Kappa Sig admits to prank calls

By Hanh Quach
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 27, 1996

Chris Richards
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Bullhorn in hand, Adriana Gallego, painting senior, marches in front of the Kappa Sigma house. The marchers, protesting alleged racism on the part of the fraternity, plan to march each night this week.

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In a memorandum released yesterday afternoon, Kappa Sigma President Scott Jeffery confirmed that two prank phone calls to a MEChA member earlier this month were made by a member of the fraternity.

Kappa Sigma then passed out the statement to the 20 members of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztl n protesting in front of their fraternity house last night.

MEChA members have been protesting because they expect a formal apology for alleged racial slurs and the harassing calls, said the victim of the calls, Roberto Martinez.

According to the released statement, fraternity member Michael Herskovitz made the calls to Martinez the night of Feb. 5. Herskovitz lives in Coronado Residence Hall, just a few doors down from Martinez.

The letter claims, however, the calls were made by mistake and they contained no racial slurs.

According to the statement, Herskovitz and his roommate, Dylan Oster, said they planned to make a prank call to Martinez' suitemates, Brian Voelk and Marc Bolotin. Voelk is also a member of Kappa Sigma.

Oster said in an interview yesterday that he tried to determine Voelk and Bolotin's phone number by counting the number of doors his friends lived from him because phone numbers are assigned to residence hall rooms sequentially. Oster claims he miscounted the number of rooms and unknowingly called Martinez instead.

"It was an accident. Basically one student making an accidental call to the wrong person," Jeffery said.

Oster said he planned to play a computer sound bite from the movie "Full Metal Jacket." The sound bite says, "Stop what you're doing or I'll shit down your neck."

He said the first time he called, at 9:12 p.m., he could not get his computer to play the message, so he hung up. The second time, he played the computer message.

But Martinez said the caller played a recorded message during both phone calls. Martinez also maintains that he received two other prank calls on different days that contained the same message.

Voelk confirmed that he and his roommate occasionally received prank calls from Oster and Herskovitz.

"Sometimes they'll throw in a movie clip or something like that, and they have done 'Full Metal Jacket,'" Voelk said.

Bolotin, Voelk's roommate, said he never heard the prank messages from Herskovitz and Oster, but Voelk told him about the content of the messages.

Yesterday's statement says Kappa Sigma would like to formally apologize for the phone calls, however, it was unclear how the apology would be made.

Kappa Sigma members said last night that the statement was their apology.

The statement said, "We are deeply sorry that Roberto received these calls, and that one of our members shared in the responsibility. We are interested in pursuing whatever course is necessary to right the wrong and welcome a dialog with Roberto to that end."

The statement also explained that prank calls fall under the fraternity's guidelines against "conduct unbecoming a member." The letter states Herskovitz has been reprimanded privately and will also be reprimanded in front of the chapter. He may also face further sanctions after the fraternity completes its investigation.

Upon discovering that MEChA had not received the released memorandum last night, George Jenson, resident adviser for Kappa Sigma, prompted fraternity members to pass it out to protesters. He also said individual MEChA members are invited to come speak to members at the house if they would like a formal apology.

Nancy Motherway contributed to this report.

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