University of Wisconsin’s chapter of Sigma Chi fraternity is under suspension for the second time this academic year for violating alcohol probation.
Under suspension, the fraternity is revoked of its status as a registered student organization, effective immediately until May 8, 2015. They will be on probation with alcohol restriction until Dec. 31, 2015. If violated, the fraternity will undergo further scrutiny, due to their history with suspension, the university’s decision said.
The chapter will now only be allowed one all-chapter and one executive team meeting per week, as part of their probation. The fraternity can submit an ‘extensive risk management’ plan to UW’s Committee on Student Organization to lift the alcohol restriction.
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The suspension was prompted Jan. 18, when a female student vomited more than six times, blew a blood alcohol level of .21, was unable to walk on her own, blacked out and had to be transported to a detox facility, a CSO report dated Feb. 4 showed. She was allegedly returning from a party at Sigma Chi’s chapter house. The incident sparked an investigation into the fraternity’s activities – at the time Sigma Chi was not allowed to have alcohol at chapter house events.
Sigma Chi came off of a 12-month suspension mid-November 2014 for prior alcohol violations. The fraternity was reinstated on probation. They were permitted to have alcohol at events through third party vendors, Eric Knueve, CSO chair and assistant dean for the Center for Leadership Involvement, said.
After the Jan. 18 incident, a letter to Sigma Chi dated Feb. 16 informed the fraternity that CSO was investigating allegations that the fraternity had violated their alcohol probation.
In the CSO report, the student indicated that she went to the fraternity with a group of her floormates and took pulls from a bottle of Burnetts vodka. While she had been to fraternity parties and had drank in a similar environment before, she reportedly lost count of how many drinks she had and said she had never consumed that much alcohol before.
As a friend helped her walk home, a UW police officer stopped the student and eventually took her into custody. A male student who was sober that night but also attended the party attested that there was a “huge party” with alcohol at the Sigma Chi chapter house.
They were able to confirm accounts from the reports through a subsequent investigation, Knueve said.
Knueve said according to the new RSO alcohol policy outlining risk management requirements passed this year, groups serving alcohol are required abide by a set of guidelines including having a sober monitor, providing wristbands for those that are of age and designating a specific area for serving the alcohol.
He said beyond breaking their probation, they did not follow risk management requirements.
Sigma Chi’s alumni advisor Andy Peters, a 2010 UW graduate, acknowledged receiving the university’s letter and said the fraternity is preparing next steps. He declined further comment.
The chapter’s president Grant Abella did not respond for comment.
Tara Golshan and Rachael Lallensack contributed to this report.