University of Wisconsin Suspends Fraternity for Serving Minors - Higher Education
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University of Wisconsin Suspends Fraternity for Serving Minors

by Todd Richmond, Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. — A University of Wisconsin-Madison committee suspended a fraternity chapter Tuesday amid allegations members provided alcohol to minors and sang a song glorifying multiple sexual assaults.

The university said in a news release late Tuesday that the Committee on Student Organization had voted to suspend the Sigma Chi chapter until March 1. The news release said the suspension was tied to an event in October at the fraternity’s off-campus house in which members served or provided minors with alcohol.

The Associated Press filed an open records request with the university seeking all documents related to the Oct. 6 incident. The school released 12 pages that indicate the school received a report through its online bias incident reporting that described an event at the Sigma Chi house where students heard and watched fraternity members signing a song about a presumably fictional Sigma Chi member who sexually assaulted 100 women against a wall and masturbated. The complaint said “there was beer everywhere.”

UW Assistant Dean of Students Ervin Cox wrote in the report that he met with a Sigma Chi member about two weeks after the event. That member said the group was learning the song before heading to a social with the Alpha Chi Omega sorority. Fraternity leaders told Cox that singing such songs was a tradition and it was possible that alcohol was present but they had no direct knowledge. The leaders’ names were redacted from the documents.

“The Committee would like to express its disappointment in the actions of Sigma Chi and its leadership,” the committee wrote in a letter informing the fraternity of the suspension. “It is discouraging and disturbing that no member of leadership took steps to move away from the inappropriate traditions.”

The chapter can appeal the suspension. The national Sigma Chi organization did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The suspension means the chapter is barred from holding events and activities and from operating with the rights and privileges of a registered student organization. After the suspension ends, the fraternity will be on probation and no alcohol will be allowed at any events until May 8. The probation will continue until Jan. 23, 2018.

UW-Madison terminated its Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity chapter in October after police discovered underage students drinking at its chapter house in July. The chapter was on suspension for violating safety policies and for illegal drinking when the party took place.

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