By Julie Kayzerman, Colleen Murphy and Annette Espinoza
Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor and Correspondent
The College has placed its chapter of Sigma Pi fraternity on interim suspension, spokesman Dave Muha told The Signal. This status is dependent on the results of a pending investigation into the organization’s potential violations of the College’s policy governing fraternity and sorority life, he said.
The investigation is being headed by Elizabeth Gallus, the director of the Office of Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution Services at the College. The Theta Delta chapter of the fraternity was placed on interim suspension for incidents that allegedly took place in September. According to the College’s policies outlined in the “Fraternity and Sorority Life Privileges and Responsibilities” online page, interim suspension “will only be imposed in exceptional circumstances to ensure the health, safety or welfare of members of the College or property of the College.”
“When the College receives credible information about possible serious violations of the student conduct code by a recognized student organization, it conducts a preliminary investigation that can result in interim suspension of that organization pending resolution of the matter,” Muha said.
The College will not comment on the specifics of the allegations that led to the fraternity’s suspension as it is the school’s practice not to comment about ongoing investigations. However, there has been widespread discussion on social media about the fraternity and an alleged sexual assault. It remains unclear what, if anything, had allegedly taken place.
“We are taking this seriously and took the step (in September) of placing the fraternity on interim suspension, pending the outcome of the investigation,” Muha said.
An interim suspension results in an immediate suspension of recognition and privileges as defined by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Sigma Pi has been prohibited from acting on the 26 privileges it was formerly granted as a recognized fraternity, according to the College’s “Fraternity and Sorority Life Privileges and Responsibilities.” This includes the ability to hold socials, recruit members and conduct meetings.
The fraternity is no longer listed on Lion’s Gate, the new online hub for student organizations. It has also been removed from the list of Greek Life chapters at the College from the websites of the Inter Greek Council and Panhellenic Association. The fraternity, however, is being allowed the sole privilege of keeping its organization’s email so that the College has a way to communicate with them during the investigation, Muha said.
While Sigma Pi lost the privilege to participate in the College’s Homecoming activities, individual brothers of the organization were still allowed to participate, according to Muha. Muha confirmed that members of the fraternity participated in Homecoming under the team of Delta Phi Epsilon and Co., without representing the fraternity as a whole.
According to Muha, participation in Homecoming does not require group membership and is open to any student. Therefore, individual students who happened to be members of Sigma Pi fraternity were allowed to participate, but were not able to represent Sigma Pi. Delta Phi Epsilon and Co. won this year’s Homecoming events.
Neither the College’s chapter nor the international chapter of Sigma Pi would return multiple requests for comment.
According to the Sigma Pi TCNJ Theta Delta Facebook page, “The organization strives to build a brotherhood that raises the standards of morality and develops character in undergraduate males. Sigma Pi’s ideals are to maintain an aristocracy of learning, diffuse culture, encourage chivalry, promote the spirit of civic righteousness and quicken the national conscience.”
Ewing Police confirmed that they are not involved in the investigation and Campus Police declined to comment.
The College could not comment on how it became aware of the allegations against the fraternity.
Additionally, there is no specific time frame on the length of the investigation.
“The Office of Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution Services conducts all investigations as quickly as possible, paying particular attention to the need for thoroughness and to protect the rights of the parties involved,” Muha said.