Wednesday, August 22, 2007

UNM Suspends Three of Six Fraternities

University of New Mexico frats suspended after allegations
Albuquerque Tribune
By Maggie Shepard

Three of the University of New Mexico's six fraternities have been placed on emergency suspension in the span of a week, meaning they can't participate in the annual rush week or other social activities.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon was suspended Aug. 14 after UNM police arrested a member on charges he had sex with several underage girls.

Phi Delta Theta was suspended on Aug. 17 after parents of a 16-year-old girl told university officials they found her passed out drunk at the fraternity house.

Kappa Sigma was suspended on Aug. 21 after an investigation into an early morning fight led UNM police to believe alcohol - which isn't allowed in any fraternity, sorority or student housing - was involved.

In response to the suspensions, which Dean of Student Affairs Randy Boeglin called an unprecedented number, the university is creating a Greek Life Task Force to examine how to more positively shape the future of fraternities and sororities on campus.

Boeglin said university President David Schmidly asked him to create the task force.

"First, we will deal with these incidents," Boeglin said. "And second, and more importantly, we will work to establish a new positive context for Greek life."

Boeglin said the week's incidents don't indicate the fraternity system on campus is out of control.

"I think this is a question not of chapters' holding the wrong types of events, (but of) individual chapter members' making very poor choices in terms of their decision-making, which chapters have to bear responsibility for," Boeglin said. "These look to be highly dubious decisions by individuals."

At least two individual fraternity members are being investigated by the university on code-of-conduct violation allegations.

Boeglin said that number could increase as investigations into the three incidents continue.

The fraternities will be scheduled for a hearing before a committee to decide if the emergency suspension should be lifted or kept in place.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon was suspended in 2005 after police were called to investigate another sexual misconduct allegation. The fraternity's emergency suspension was later lifted.

Boeglin said about 500 UNM students are registered with some sort of fraternity or sorority. Five fraternities and four sororities have houses on or off campus. Several other organizations operate as fraternities and sororities but do not have housing for members.

University of New Mexico frats suspended after allegations