Thursday, October 10, 2013

Non-Stories and False Follow-ups can Negatively Impact Chapter Reputation

One of the frustrating parts of managing this blog is trying to find a real story among all the innuendo-packed filler pieces the news media publishes when they don't have real news.

The following two links are examples of the kind of non-story pieces that in essence say "we can't find out anything new so lets rehash all the 'coulda, shoulda, maybe' accusations just to keep people talking." There is no real information in them. Instead, accusations are flung anew and officials quoted give variations on the "I'm not saying anything of substance" theme.

Normally we ignore these articles in favor of items with some real information. But just for today look over these two examples and think about how even a party at a recent graduate's house, or an errant fire alarm, could trigger a wave of accusations and substance-free reporting that will harm your campus reputation. Be sure to check out the full articles via the links provided.

Example 1:
Sigma Phi Epsilon president hopes suspension ends soon - The Shorthorn : Campus:

Christofer Slocum hopes the interim suspension placed on his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, is lifted by the end of next week so members can resume organizational activities.

Slocum, Sigma Phi Epsilon president, said UTA began questioning Sigma Phi Epsilon members Monday about accusations that the fraternity held an unregistered party, provided alcohol to a minor and that a sexual assault occurred at the chapter house Sept. 7.

Slocum denied accusations that a sexual assault occurred and denied hosting an unregistered party that night. Student Conduct officials told fraternity members the investigation could be wrapped up within two weeks, he said.

University spokeswoman Kristin Sullivan wouldn’t confirm the dates Student Conduct officials began questioning Sigma Phi Epsilon, or any of the other four fraternities placed under interim suspension in connection with Bid Day activities Sept. 7. She also could not confirm when the investigations are expected to end.

“All the investigations have begun, none of those have been resolved, and there has not been any formal hearing process. That’s not where we’re at. We’re in the investigative process,” Sullivan said.
[...]
Slocum said the fraternity did not hold an unregistered party. Instead, members attended a party at the home of an alumnus who was celebrating a new job.

“I have no control over what a graduate of UTA does at his residence,” Slocum said.

The accusations have caused damages to the fraternity’s reputation and has cost them about $10,000 in member dues, Slocum said.

Example 2:
Stetson investigating fraternity for hazing | News-JournalOnline.com:
DELAND — Stetson University is looking into what officials called an “alleged hazing incident” from over the weekend involving the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

The university’s on-call team of professional staff responded to a fire alarm early Sunday at the on-campus fraternity, said Chris Kandus-Fisher, vice president for Stetson’s student affairs. The DeLand Fire Department also responded.

The response team “saw something in question” and are investigating and talking to students along with Stetson’s public safety department, Kandus-Fisher said.

“We are not sure what happened,” he said, “but any time there is a violation to our community code of conduct we take it seriously and do a complete investigation and determine if there are charges we follow up on.”

The university has not determined whether any hazing was involved, he said. Stetson has five houses on Fraternity Circle, and each houses about 25 male students.