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Miami sanctions Sigma Nu for off-campus party

By Kristen Hetland
On February 20, 2009

The Epsilon Nu chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity has been suspended for two semesters by Miami University after violating university alcohol and conduct policies.

The office of ethics and student conflict resolution found Sigma Nu responsible for violating Code of Student Conduct laws for the prohibited use of alcohol and engaging in disorderly conduct.

The violations are a result of the events of an off-campus date party at the end of the fall 2008 semester.

According to a release from the office of ethics and student conflict resolution, Sigma Nu's Dec. 6, 2008 party at the Golden Key Lounge required police assistance after a fight broke out between members of the fraternity and other bar patrons. Additionally, officers were called by the fraternity's bus driver who said members were "unruly and violent." The report also alleged Sigma Nu permitted the consumption of alcohol by underage members during the party.

Susan Vaughn, director of ethics and student conflict resolution, verified these statements.

According to Sigma Nu president R.J. Whittington, a Jan. 15 administrative hearing with the office of ethics and student conflict resolution found the fraternity responsible for the violations and put it on suspension for three semesters. Following an appeal, the suspension was reduced to two semesters.

Sigma Nu's advisor Wayne Staton said he disagrees with the suspension, as he said only one fraternity member was involved in the actions leading to the sanctions, which affect the entire fraternity.

"It is upsetting that the actions of a few individuals, which we don't endorse or approve, have affected the more than 90 members that are in Sigma Nu," Whittington said. "However, we are understanding of these members. They are still our brothers."

Sigma Nu will be on suspension with Miami University until Dec. 31. At that point, the fraternity will be reconsidered for recognition by the university after it has presented a comprehensive reorganization plan to the office of ethics and student confliction resolution and the Cliff Alexander office of fraternity and sorority life, Vaughn said.

While Sigma Nu will not be recognized by Miami, the fraternity is still recognized and in good standing with its national headquarters, Whittington said. For this reason, members will be permitted to continue living in the fraternity house and will continue to pay dues, hold chapter and function as a regular fraternity.

According to Whittington, Sigma Nu will not, however, be allowed to participate in any events that require approval by the university, such as parties with sororities or Greek-wide events such as "Puttin' on the Hits" and Greek Week.

Whittington said Sigma Nu will be allowed to participate in spring 2010 recruitment if it receives recognition by Miami at the end of their suspension.

Whittington added that members of Sigma Nu look forward to once again being recognized by Miami.

"While the next year will be difficult, we will take into consideration what the university and our national headquarters recommend for us to do over these two semesters," Whittington said. "We look forward to coming back as a stronger chapter recognized by the university."

According to Staton, Miami's chapter of Sigma Nu has not been suspended for any reason since its re-colonization in 1990.

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