This week will be another exciting week for our fraternity and sorority community as we get ready to extend bids in the Interfraternity Council. This past week, our 12 groups had the opportunity to meet our participants, talk about their organization and its values, and hold a week of events that will culminate in Thursday’s Bid Night.
However, there are two organizations that were not included in Interfraternity Council-sponsored events: Kappa Sigma and Sigma Nu. These organizations were suspended in 2014, and neither are recognized by the university or their national organization. Both organizations were suspended due to violations of the Student Code of Conduct and their national organization’s policies related to hazing and alcohol use. The organizations also go by the names Barnyard, Kappa Sig, or Delta Omega (Kappa Sigma) and Snu or Lambda Alpha (Sigma Nu).
Many wonder why it is such a big deal that these groups are not recognized. The problem is that they do not have the support or oversight of anyone. If something goes wrong, there is no insurance coverage to protect the members. There is no advisor to help them make good decisions. There are no set rules or expectations for how events – especially events with alcohol – are managed. Finally, members who are “initiated” into these organizations are not actually members of the fraternity. They do not receive the privileges of membership enjoyed by actual members of the organization. They cannot join alumni chapters when they graduate, volunteer, nor are they on any records through the university or the national organization.
All of this may sound great to a first-year student that is considering Kappa Sig or Snu. It sounds like it’s all the best parts of a fraternity without any of the parts that get in the way of their fun. But it creates a toxic and dangerous environment for its members. Reports received by the Office of Student Engagement indicate that these men are still engaging in the behaviors that resulted in suspension. Lessons have not been learned from what they already went through several years ago. The university continues to follow up and investigate reports as we receive them. Without an organization to hold accountable, conduct charges can be brought against the individuals.
To be clear, the university is not considering recolonizing either organization now or in the near future. The current members of these groups frequently say things like, “We’re getting our charter back next semester.” But as long as they continue operating in this manner, we will not begin conversations about recolonization.
If you have any questions regarding our unrecognized groups, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Office of Student Engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org.