February 4, 2013

After Appeal, Cornell Reduces Phi Sigma Kappa’s Punishment

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After appealing to the University’s Fraternity and Sorority Review Board, the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity’s year-long punishment has been reduced to one semester, a University official confirmed in a statement Monday.

Susan Murphy ’73 Ph.D. ’94, vice president for student and academic services, made the decision to reduce Phi Sigma Kappa’s punishment — as long as the fraternity complies with the review board’s conditions.

The chapter’s appeal follows the University’s announcement that it would expel Phi Sigma Kappa after  “underage and excessive alcohol consumption” violations, the most recent of which occurred on Dec. 2.

A representative from Phi Sigma Kappa declined to comment regarding its appeal.

According to Tommy Bruce, vice president of University communications, the review board upheld its previous decision to revoke the chapter’s recognition but added a modification — that the chapter would be eligible for provisional recognition as early as September 2013.

Provisional recognition, or probationary status, will entitle Phi Sigma Kappa to receive all the benefits of a recognized chapter after the spring semester. The benefits of recognition include access to the University’s facilities and the ability to participate in University-provided programs and the Greek governance system.

However, if the fraternity violates the University’s recognition policy during its probation, the chapter may lose its recognition once again, according to the University’s recognition policy.

Phi Sigma Kappa was allowed to appeal the review board’s initial decision to expel the chapter for one year during a 48-hour window after the University’s announcement Jan. 14.

Phi Sigma Kappa was the second fraternity that the University took action against during rush week. The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity was placed on provisional recognition status for at least four years due to incidents involving “underage and excessive alcohol consumption.”

During the same week, the University, citing hazing incidents, revoked recognition of the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity for no less than four years.

Both Pi Kappa Phi and Tau Epsilon Phi did not attempt to appeal their decision, according to Claudia Wheatley, director of press relations for the University.

Original Author: Margaret Yoder