Frat forced to relocate
October 25, 2011
The College of William and Mary’s Kappa Sigma fraternity chapter face disciplinary action after a series of violations culminated in the fraternity’s implication in the hospitalization of a female student.
Even though the fraternity retains its charter, 17 Kappa Sigma brothers will pack their bags and relocate from Unit B to various on- and off-campus residences by Nov. 6.
“The school took into account violations over the past four to five years,” President of Kappa Sigma Pat Horan ’12 said. “I don’t necessarily agree with the school’s assessment. It is a double standard. A lot of the good things the fraternity has done were overlooked.”
Two of those past violations included a burst pipe and the hospitalization of the female student. A fraternity can receive violations for anything ranging from leftover trash to illegal activity.
“We took the majority of the blame for this,” Horan said. “Her [the female student’s] report and her friend’s report said that they were at Kappa Sigma some period of time after coming from another unit. That’s all settled. That is pretty much what we were held responsible for.”
Associate Director for Student Activities Anne Arseneau noted that Kappa Sigma’s choice to go forward with an administrative solution instead of a hearing indicates that both the administration and the fraternity agreed on a stated summary of facts.
“Losing special interest housing is a sanction that is and has been used in cases where an organization’s ability to be healthy and productive is no longer apparent,” Arseneau said. “I know this [loss of special-interest housing] has been a resolution at least three times before, two of which resulted in the organization closing.”
Horan was not aware whether other fraternities were receiving punishments.
“The recommended sanction is then decided on by the dean of students handling the case, which is based on the nature of the incident,” Arseneau said. “The past history of the organization is going to weigh into the resolution.”
Even though this is not the first time in Arsenau’s 14 years at the College that a fraternity has lost its special interest housing, these punishments stand out in Horan’s mind.
“We have had other similar sanctions, but this is the worst sanction that I have seen since I’ve been here,” he said. “This is a result of a series of events that led us to losing on-campus housing. We are going to use this time to re-evaluate the fraternity’s mission.”
Horan said the Nov. 6 move-out deadline is particularly unjust.
“I don’t know who would want to move into the units halfway through the semester,” Horan said. “People are pretty frustrated and Nov. 6 is a pretty arbitrary date. It seems unfair we couldn’t stay until the end of the semester.”
According to Director of Residence Life Deb Boykin, the spaces in the unit will be offered to students on the room-change waiting list and to students applying for housing for the spring semester.
“The brothers will be offered vacant spaces on campus or will be released from their housing contracts and allowed to move off campus,” Boykin said in an email.
Those brothers not moving out of the unit are required to consolidate on the second or third floor of the unit. The floor that is left vacated will house non-members, and one vacated room on the first floor will house a newly hired resident advisor.
“Kappa Sigma letters have been removed from the exterior and the unit is no longer considered special interest housing,” Boykin said in an email. “Kappa Sigma’s common area furniture, murals and other property will be removed, and Residence Life will provide furnishings for the first floor and basement. At this point, we
are giving the brothers the opportunity to make decisions as a chapter.”
The fraternity will also be receiving the bill for 70 percent of damages incurred by the burst pipe, which, according to Horan, took the school approximately an hour and a half to plug. The Student Assembly
Appeals Board denied the fraternity’s appeal of the vandalism charge.
“We do not think it was one of our brothers,” Horan said.
Kappa Sigma is not only facing scrutiny from the College administration. The fraternity’s national organization is requiring alcohol education classes, according to Horan, and a membership review, according to Arseneau.
“We got general things [punishments] for when fraternities get alcohol violations,” Horan said.
Despite these punishments, Kappa Sigma’s reputation remains untarnished for one potential new member.
“This doesn’t affect the fraternity’s reputation; it is not really what they got in trouble for so much as the way that the circumstances worked [out],” Jack Peterson ’15 said. “It is not a fair punishment. Other fraternities could have gotten in trouble for this just as easily.”
The fraternity’s ability to recruit new pledges was not affected.
“We have one the best GPAs of fraternities on campus,” Horan said. “We were not given community service work because our fraternity already does a ton of philanthropy work.”
Dean of Students Patricia Volp was not available in her office Monday to comment on the situation. Because student conduct records are protected under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, administrators are prohibited from discussing specific conduct cases.