Friday, January 30, 2009

Sig Ep Appeals Arizona Decision

As UA moves to remove Sig Ep, fraternity appeals
By Aaron Mackey
Arizona Daily Star

University of Arizona officials are in the process of removing a fraternity from campus after a purported hazing incident last fall.

Officials notified the UA chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon late last semester that that they intended to withdraw the university's recognition of the fraternity and suspend it for five years after a hazing violation was reported, said Carol Thompson, UA dean of students.

The reported hazing took place during the fall semester, though Thompson wouldn't provide any other details of the incident because the fraternity, known informally as Sig Ep, is appealing the decision. Neither the fraternity's president nor its adviser would comment.

The appeal is tentatively scheduled to begin in March. UA policy requires that appeals are heard by a five-member board of two students, two faculty members and one non-faculty employee.
The UA chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon, located behind University Medical Center in the 1400 block of North Vine Avenue, had 85 members during a census last spring, according to the national fraternity's Web site.

Founded in 1901, Sigma Phi Epsilon has chapters at 260 college campuses across the country with an estimated undergraduate membership of 13,500. It is the largest fraternity in the country in terms of undergraduate enrollment, according to the fraternity's Web site.

Lost university recognition would mean the fraternity wouldn't be able to participate in any official events with other fraternities and sororities.

Often, lost recognition by the university is a precursor to the fraternity losing its national charter, which kills any official presence on campus.

A fraternity can try to re- establish itself on campus after the suspension term is complete, though the process is long and involved.

Adding to the difficulty of getting back on campus is that other national fraternities that lack official campus recognition are waiting for an open spot at the UA, Thompson said.

While the UA receives reports of hazing involving fraternities, sororities and other campus organizations every semester, only rarely do they result in a group losing campus recognition or its national charter.

In the past several years, only a handful of fraternities have been removed from campus, including Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Chi in 2003.

Contact reporter Aaron Mackey at 807-8012 or at amackey@azstarnet.com.