Miami sanctions Evans Scholars, Theta Chi
Published: Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Updated: Sunday, February 14, 2010 23:02
Two separate Miami University organizations have been found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct following university sanctions issued last fall, and both are currently working at maintaining their positions on campus.
One of the organizations, Theta Chi fraternity, is in a unique position for a Greek organization at Miami, in that following a university sanction in April 2006 and suspension of recognition until Dec. 31, 2007, the organization decided to stay on campus. The national headquarters supported this move and continued to recognize Miami's chapter.
While under suspension in November 2006, Theta Chi arranged to have secured a university facility for a planned event, despite rules that this was not allowed. Because of their sanctioning, they are currently not allowed to use university space for any type of event.
"They were having a blood drive fund-raiser for the Oxford community," said Jim Powell, chief financial officer for Theta Chi's national headquarters. "They were initially parked in the house lot, but the bloodmobile had to be parked on a flat surface."
After being granted university permission, the fraternity moved their blood drive to Millet's parking lot and continued.
The university employee that granted the access did not know that the fraternity was suspended and thus not allowed to use the property for an event.
"The guys were just trying to do something positive," Powell said. "Not everything is black and white. It sure seems like they're picking on us lately."
Theta Chi admitted their responsibility Jan. 9 for violating these sanctions in an administrative hearing conducted in the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution.
Chris Taylor, associate director of Miami's conflict resolution
office, said that Theta Chi will be eligible to appeal to the university to be re-recognized in January 2008.
"Sanctioning is different for us than it is for the Greek community," Taylor said. "We sanction them under the university's (Code of Student Conduct.)."
The organization will face a one-year probationary period, with the restrictions of the probation to be set once they are recognized.
"Probation means they go through a time period where if any group or individual is found guilty of violating the conduct code, they will be sanctioned even more severely," Taylor said.
Theta Chi went through a reorganization process last fall, in which members were asked to deactivate. The fraternity currently has a live-in adviser and alumni members visit to check on the organization's progress.
"We don't want to cause friction with the university by fighting this tooth and nail," Powell said. "We still want to be seen as a strong, functioning part of the university and we will cooperate and do what we need to. I hope they give us the same courtesy."
Evans Scholars face reorganization as well
Another group that is under university supervision as it undergoes a restructuring process is the Miami chapter of Evans Scholars, a privately funded scholarship program sponsored by Western Golf Association.
In November 2006, the group was placed on disciplinary probation from Nov. 28, 2006 to May 6, 2007 after being found in violation of two sections of the Student Code of Conduct - one for inflicting physical mental abuse or harm and the other for disorderly conduct.
"The whole thing was completely mishandled," said senior Andy Weisbrod, former president of the chapter. "We have faculty advisers and an (executive) board to deal with this."
Jacob Eby, a first-year living in the Evans house, wrote a letter to the university reporting that he was being threatened with bodily harm for not contributing to a "slush fund" for alcohol and party supplies, and went on to list other inappropriate conduct he had witnessed.
Eby withdrew from Miami at the end of fall semester 2006 within a few days of sending the letter.
Under the probation, the organization is not allowed to host or co-host any functions where alcohol is served. Violating this would result in immediate suspension of the organization from campus.
"I feel like this is the first time the (conflict resolution office) is dealing with a non-Greek organization," Weisbrod said. "Very few of the accusations had to do with alcohol, yet most of our sanctions refer to restricting alcohol. We were told (that we were allowed) several things, such as representation by our faculty adviser at hearings and the ability to appeal, but then these privileges were revoked."
Taylor said this was probably due to some miscommunication within the office.
"We say that any member from the organization can represent them, but advisers are not necessarily considered members of the organizations," Taylor said. "And any organization or individual found to violate the code of conduct can appeal if they are given a dismissal or suspension."
In addition, Taylor said that the president of Evans Scholars is scheduled to attend two meetings with the director of the conflict resolution office this semester. In these meetings, the president will update the director as to how progress is being made in restructuring the organization.
Some changes are already being made within the organization.
"We no longer have a social chair position in the chapter," Weisbrod said. "And all members have to participate in a yearly alcohol awareness program."
The president will also work on the development of a written protocol, which will include how the organization will deal with individuals who violated the group's policy as well as how to prevent violations in the future. By the semester's end, the president is also required to submit a detailed plan of events for New Scholar's Weekend to the director of the conflict resolution office.