Scott Reikofski said.

Chi Omega president and junior Jacki Bideau said an internal investigation of all allegations is ongoing but would not confirm details about any supposed incidents.
Reikofski likewise would not describe the nature of the "inappropriate behavior" that took place last week but said it did not occur during a formal pledge event.
Bideau would not say if the pledgemaster -- who runs new-member education -- will be kicked out of, or has de-activated her membership in, the sorority.

Officials would not confirm the pledgemaster's name, though student Sirisha Prathipati is listed under that position on Chi Omega's Web site.
Reikofski said Chi Omega contacted OFSA last week and informed them of the problem."The sorority is ... taking appropriate action, and we support them in holding their members accountable."

He said OFSA is not taking disciplinary action against the sorority, which has been permitted to handle the investigation internally because of its initiative in reporting the problem. Reikofski called this sort of initiative unprecedented.
Chi Omega will submit a status report to OFSA after making changes, Reikofski said, adding that he did not know if anyone has been asked to leave the sorority.

Panhellenic Council president and junior Alex Tryon said the sorority is handling the situation without the help of the council.

"This is entirely in the hands of OFSA" and Chi Omega, Tryon said.
Bideau "has been given the opportunity to deal with it herself, and ... she has dealt with it very well," Tryon said.

Tryon acknowledged that individuals in the chapter were responsible for the violation of pledge rules and that it was "not something the president signed off on."Chi Omega is currently working with alumnae and the national Chi Omega organization to investigate the allegations, Reikofski added.

Jessica deGraffenreid, a spokeswoman for the national organization of Chi Omega, said these allegations are being investigated but would not disclose further details until disciplinary action, if any, is confirmed.

"Our local chapters are empowered to deal with any allegations first," deGraffenreid said. "They have our standards, procedures, and know how to deal with that."
Reikofski said this is the only incident in all eight sororities that has resulted in an investigation this year.

Despite repeated requests for comment, no members of Chi Omega aside from Bideau would comment on the issue."Our confidentiality is very strict," Bideau said. "All of our members don't even know about the specifics of the investigation."