Fresno State announced today (Aug. 30) that Sigma Chi has been placed on suspension through Feb. 3, 2020, arising from underage drinking of alcohol, several instances of physical assault and noise violations at a fraternity-sponsored event on May 5, 2019.
If the fraternity satisfies certain University-imposed conditions, such as completing a risk-management program, the chapter will regain recognition and most of the privileges that come with full recognition by Feb. 3, 2020. It will not regain its right to serve alcohol to students of legal age at its functions until May 25, 2020.
During the fall 2019 semester, the fraternity will be allowed to have two chapter meetings a month to discuss risk-management programs, chapter business and philanthropy/community service projects.
In addition to suspending the fraternity, the University and its Department of Athletics have taken action regarding student-athletes alleged to have been involved in the event. In accordance with The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and University policy, the University is prohibited from commenting on actions or charges made against individual students.
“We expect our students to be responsible and comply with University policies while ensuring the safety of other students,” said Dr. Frank Lamas, vice president of the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Fresno State. “We hope our students — future leaders of our communities — will learn, grow and develop from this situation.”
Upon receiving reports of the incidents in early May, the University placed the fraternity on interim suspension immediately as it began its review. The interim suspension restricted the fraternity from recognition on campus and restricted all rights and University privileges. In addition, the University notified Sigma Chi national headquarters, which also placed the fraternity on interim suspension pending the outcome of the investigation and organizational hearing.
The University’s review included numerous steps to assess fully what occurred and to allow for appropriate due process. After completing its investigation, the Fresno State Police Department submitted its report to the Dean of Students Office and the Fresno County District Attorney’s office.
Subsequently, the Dean of Students Office directed its own review in accordance with California State University student-conduct policy, including interviews and hearings, to determine if any action would be taken against alleged responsible individuals, and/or the fraternity, who may have violated any University student-conduct codes. In addition, Vice President Lamas heard the fraternity’s appeal.
Regarding an instance involving injuries sustained by one of the fraternity members, the University was unable to substantiate findings against any single individual due to the lack of sufficient reliable evidence. The University remains willing to reopen its investigation should new reliable evidence emerge. Anonymous tips may be submitted to the Fresno State Police Department at http://www.fresnostate.edu/adminserv/police/service/tipnow.html.