By Cara O'Connor
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday April 30, 2003
The Dean of Students withdrew university recognition of Sigma Chi fraternity for six years following an investigation of hazing violations that included forcing pledges to eat cans of beans even after they vomited.
The hazing activities occurred on or around Jan. 8, said Associate Dean of Students Veda Kowalski.
Fraternity members forced pledges to perform calisthenics as well as clean, paint and repair the fraternity house. Three pledges were also forced to sit inside a walk-in freezer for an undisclosed period of time, Kowalski said.
Kowalski began investigating the fraternity after Greek Life reported an anonymous call to the hazing hotline. The investigation concluded April 11.
The fraternity will appeal the suspension to a hearing board composed of students, faculty and staff, Kowalski said. Saundra Taylor, vice president for campus life, will review the hearing board's decision before making a final ruling on the fraternity's fate.
The fraternity also risks losing its national charter, pending a decision by the national organization's executive committee of students and alumni. Losing the charter would mean that the organization would not be recognized in any official capacity.
"In most cases where a chapter loses recognition or is suspended from a university, the executive committee will usually mirror that decision," said Ben Fjosne, associate director of chapter development for Sigma Chi national.
Nick Pierson, the executive vice president if the Interfraternity Council and Sigma Chi member, voluntarily resigned from his position April 21.
Had he not done so, Pierson would have been asked to resign because his fraternity is no longer a recognized campus chapter, said Clint Walls, IFC vice president of public relations.
Members of the IFC elected Ted Burhans, who was the vice president of finance, to fill Pierson's position.
Pierson was unavailable for comment.
Since May, at least five different fraternities have been disciplined for hazing.
This semester, Delta Tau Delta and Beta Theta Pi have also been disciplined for hazing.
Last year, Delta Chi lost university recognition until at least spring 2004, and Sigma Alpha Epsilon was placed on probation, both for hazing violations.
The greek system has made it a top priority to eliminate hazing, Walls said.
"We really are trying to cut this cancer out of the system," he said, adding that some fraternities have even undergone membership review willingly, eliminating members that do not contribute to the good of the group.
"Ninety-nine percent of fraternity men and sorority women are upstanding people. So these people that are into hazing and partying should just get out," he said.
Sigma Chi president Patrick McNamara was not available for comment.