In late November 2004, Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity had its charter suspended for five years due to an alcohol offense made shortly after the organization had rewritten its alcohol guidelines due to a previous infraction.
According to Tim Wilkinson, Fraternity and Sorority Program Director at the College, in late September, a police report was filed about a party that took place in a house where Sigma Tau Gamma members live.
“Through investigating and talking to the Ewing Township Police it was verified that the house (and its members) had kegs present, charged at the door and were holding an open party,” Wilkinson said.
Open parties, Wilkinson explained, with charged admission and alcohol for students under the age of 21 are “both in violation of Inter-Greek Council (IGC) policy and Sigma Tau Gamma national policy.”
This was not Sigma Tau Gamma’s only recent alcohol incident according to Wilkinson. During the Spring 2003 semester, an underage student was transported to a hospital after attending a Sigma Tau Gamma event.
At that time, other incidents involving the fraternity were under investigation as well, causing the national chapter to call for a reorganization of the chapter here at the College. Specific mandates were given to the fraternity. One of which was that they had to rewrite their chapter alcohol policy.
The rewritten policy was handed down in August 2004, and the next violation took place a month later on Sept. 25.
“After this blatant violation of the alcohol policy they had just rewritten, they lost the privilege of existing at (the College),” Wilkinson said.
A former member of Sigma Tau Gamma who wishes to remain anonymous said that the suspension felt like a personal attack on the fraternity rather than an apt punishment. “The fact is, we’re all friends and we all loved the organization. I think (what happened) is a shame,” he said.
The punishment was decided on by the IGC executive board. According to Wilkinson, in situations like this, he “gives a recommendation of level of sanction” – in this case, it was a five-year suspension – and IGC makes the final decision on what to do.
In the end, the IGC executive board agreed with Wilkinson and suspended Sigma Tau Gamma for five years starting on Nov. 23.
The national Sigma Tau Gamma chapter offered another reorganization plan but, according to Wilkinson, the College “didn’t feel it was acceptable” due to the chapter’s disregard for the previous reorganization attempt.
Wilkinson said that presently, his biggest fear presently involving Sigma Tau Gamma is the possibility that it would “unofficially have a pledge class” even though there is no actual organization here or affiliation with the College or its Greek Life.
Wilkinson urges students and other fraternities and sororities to not recognize any group organized as Sigma Tau Gamma. “Our chapters worry about a perceived lack of respect and if they allow any unrecognized chapter to continue on, respect is lost,” he said.
According to Jason Neely, Community Standards Coordinator at the College, the office of Community Standards, at the present time, has not taken action against any individual students involved with Sigma Tau Gamma.
Depending on the behavior of the former members of Sigma Tau Gamma over the next five years, there is a definite possibility that the College will bring the chapter back after the suspension time has passed.