Kappa Sigma Tulane chapter closed until 2020 following several conduct violations


Carrigan English | Contributing Photographer

Alpha Delta Pi is negotating a lease with Kappa Sigma Housing Corporation for Kappa Sigma’s former house on Broadway Street.

Tulane’s chapter of Kappa Sigma Fraternity has been closed for its violation of the fraternity’s code of conduct.

The Supreme Executive Committee of Kappa Sigma Fraternity voted to close Tulane’s Sigma Chapter at a July 14 hearing.

Mitchell B. Wilson, executive director of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, said that the chapter was withdrawn “for participating in activities that are inconsistent with the values of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.”

According to Liz Schafer, director of Fraternity and Sorority Programs at Tulane, a venue manager complained to Tulane in late January of 2017 about a party hosted at a venue involving Kappa Sigma. Damage was incurred to the facility at the event.

At this time, Kappa Sigma was under alcohol restriction status following a report in the spring of 2016 that alleged hazing of new members and misuse of alcohol in the new member process. This status prohibits hosting events with alcohol. Tulane launched an investigation and informed the Kappa Sigma National office of the potential violations.

The student who booked the event eventually admitted that the party was intended as a Kappa Sigma event, in violation of the organization’s alcohol restriction status.

In March of 2017, Kappa Sigma ended its period of alcohol restriction status.

In April of 2017, Kappa Sigma hosted a party with minor policy violations in which alcohol use was not in total compliance with policy. At this point, the organization was under disciplinary probation from hazing violations incurred in the spring of 2016. The probation was not scheduled to end until May of 2017.

Tulane, in exercising its ability to place organizations under interim suspension when there is reasonable concern that the conduct in question may lead to further disciplinary action, suspended Kappa Sigma after learning of the event and policy violations.

Concurrent with the interim suspension, Tulane officials reported the January party and April violations to Kappa Sigma’s international offices, which launched a show-cause hearing. Chapter officers met with the board of Kappa Sigma’s international offices.

Following the closure, the Tulane chapter of Kappa Sigma submitted an appeal to Kappa Sigma Fraternity’s international offices, which denied the appeal.

The board ruled that the Tulane chapter of Kappa Sigma will be closed for three years until its recolonization in 2020. Tulane officials worked with the board to establish an executive return agreement, which lays out a plan for the chapter’s eventual reestablishment on campus. In 2020, it is likely that all students who were members of Kappa Sigma during the time of the incidents will have graduated.

“They will be coming back, but right now, Kappa Sigma does not have a presence at Tulane, period,” Schafer said.

Former members may not recruit underground or appear to be operating as an organization.

“Reasonable person standard is sort of the best way to determine it,” Schafer said. “… If something went so wrong that there was a lawsuit, and you had to defend to a bunch of non-Tulane people, just people in the city of New Orleans, of all ages and backgrounds what this was, would you reasonably be able to explain to them that this was not a fraternity event?”

Kappa Sigma has previously violated the fraternity’s code of conduct, also by means of alcohol and substance misuse. In 2013, two Kappa Sigma members were arrested on drug charges, in response to which Kappa Sigma’s international offices also executed a membership review. Following the review, approximately 20 students remained in the chapter.

“My hope is that the closure will send a message both to the remaining members of the fraternity and sorority community and the rest of the university community that the institution’s expectation and the national organizations’ expectation is that alcohol not be a focus of Greek membership,” Schafer said. “Our fraternity and sorority community is also, along with everybody else at Tulane, committed to making sure that it does not remain a focus of people’s Tulane life.”

Alpha Delta Pi sorority is working with the Kappa Sigma Housing Corporation to negotiate a lease on the Kappa Sigma property located on Broadway Street. Alpha Delta Pi previously occupied Alpha Epsilon Phi’s house during its suspension.

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