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Sigma Chi 12/05/17

Shown is the Sigma Chi fraternity house in Charleston on Tuesday.

CHARLESTON -- Eta Mu, the Eastern Illinois University chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity, has been suspended following an investigation into alleged hazing within the organization.

EIU and Sigma Chi International Fraternity officials mutually decided to suspend the longstanding Eastern chapter after a weeks-long investigation of the organization.

“At the discretion of the fraternity’s national organization, that decision resulted in the issuance of a multiple-year suspension to the Eta Mu chapter of Sigma Chi,” an EIU statement read.

The executive committee of the Sigma Chi International Fraternity voted to immediately suspend the chapter “indefinitely,” according to a Nov. 29 news release. The news release states that they made the decision because of “alcohol-related accountability issues.”

The university statement read that officials were made aware of “potential hazing activities taking place within the Sigma Chi fraternity” in September. The university’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Programs and Office of Student Standards proceeded to investigate, leading to the suspension.

“This action was undertaken in an effort to ensure the ongoing safety of Eastern’s students, as well as to preserve the standards of excellence and personal values to which EIU and its collective stakeholders hold the entirety of its Greek organizations and participants,” the university statement read.

Officials refused to provide any further details into the investigation and what turned up as a result of it. Both offices investigating the program deferred to Josh Reinhart, public information coordinator at the university, who did not elaborate on the matter.

Reinhart did not reveal what incident or incidents sparked the investigation, or the extent of the investigation.

“Because EIU respects the privacy of all its students, the University cannot share specific information regarding the details of this case,” the university statement read.

Also, neither EIU officials nor the general fraternity commented on possible repercussions for those in the frat who might have been hazing. The EIU chapter received notice of their suspension Nov. 29.

According to the international fraternity, the EIU chapter will be unable to participate in anything that could be perceived as a Sigma Chi activity until 2023.

Members currently residing in the chapter house on campus will have to move out. Mark Hudson, EIU Housing and Dining director, said the vacated building will be open for other off-campus fraternities or sororities interested in the space to come in as has happened “on occasion” in the past for various reasons.

Hudson said Sigma Chi had filled that space for a long time, going back at least to 2001.

Reinhart would not comment on what the decision means for current chapter members moving forward.

Robert Stevens, fraternity chapter adviser, and Derek Pierce, fraternity chapter president, could not be reached for comment.

“Long live the Eta Mu chapter,” the Eastern chapter last posted on Twitter.

The international fraternity indicated in its news release that the goal is to “eventually return the chapter to campus and the organization would partner with the university in doing so, ensuring that future chapter members would have a positive environment where they could be successful in their endeavors."

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Jarad Jarmon is a reporter for the JG-TC. He covers the city of Charleston, Eastern Illinois University, Mattoon schools and the Regional Office of Education.

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