Content warning: sexual harassment
The UCSD chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity has been deregistered until June 2022 based on preliminary findings from the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) and the Center for Student Involvement (CSI) investigations. After June 2022, the fraternity will enter a two-year probationary period.
The Office of Student Conduct (OSC) provided an update on March 30. In the update, the fraternity confessed to several violations of the student conduct code in an administrative resolution meeting with Executive Director of the Center for Student Involvement, Emily Trask. The Triton reached out to Trask for comment, but she did not respond.
The fraternity only accepted responsibility on the charges of violating federal, state, and local laws, serving alcohol to minors, and threatening the health and safety of an individual. These violate Section VII of the student conduct code.
The charge of distribution of explicit material was dismissed after no evidence was found, and it is unclear what happened to the social host ordinance violation charge. The Triton reached out to University Communications and Public Affairs (UCPA) for clarification on the charges, including which laws were violated, but was not given a response.
The Sigma Chi fraternity deregistration means that UCSD no longer recognizes them as a student organization. In order for UCSD to officially recognize a student organization, it must be registered with CSI. Recognition is contingent on the organization’s compliance with student conduct and policy. Without being officially recognized, organizations cannot host events, book rooms, and manage or spend any funds.
In addition to deregistration, several other educational sanctions were imposed due to the investigation. The fraternity may not engage in new recruitment until Winter 2023, and the probationary period bars any event from having alcohol. All sanctions were delivered in accordance to Section XIV of the student conduct code. Furthermore, all current and potential future members of Sigma Chi must complete workshops on medical amnesty, personal and host liability, alcohol, bystander intervention, and Greek 101 training.
The Sigma Chi International Fraternity, the national chapter of the fraternity, deemed further educational sanctions must also be completed upon reinstatement. Specific sanctions were not detailed in the student case report. Chris Terzic, the Chapter Support Coordinator for Region 9, which encompasses UCSD, says the national chapter has implemented a sanction plan; however, due to COVID-19, the details of this plan are not concrete. The Triton followed up with the national chapter regarding the specific sanctions, but has yet to receive a response.
If any further violations occur prior to Winter 2022 or during the mandatory four year review period after reinstatement, deregistration for a minimum of four years will be implemented. Permanent disbarring of student organization status may also be a possibility at that point.
“Educational sanctions required from the most recent set of principal members are currently being conducted virtually in accordance with COVID-19 social distancing precaution,” said Christine Clark, Assistant Director of University Communications.
Initially, the UCSD Panhellenic Council (PHC) placed a social prohibition on the fraternity after at least six allegations of sexual assault were made against Sigma Chi members in June 2019. Due to the ban, OPHD served cease and desist orders to the fraternity, and the national chapter put them under interim suspension.
Despite both the suspension and the allegations, the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC), the governing body for all social fraternities at UCSD, allowed two Sigma Chi members to run in this year’s IFC executive board elections.
Information regarding the status of the sexual assault allegations has not been clarified by either UCSD or the national chapter. Terzic explained, “We are not presently aware of any of the institution’s findings related to the sexual misconduct charges filed against a few members of the chapter as that information is protected by FERPA.”
Per Section IX of the student conduct code, any reports included alleged sexual harassment or violence are forwarded to OPHD. The review and resolution of these charges have not been explicitly stated. The Triton contacted OPHD for comment, but no response was provided.
Despite the lack of confirmation on the status of the sexual misconduct allegations, all members must undergo sexual misconduct and consent training with the national chapter. Current principal members must complete the practical decision making workshop and the Campus Alcohol Risk Reduction Seminar (CARRS).
The case summary report was publicly released after any and all appeals were made. It is unknown at this time if alternative resolution options are underway.
The Triton reached out to the IFC and their advisor Chloe Leal, but did not receive a response. UCSD’s Sigma Chi chapter elected to not provide a comment at this time.
Sahana Narayan is an Assistant News Editor for The Triton. You can follow her @saharadesert00.
Correction May 29 2020: This article was updated to fix a copy error. We apologize for this mistake.