Student Judicial Services prohibited GW’s chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity from making a presentation to the Interfraternity Council Tuesday, slowing the fraternity’s effort to regain on-campus status.
The presentation would allow the IFC to vote on whether the presidents of on-campus fraternities will encourage the University to restore Sigma Chi recognition before rush, which is the recruitment of new members beginning Sept. 25.
The University and the IFC took recognition away from Sigma Chi last year after the fraternity threw a party during Colonial Inauguration. As a result, Sigma Chi was placed on show-cause probation with its international headquarters, which means members had a year to prove why their fraternity should maintain its charter at GW.
The fraternity’s international headquarters recently took members off show-cause probation, and national leaders provided the fraternity with support in its quest to regain IFC recognition, Sigma Chi President Fred Wininger said.
Sigma Chi members were scheduled to make a presentation Tuesday night describing why they deserve to regain recognition. But hours before the meeting, Student Judicial Services wrote a letter indicating paperwork regarding a recent alcohol-related incident was not filed on time, and therefore Sigma Chi could not make its presentation.
A party this semester at 2144 F St. was reported as a Sigma Chi function, but after investigation, Student Judicial Services absolved the fraternity of responsibility, Wininger said. He said members proved their official fraternity house is actually located at 2004 G St. The confusion arose because formerly active Sigma Chi brothers live in the F Street house, Wininger said.
“After reviewing the notes from the meeting and upon further investigation, the Office of Student Judicial Services has decided not to proceed with charges against the Epsilon chapter of Sigma Chi,” according to a letter sent by Coordinator for Student Judicial Services Martin Hicks Sept. 8.
Hicks said Sigma Chi members were responsible for filing additional paperwork because they admitted that brothers attended the F Street party. He said the University wanted to make sure Sigma Chi complied with previous sanctions before allowing them to present to the IFC.
The appropriate paperwork was not handed in to Hicks until after the Tuesday deadline, the day after the scheduled IFC meeting.
Wininger said he takes full responsibility for the mix-up.
“We had ample time,” Wininger said.
Presidents of on-campus fraternities discussed how to deal with Sigma Chi’s postponed presentation and the effects it will have on rush. The discussion took place in a closed meeting that replaced the canceled presentation Tuesday.
Delta Tau Delta President Jeff Butler said fraternity presidents did not know the specifics of why Sigma Chi could not present until the IFC closed the meeting to the public. He said he wishes Sigma Chi would have been allowed to present.
Alpha Epsilon Pi President Ben Kirshner agreed but said he would like to see the issue completely resolved before rush begins.
There is a possibility the presidents will refrain from voting Sept. 21 before IFC rush begins, Beta Theta Pi President Jay Levin said. Butler agreed and said some fraternity presidents might want to discuss Sigma Chi with their chapters’ members after the presentation.
The presentation is tentatively rescheduled for Sept. 21, days before rush begins. After the presentation, the presidents could vote to decide Sigma Chi’s fate with the IFC.
But Coordinator for Greek Affairs Tracie Anzaldi said the presidents “will probably not vote Tuesday night.”
If the presidents vote to restore recognition, a letter will be drafted and sent to the Office of Greek Affairs, at which time the University will make the ultimate decision about whether Sigma Chi can return to campus, IFC President Seth Greenberg said.
Currently, Sigma Chi is considered an off-campus fraternity and therefore would have to refrain from participating in IFC-sponsored rush unless they receive University recognition by Sept. 24.
“We’ve already had one year without pledges,” Wininger said. “Another year without pledges, and the traditions of the fraternity will be lost.”