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Greek life members are quiet after the university issued a cease and desist order to Sigma Phi Epsilon over the weekend. The university is investigating the fraternity because of hazing allegations, according to the organization’s headquarters.
“Responding to an anonymous report of hazing received over the weekend, the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity has asked its Quinnipiac chapter to temporarily suspend activities until an investigation is complete,” Marketing and Communications Director Beaux Carriere of Sigma Phi Epsilon headquarters said in a statement. “We expect all of our students to behave according to both their university’s policies and ours, and we take health and safety violations seriously. We work with our university partners to investigate any and all allegations of student misconduct.”
The university said in a statement Monday that the chapter must halt all operations while the university investigates it because of “allegations regarding the fraternity’s process for new members.”
“We have zero tolerance for any behavior which threatens the safety and security of any member of the university community,” Vice President for Public Affairs Lynn Bushnell said in the statement.
The university would not allow any other officials to speak for this story.
Sigma Phi Epsilon is one of the largest fraternities in the United States, according to the Sigma Phi Epsilon website. The fraternity’s mission is to “build balanced leaders for the world’s communities,” according to the Quinnipiac chapter’s Do You QU page.
The Chronicle contacted the president of Sigma Phi Epsilon, several members of the fraternity and the presidents of all the Greek organizations, but all either did not return the request for comment or declined to comment on the allegations. The Interfraternity Council (IFC) also declined to comment and said it did not want to release a statement until the investigation was over and more information was available.
President of Sigma Gamma Rho Melissa Barosy said it is disappointing that hazing is often connected to Greek organizations.
“It is really sad and unfortunate that the conversation of hazing remains a plague to the Greek lettered organizations,” she said in a statement. “While it is our sincerest hope that this matter is sorted out and handled, we also think it is important to highlight the fact that Greeks do a commendable amount of community service and can be credited with a great amount of the volunteerism coming out of QU.”
Brian Moeltner, a junior not involved in Greek life, said he is not surprised the chapter was accused of hazing.
“I just kind of expected that [hazing],” Moeltner said. “I know at other schools, I’ve heard some really f*cked up stories that my friends have had to do. I don’t see a problem, really, with hazing, I guess … like, at all. I know some of them are messed up—there’s definitely some hazing that’s bad. But, like, comparatively I don’t think [Quinnipiac] is bad.”
Freshman Joe Mania thinks that Sigma Phi Epsilon got the consequences they deserve.
“I think it is important that they are facing the repercussions they are with Greek life being so important on campus,” Mania said. “They should be punished for what they did because it isn’t right…it shows and sets a precedent that when what you do is wrong, you will face the consequences.”
Sigma Phi Epsilon received a lot of positive media coverage earlier this month when it posted a video of the members carrying one of their brothers, who is wheelchair bound because he has Friedreich’s Ataxia, up Sleeping Giant Mountain. The fraternity had an event planned for Oct. 11 to raise money to cure Friedreich’s Ataxia. Members also volunteered at the Brooksvale Fall Festival in Hamden this past weekend, according to the chapter’s Facebook page.
Bushnell’s son was a part of the fraternity in the past, according to a post on the chapter’s website. In a parent testimonial on the website, Bushnell wrote in 2011 about how the fraternity helped her son’s work ethic and gave him a group of friends he could count on.
“I was never a fan of fraternities until my son joined one,” she wrote on the website. “My fraternity experiences in my own college years were far from positive, and I held that notion of frats until our son expressed interest in joining one here at Quinnipiac. College is such a time of transformation for students that it’s hard to know exactly what contributes to a young person’s development, but I am certain that Sig[ma] Phi Epsilon has had a positive impact on our son’s growth and maturity.”
The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity is the third Greek life organization that has received a cease and desist order from the university in the past three years.
The sorority Alpha Chi Omega had to stop operations in November 2013 while the university investigated the sorority for “member behavior.” The chapter was allowed to resume operations in January 2014 after the investigation was completed.
Meanwhile, the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon was kicked off campus indefinitely in December 2014, following hazing allegations. The university expelled one fraternity member and suspended two others, which sparked a lawsuit brought forward by one of the suspended students. The university still has not allowed Tau Kappa Epsilon to resume activities.
Freshman Abby McCarthy said it makes sense that the university issued the cease and desist order to Sigma Phi Epsilon.
“If it was true that it actually happened, it makes sense that they would have to cease and desist,” McCarthy said. “We don’t want those types of things [hazing] happening on our campus. Especially since fraternity and sorority life is so big, it should have a positive vibe and a positive impact on our campus rather than a negative one.”