This week our fraternity community will get ready to extend bids as part of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) recruitment process. The IFC formal recruitment period will kick-off on Thursday evening, January 18th and culminate in the bid distribution ceremony next Wednesday, January 24th in Wait Chapel.
Alpha Sigma Phi, Lambda Chi Alpha, and Delta Kappa Epsilon are each on an interim suspension from the university and will not participate in recruitment. An interim suspension is put in place when there is strong concern for individual and/or community safety as a result of actions taken by the chapter and/or its members. An interim suspension means these chapters may not function or participate in chapter-related meetings, social functions, or activities on- or off- Wake Forest University’s campus. This restriction includes recruitment activities and the ability to extend bids to new members. If these expectations are not met, individuals and/or the chapter may be charged with violations of the Student Conduct Code. Each chapter’s restrictions will remain in effect until the completion of the Student Conduct process.
Some of you may be wondering what circumstances led to this decision or what the long-term impact for each chapter may be. The simplest answer to that question is that each chapter’s situation is different. The status of each organization will be based on the content of each investigation, as well as the ability of each chapter to demonstrate that they can manage a safe environment for their members and guests. Please do not hesitate to contact the staff in the Office of the Dean of Students with any questions you may have about a particular chapter.
We realize this may be upsetting for students who hoped to join these chapters this spring. The Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of Student Engagement are here to provide support for those students, especially in helping to find other avenues of meaningful involvement on campus. For those who choose not to go through recruitment with other chapters in good standing and wait for the outcome from the conduct processes on the three interim-suspended chapters, please know that we are working diligently to resolve these challenges in a timely fashion, and will continue to notify parents and students regarding the updated status of each chapter and if and when they will be recruiting in the spring semester. The health and safety of Wake Forest University students is of primary importance and expectations placed on our chapters to steward a safe new member experience are high.
There are two other organizations that will not participate in IFC recruitment: Kappa Sigma and Sigma Nu. These organizations were fully suspended in 2014 due to violations related to hazing and unsafe alcohol use. Neither group is recognized by Wake Forest University nor their national organizations, and both have continued to operate as “unrecognized” organizations. Wake Forest University and the Kappa Sigma and Sigma Nu national offices have been working diligently to ensure that the “underground” organizations cease operations. The organizations have also gone by the names Barnyard, Kappa Sig, or Delta Omega (Kappa Sigma) and Snu or Lambda Alpha (Sigma Nu).
Unrecognized organizations present a significant challenge to student health and safety. These groups lack support or oversight from the university or a national organization. These groups receive no training and/or education on managing an organization. There are no set rules or expectations for how events – especially events with alcohol – are managed. Additionally, these groups receive no mentoring from faculty or alumni advisors. 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.
This can certainly sound appealing to a student that is considering Kappa Sigma or Sigma Nu. It sounds like it is 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 dangerous environment for its members. Reports received by the Office of Student Engagement indicate that these men were still engaging in these behaviors into the fall semester, meaning the culture that led to closure has not changed in four years. 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.
There are consistently rumors about these groups returning to campus. The Kappa Sigma and Sigma Nu national organizations are not interested in returning to campus while we are still facing these challenges with unrecognized chapter members.