Archive for Friday, October 3, 2003

KU fraternity placed on probation for hazing

October 3, 2003


Kansas University's Sigma Nu fraternity is on disciplinary probation until December 2004 for a hazing incident in August where a student suffered a head injury after being thrown in the air, a KU official announced Friday.

"The university absolutely will not tolerate hazing, and we are committed to eliminating this dangerous activity in our fraternity and sorority community," said Richard Johnson, associate vice provost and dean of students.

Johnson, who issued the sanctions, said that the discipline plan was designed to eliminate future acts of hazing within the chapter.

The plan also involves reviewing the new-member program at the chapter and make changes and sharing those changes with other fraternities.

Johnson issued the sanctions after an administrative disciplinary hearing panel investigated the incident at the fraternity.

A 19-year-old freshman, Steven Weith, suffered a head injury Aug. 13 during an initiation ritual that, according to a police report, involved five fraternity members throwing a pledge in the air. Weith was admitted to Lawrence Memorial Hospital and later transferred to KU Med, Kansas City, Kan., but he remained in the fraternity.

Douglas County Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney investigated the incident and decided not to pursue criminal charges, saying the best deterrent for hazing would be for the university to take action.

KU's panel, composed of university staff and a student, determined that the fraternity violated KU's code of student rights and responsibilities when the student was injured.

Under the probation conditions, Sigma Nu must complete a plan of corrective measures before the chapter can be reinstated to good standing with the university. The chapter could be suspended if it fails to complete any of the sanctions.

The sanctions include:

Prohibiting the chapter from hosting or attending any social functions that involve alcohol until June 2004.

  • Establishing one or more new traditions in connection with the chapter's long-standing "work week" and "sound-off" activities that include creating safe and responsible activities when the work is completed.
  • Reviewing and reconsidering in a written report to the KU Center for Campus Life all house traditions to determine whether they are appropriate and valuable. The findings must be presented to Interfraternity and Panhellenic council leadership meetings, published in the campus fraternity/sorority newsletter, presented at a workshop at new officer training and other fraternity and sorority leadership programs, and presented to new members in Sigma Nu and other fraternity chapters.
  • Attending all fraternity and sorority community new-member and general educational programs and meetings
  • Hosting at least two social activities that do not include alcohol before May 1, 2004. The activities may not be related to any philanthropic projects.
  • Chapter members may participate in intramural sports but are ineligible to compete for championship points.

For more on this story, see the 6News reports at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. and pick up a copy of Saturday's Journal-World.

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