The University of Richmond no longer recognizes Sigma Chi fraternity's Epsilon Rho chapter as an on-campus organization, according to a memorandum obtained by The Collegian.
The memorandum was signed on March 8 by Alison Keller, director of student involvement, and Michael Church, Sigma Chi’s executive director.
The chapter’s indefinite suspension follows a temporary suspension that was in place while the chapter was “under investigation for potentially violating Richmond's hazing and student conduct policies,” according to The Collegian.
Besides finalizing the chapter’s suspension, the memorandum also clarified the conditions for lifting the suspension as well as next steps for the university and the International Sigma Chi Fraternity.
“There will be no conversations prior to fall 2023 that pertain to [the Sigma Chi chapter] returning to campus and achieving recognition in good standing,” according to the memorandum. “At that time, the University of Richmond will evaluate the current climate and receptivity to reestablishing the Epsilon Rho Chapter.”
Additionally, both UR and the International Sigma Chi Fraternity aim to prevent suspended members from establishing an “underground fraternity” associated with Sigma Chi, according to the memorandum, and the existence of any such organization may jeopardize the Epsilon Rho chapter’s chances of lifting the suspension.
The Office of Greek Life “will assist the designated persons to access the fraternity lodge and secure ritual equipment and any other organization specific items,” according to the memorandum.
If the chapter eventually returns to campus, its access to a lodge would not be guaranteed, according to the memorandum. And, if “all items in [the memorandum] are satisfied,” the chapter will get “priority consideration to return to campus” in 2024.
Sigma Chi International Fraternity published a news release on March 8 regarding its Epsilon Rho chapter’s suspension.
Its executive committee voted to suspend the chapter indefinitely because of “its members’ failure to comply with the Preparation for Brotherhood pledge program and repeated violations of the Fraternity’s risk management policies,” according to the release. “The Fraternity’s goal is to eventually return the chapter to the University of Richmond.”
Church wished to make no public comments beyond the news release’s content, he said.
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UR supports the Sigma Chi Executive Committee’s decision, according to an emailed statement from Meg Pevarski, assistant director for Greek life.
“This decision comes after a thorough review and is reached only after concluding that the chapter has not met the requirements for continued recognition," Pevarksi wrote in the email.
Dan Mahoney, Interfraternity Council president, responded to requests for comment with a written statement regarding the suspension.
“The Interfraternity Council is committed to providing its members with a safe environment in which to serve, lead, study, and grow as individuals,” Mahoney said in the statement. “We pride ourselves on our dedication to these values, and when member organizations fail to uphold them we are forced to conclude that they do not meet the requirements for recognition at this school.”
The Epsilon Rho chapter president declined to comment for this story.
Contact contributor Addie Jo Quinlen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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