West Virginia University has placed Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity on three years of supervised probation, during which all current and new members must complete additional alcohol education, improve the chapter’s academic standing and develop leadership training.
The decision by Vice President of Student Affairs Ken Gray follows a finding that the chapter was guilty of hazing in an incident on Nov.15. Gray’s decision follows a recommendation from the office of Student Organizations Services, reached after consulting with Student Affairs, Judicial Affairs and Phi Sigma Kappa’s alumni board.
“We hope that the current members of the Phi Sigma Kappa’s Delta chapter will fulfill the terms of the probation so it can resume a full list of activities,” Gray said, “but we need to make clear that hazing will not be tolerated and if the members can’t exhibit the kind of behavior expected, the chapter will be shut down entirely.
“We are grateful for the support we have received from the chapter alumni as well as the fraternity’s Grand Chapter, and are hopeful Phi Sigma Kappa can reclaim its place on campus,” he said.
Early on Nov. 15, University Police on patrol discovered an incident at the fraternity’s University-owned house on North High Street. Some men were blindfolded, covered with food and lined up against a wall. One fraternity member was observed slapping the men.
Under the terms of the probation:
1. All members (including new members) must complete GreekEDU, a Greek-specific program that combines AlcoholEDU with hazing education. The chapter must also have monthly educational programming on topics including, but not limited to hazing. The goal of this programming is to foster and strengthen respect, responsibility, and leadership.
2. Every semester, there will be a complete review of the fraternity’s new member education process, initiation ritual, officer duties and training. These must all be in strict compliance with national and WVU policies and requirements and approved by Student Organizations Services, Phi Sigma Kappa headquarters and the local alumni board.
3. All members must interview with a Phi Sigma Kappa National representative, who will evaluate each individual’s commitment to Phi Sigma Kappa’s ideals and core values. Based on these interviews, recommended members will be moved to alumni status with the stipulation that they have no active role within the chapter nor have any relationship with the chapter until: all outstanding debt is paid, an undergraduate degree is obtained, or a degree is not obtained and the person has not been enrolled in a university for a minimum period of 12 months.
4. The chapter will collaborate with Student Organizations to develop and attend a series of leadership programs, focused on respect and hazing. There will be no fewer than 10 programs over the next two years.
5. All members below a 2.00 cumulative GPA as of Jan. 1, 2011, will be suspended and remain suspended until reaching at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA.
6. The current executive board will be disbanded; the new leadership board will be appointed by a Phi Sigma Kappa national representative and approved by Student Organization Services and the local alumni board.
7. Through an agreement with Student Organizations Services, a national representative will move into the fraternity house for the Spring 2011 semester. He will provide the chapter with officer training, ritual training, assistance with recruitment, etc.
8. Expulsion paperwork will be filed and processed for all members with outstanding balances or conduct/standards problems.
9. A formal plan of action to be implemented immediately for remediation of the chapter to include the option to expel: any member who is financially indebted to the chapter with no response to preview attempts to pay their outstanding debts; any member who is not willing to uphold the Cardinal Principles (scholarship, character and brotherhood); any member not willing to accept the mandate of a drug and alcohol free house.
10. A formal letter of apology to the University for the incidents that have occurred at the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity house.
11. The chapter will send a minimum of 15 men to the Regional Conclave meeting.
12. The chapter will be required to identify, fund and host a hazing prevention speaker.
13. As approved by Student Organizations Services, Phi Sigma Kappa headquarters, and the local alumni, the chapter will send a minimum of four representatives to the National Convention in 2011.
14. Alcohol, of any form, will be prohibited in the house from Jan. 1 through May 16, 2011.
15. The chapter will be on social probation for two years or until its GPA is at or above the all-fraternity average GPA. This social probation will prohibit the chapter from hosting, cosponsoring or attending any social event on or off campus.
16. The fraternity, as well as individual members, will be financially responsible for the costs associated with implementing the terms of this probation.
Failure to comply with these terms or if the chapter is again found guilty of hazing, will result in an immediate closing with no consideration of reorganization until every associated member has graduated.
CONTACT: Ron Justice, Student Organizations Services
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