Sigma Chi’s international organization indefinitely suspended the charter of GW’s chapter, effectively ending the chapter’s relationship with GW for the immediate future.
The chapter has been on GW’s campus since 1864 and was given a one-year suspension in 1998 after hosting a party during Colonial Inauguration.
Bruce Morgan Casner, a grand trustee of Sigma Chi’s international organization and a GW alumnus, said they suspended the charter as a result of a series of complaints made by the University. He said the most recent complaint was in regards to an incident that took place in a GW residence hall.
Casner said two pledges found one brother in a public place and duct taped the brother. He said the incident could be considered hazing according to certain interpretations.
The fraternity has a very strict prohibition against hazing, he said. He said the behavior was witnessed by a residence hall official and recorded on security cameras.
Casner said the international organization made a decision about the charter suspension before GW’s Student Judicial Services decided about the standing of the fraternity in regards to that specific incident. Administrators did not detail the specifics of the incident, nor did they say if there was a judicial hearing.
GW administrators said they received a copy of the letter from the international executive board sent to the chapter informing them of the suspension.
Mike Walker, senior assistant dean of students, said he will ask for a clarification from Sigma Chi officials about the details of the suspension Monday. He said GW would then draft correspondence to the chapter about the chapter’s status with GW.
Tracie Anzaldi, director of the Office of Greek Affairs, said if the fraternity’s international organization does not recognize the chapter, GW would not recognize Sigma Chi as a student organization.
Seth Greenberg, Interfraternity Council president, said the IFC has not received any communication about the status of Sigma Chi.
It’s always unfortunate when a fraternity loses its charter, he said.
Casner said he believes Sigma Chi’s chapter was found not in violation of disorderly conduct. He said the behavior was not a chapter-sponsored activity.
The individuals involved accepted responsibility for their acts, he said.
Casner said some people in the fraternity, both current members and alumni, believe GW has been a little bit aggressive in its oversight of Sigma Chi. He said GW has wanted the 2004 G St. property for some time and has attempted to negotiate with them numerous times during the past few years.
In 1994, at the request of GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, GW real estate officials met with officials of the housing corporation that operates the Sigma Chi house, Casner said.
There was an agreement for a property swap in which Sigma Chi would sell the house to GW and, in turn, GW would give Sigma Chi another property, a cash payment and would agree to pay off all liens against the house. He said the deal was almost completed until housing corporation officials realized there was no sufficient property in the area to offer Sigma Chi.
The housing corporation must now decide what to do with the Sigma Chi house. Casner said the house was recently appraised in December 1999 at $1,200,000. He said the Epsilon Housing Trust, the entity that owns the property, will not sell the property and intends to impede University efforts to acquire it.
Casner said there are a variety of options the entity will have, including renting the house.
The housing corporation is going to own that property for the foreseeable future, Casner said.
Fred Wininger, the president of GW’s chapter of Sigma Chi, was out of town for the weekend and unavailable for comment.