GW suspended the Sigma Chi fraternity last week for holding a party during Colonial Inauguration in violation of University policy, GW administrators said.
Sigma Chi’s GW chapter received a one-year suspension, during which it will be not be recognized by the University as an “on-campus” fraternity. The chapter still is awaiting word from its international headquarters about possible disciplinary measures.
Following the party, fraternity President Patrick Macmanus left the post, but Sigma Chi representatives would not explain why he stepped down.
The fraternity held a party at its 2004 G St. house June 15, the opening day of the first session of CI, said Karen Warren, coordinator of Student Judicial Services.
“The Greek houses were told that there are not to be any social functions during CI,” Warren said.
The suspension was endorsed by the Interfraternity Council, IFC President Neil Smith said.
“It’s never a good thing when something like this happens,” Smith said. “You have to move on from here and hope everyone else can learn from this.”
Tracie Anzaldi, GW’s Greek affairs coordinator, said Sigma Chi officers contested the suspension, arguing that the event was a closed party that was not intended for incoming freshmen.
But Warren said the University has stated clearly that fraternities are not to hold any social events during CI, even if they do not involve incoming freshmen.
Anzaldi said she unsuccessfully attempted to contact Macmanus when she learned of the event to advise him the party would violate GW policy .
“There was poor decision making,” Anzaldi said. “Greek organizations that get in trouble are moving away from their fraternal values.”
Macmanus no longer serves as Sigma Chi president, acting President Jason Patnosh said. Patnosh would not comment on Macmanus’ departure or the fraternity’s suspension. Macmanus could not be reached for comment.
Sigma Chi alumni adviser Nathan Neal said he would not comment on the incident until the fraternity completes the entire University process, which may include an appeal of the suspension.
To receive University recognition again, Sigma Chi must make a presentation to the IFC to prove its willingness to regain recognition, Smith said.
The fraternity’s headquarters has not received an official decision from GW, said Mark Anderson, president of Sigma Chi Corporation, the fraternity’s international organization. He said the governing body met recently so it could be several weeks or months before the officers determine the chapter’s future.
“Until we receive a written decision, we don’t know exactly what the University’s decision means,” Anderson said.
Sigma Chi is the third fraternity to lose University recognition in the last year. Last summer, Phi Sigma Kappa was suspended for having a party during CI. The fraternity since has applied for re-admission and will be reinstated in the fall.
During the spring semester, Phi Kappa Alpha was suspended until 2001 when a student was hospitalized after he drank excessively at a pledge event.
“We’re having some growing pains,” Smith said. “You’re going to see a lot of improvements this year.”
Warren said the suspensions are a result of increased monitoring of fraternities by the University and the IFC.
“We’re putting a very clear word out that the University is taking the policies seriously,” Warren said. “We want Greek leadership to work with us and not at odds with us.”
Anzaldi dismissed the suggestion Sigma Chi held the party in an attempt to lose University recognition and become an independent fraternity.
“Based on my conversations with Sigma Chi, that is not true,” Anzaldi said. “They did not intend to snuff the University.”
Smith said the suspension is unfortunate but helps focus the IFC.
“It’s a necessary situation in order to move to the next level and become a stronger community,” Smith said.