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Investigations hang over 3 Ohio State fraternities

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Three Ohio State fraternities have been placed under investigation for possible violations of the OSU Student Code of Conduct.
The Sigma Beta chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu is under interim suspension, while the Gamma chapter of Sigma Pi is “under a cease and desist order pending investigation by Student Conduct that relates to hazing,” said Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs.
A cease and desist order means the fraternity can continue to function as usual, but it needs the approval of the vice president of Student Life, Javaune Adams-Gaston, for its activities. It can continue with most of its activities, but not with social ones, Isaacs said.
The Student Code of Conduct defines hazing as “doing, requiring or encouraging any act, whether or not the act is voluntarily agreed upon, in conjunction with initiation or continued membership or participation in any group, that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm or humiliation. Such acts may include, but are not limited to, use of alcohol, creation of excessive fatigue and paddling, punching or kicking in any form.”
OSU President E. Gordon Gee said in an interview with The Lantern Monday that he thinks it is necessary that organizations that do not abide by the Student Code of Conduct face repercussions.
“By and large (in OSU’s sorority and fraternity life), I think we have self-monitoring, we have pure monitoring, we have good procedures, and if people get outside the (boundaries), I think it’s appropriate that they be appropriately admonished,” Gee said.
Sigma Pi executive director Michael Ayalon said in an email the national organization of the fraternity is involved in the Gamma chapter’s investigation.
“Sigma Pi Fraternity has been working with OSU to resolve some issues with the chapter, and we hope to have everything resolved within a week or so,” Ayalon said.
He added he did not have further comment about the potential violations because the investigation process has not been completed.
The president of the Gamma chapter of Sigma Pi, John Riley, did not respond to an email requesting comment Monday.
Sigma Alpha Mu executive director Leland Manders said the Sigma Beta chapter’s suspension does not have to do with hazing.
“There is absolutely no hazing allegation,” Manders said. “I can also tell you there is absolutely no alcohol policy violation allegation.”
Sigma Alpha Mu’s alcohol policy is “essentially the chapters are not permitted to serve alcohol at social functions from a common source and underage drinking is not permitted, very in parallel to state law,” Manders said.
Sigma Alpha Mu Sigma Beta chapter president Jeff Bloom, a second-year in biology, referred The Lantern to Manders for comment.
The Alpha Gamma chapter of Sigma Chi is also on interim suspension pending a Student Conduct investigation. Its sentence was served Feb. 26, nearly five months after the fraternity was placed on disciplinary probation through May 2014 for hazing-related violations and less than a month after an incident of “disorderly conduct” involving a Sigma Chi pledge, according to Isaacs and university police reports.
Interfraternity Council president Jim Neidinger, a fourth-year in marketing and a Delta Tau Delta member, said that IFC holds its community to a high standard and supports Student Conduct in cases where the community violates the Student Code of Conduct.
“We support any and all Student Conduct investigations. Obviously they’re both pending investigations, so I can’t speak to any detail on either case,” Neidinger said. “I don’t think any of them (the investigations) are indicative of a pattern within the community.”
There are more than 2,000 active men in more than 30 fraternities in the IFC at OSU, according to the IFC website.
Brian Tomlinson, associate director of Student Conduct, referred The Lantern to Isaacs for comment.
A request filed Friday for university police records was still being processed on Monday.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 26, 2013

An earlier version of this story stated that Jeff Bloom is president of the Sigma Alpha Mu Gamma chapter. In fact, he is president of the Sigma Beta chapter. 

 

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