Letters indicate troubled frat was accused of theft, hazing, underage drinking
Published: Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 7:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 7:48 p.m.
The University of Florida Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity has been accused of involvement in theft, hazing and underage drinking, according to a series of letters sent to the fraternity by the dean of students’ office during the fall.
The fraternity, commonly known as “SigEp,” was shut down by its national board of directors last month amid university investigations into numerous conduct violations.
After a hearing held in early November based on a report of an incident of underage drinking in September at the fraternity’s house, the chapter was placed on probation, according to the letters.
In the following weeks, more letters were sent regarding accusations of hazing, theft and underage drinking. In each case, law enforcement notified the university of the potential violations of the student conduct code.
Officials have not given specifics on any of the incidents, although the fraternity made headlines when two of its members were arrested and charged with theft in March after getting caught walking out of a local home improvement store with nearly $600 worth of plastic sheeting to be used for a pool party at the chapter’s house.
Chris Loschiavo, assistant dean of students and director of student conduct and conflict resolution, said a hearing to address the second set of charges has yet to be scheduled. He said a representative from the fraternity, such as the president at the time of the incidents, must be present for the hearing.
“It has to be a student representative,” he said.
Mark Warner, a local member of the chapter’s alumni board and a 1974 UF graduate, said he felt the university has been too harsh with the fraternity and that the national organization is being forced to punish UF’s chapter in order to avoid a harsher penalty from UF.
“We were worried if we didn’t make a decision, then the university could do the worst-case scenario,” he said, implying that UF would ban the fraternity for four years.
Warner, who has helped vacate the fraternity’s house at 5 Fraternity Row, said most of the almost 50 students who were living in the house have since moved into off-campus apartments.
Michael Lewis, another ’74 grad on the chapter’s alumni board who has assisted with the move, also said he felt like the university was being too harsh.
“Boys are going to be boys,” he said. “They’re going to have problems. They’re going to grow up.”
Dave Kratzer, vice president of student affairs, said he felt it was shame that the doors of a fraternity that has been on campus since 1925 has closed.
“I think everybody involved feels like it was a very sad situation,” he said.
Contact Joey Flechas at 338-3166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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