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The Daily Eastern News

Sigma Chi investigation flawed, biased

JJ Bullock, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Eta Mu chapter of Sigma Chi was not given a fair and unbiased investigation by the Office of Student Standards.

Nothing about what happened during the investigation was right. Eta Mu was designed to fail from the beginning. Sigma Chi was fighting an uphill battle from the start —a battle that started with one student’s lie.

Throughout the entire “investigation” Sigma Chi was kept in the dark about the allegations against us and who was bringing the allegations against us. This made it so every question in the interviews caught someone off guard.

When I was interviewed, I said something along the lines of “everything (the student) told you guys was a lie, none of it happened” and the people who interviewed me had the audacity to play stupid and respond, “How do you know that’s what (the student) told us? We never said that’s what this was about.”

The investigation started when a pledge of the fraternity drank too much and ended up in the hospital during a party.

When the pledge was called into Office of Student Standards to answer for why he drank that much, he lied to the university and said it was because Sigma Chi made him do it.

This is incredibly untrue. I was with the pledge all night.  I went to the hospital with him, cleaned up his vomit and gave him water from my fridge to help him sober up. I handled the situation exactly how I would imagine the school would want someone to. The pledge was never forced to drink. In fact, he bragged during the night about how many cups he had drank.

That incident started the investigation, and no matter how hard Sigma Chi denied the allegations, we were considered liars.

The additional hazing charges were so stupid, it is hard to imagine the school would consider them hazing at all. Such as pledges being in a straight line or being made to carry things, like an empty soda bottle or basketball at a party.

In addition to hazing, the school added charges such as underage drinking, throwing parties and participating in drinking games to the reasons for suspension.

If Eastern is going to begin to put people on trial for those things, they need go after not just all of Greek Life on campus, but every non-Greek-affiliated student that participates in these actions, that are very common at Eastern, every weekend.

The school is dancing on a very slippery slope when it starts to go after college organizations, especially Greek ones, for underage drinking and partying.

The school has turned a blind eye for years to the off-campus parties, particularly the Greek ones that happen almost every weekend in Charleston.

However, with all of the negative things happening with Greek Life nationwide, rather than get caught with their pants around their ankles the school decided to take extreme action against whichever house they could get their hands on in an effort to perhaps say “see, we don’t condone this stuff either.”

While it is too late for my fraternity, there are rumors that another fraternity on campus currently under investigation by the same office. In order to save them from the same harsh penalty, their investigation needs to be immediately taken away from the Office of Student Standards.

The Greek Life community at Eastern needs to band together and take a stand against investigations being handled like this in the future and more immediately to save this other fraternity from the same fate.

The Office of Student Standards should have been more transparent with Sigma Chi and its investigation. Sigma Chi was honest and transparent with the school throughout the entire process, and we should expect the same responsibility from the university. There should be no more secrets from the school and no more hiding accusations from organizations under investigation.

Organizations and students deserve the same transparency from the people investigating them in the future.

I call on the Board of Trustees and upper administration at Eastern to review very closely how the Office of Student Standards handled the investigation into the Eta Mu chapter.

Greek life is a big part of Eastern’s culture and I believe it should be the administration and board’s responsibility to make sure investigations like this are never handled in this manner again. Otherwise, I fear Greek life at Eastern will cease to exist.

 JJ Bullock is a sophomore journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or jpbullock@eiu.edu.

3 Comments
  • TrueBuc

    This could have all been prevented had someone in that house taken the steps necessary to prevent the pledge from going overboard with his drinking. No, you are not the only Greek chapter or Sigma Chi chapter that will have pledges drinking on premises. But you have to know when to say enough. Just because you cleaned up vomit and gave someone water, after the fact, doesn’t mean that you couldn’t have stepped in and cut the pledge off when he was bragging how much he had had to drink. No offense, but 18 and 19 year olds cannot hold their booze.

    In a collegiate landscape nationwide where Greek-letter organizations are increasingly under a microscope, slaps on the wrist are a thing of the past. And I know if Evanston felt this situation and the hazing allegations were serious enough to merit the suspension of your charter, there is much more to the story.

    Sigma Chi has a complete, no tolerance policy for hazing as an organization. I don’t care if it is a line up, making a student hold a basketball, whatever — it is still hazing and against our bylaws. It’s unfortunate what happened with your chapter, but there is a point where accountability and responsibility need to take hold. And that goes for all of Greek-letter organizations.

    Individual chapters are not bigger than the organization. It’s a lesson learned in recent years by Tennessee, South Carolina, LSU and others in Sigma Chi alone. When you take the oath to become a Sigma Chi you vow to not bring dishonor upon our White Cross. While the situation may seem minor in theory, in today’s landscape things that were culturally and socially acceptable just 10 years ago are no longer tolerated — and justifiably so. I hope that you will take this situation and grow from it as an individual.

    As Sigma Chi Founder Daniel William Cooper once said: “The Fraternity itself, founded on high and unchanging principles, will live on in increasing strength and prosperity under the watchful care of its loving and faithful members.”

    Sigma Chi will thrive on. Will you?

  • DT

    Greek facts: In this new book, “True Gentlemen: The Broken Pledge of America’s Fraternities,” John Hechinger, a senior editor at Bloomberg News, documents how members of Greek life account for only 19 percent of the alumni database for the Indiana University Foundation, the fundraising arm of the university, but account for 60 percent of donations …

    when it comes to alcohol-related deaths, that more than 1,800 college students die each year from injuries related to alcohol and only “a handful” are fraternity men.

    According to the National Institutes of Health, about 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes, each year …

    https://www.usnews.com/news/education-news/articles/2017-12-04/is-greek-life-worth-saving

  • RMexico

    Maybe familiarize yourself with your own organization’s definition of hazing before planning your new member ed program, not to mention the university’s. Maybe also familiarize yourself with the alcohol policies also? Next time you get busted for weed, try the “everybody does it” line on the judge and see how that works out.

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Sigma Chi investigation flawed, biased