Hazing at Cornell posted a description on Monday of the results of an investigation into hazing activities by the NY Epsilon chapter of the Sigma Phi Society. The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards found the fraternity violated the hazing provision of the Student Code of Conduct.
During the Spring 2022 semester, OSCCS received a report alleging hazing behavior. Following the report, a formal complaint was initiated, and the investigation was launched.
The description also listed the fraternity’s hazing violations, which included keeping new members at the house for extended periods of time that hindered new members’ academics and personal well-being and taking the new members’ phones and driving them to an undisclosed location on bid day. At the time of this incident, in-person bid day activities were suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions.
As a result of the investigation, OSCCS imposed a deferred suspension on the fraternity that will extend through the Fall 2023 semester. Sigma Phi accepted responsibility for violating the code of conduct’s hazing provision.
A deferred suspension refers to a suspension for a specified period of time that is not imposed unless the organization is found to violate the code of conduct again during the time period. The suspended group or individual are given conditions to complete.
If the fraternity violates the code of conduct while on deferred suspension, it will incur suspension for two academic years, effective immediately.
“Sigma Phi’s sanctions include an opportunity for the chapter to reform their past practices and create a different new member experience,” wrote Kara Miller McCarty, director of Sorority and Fraternity Life at Cornell, in a statement to The Sun. “They will participate in educational opportunities to do so.”
The Sigma Phi’s penalization includes monthly meetings with an assigned SFL chapter coach. Active members also agreed to complete hazing prevention education, create a comprehensive plan for new member education that must be approved by OSCCS and develop an internal accountability protocol that must include information on reporting issues to the University.
The national Sigma Phi organization, Cornell SFL and OSCCS pledged to work collaboratively in support of Cornell’s chapter throughout the suspension period.
The Sigma Phi website emphasized a zero-tolerance policy for behaviors including hazing.
“Sigma Phi students and our alumni have no tolerance for hazing, sexual harassment, racism, discrimination or the abuse of alcohol,” the fraternity’s website states.
The president of the Sigma Phi chapter at Cornell did not respond to an immediate request for comment.