SAE loses appeal, four Greek orgs under investigation

While USFs chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), a national mens fraternity, was denied its appeal of suspension charges received a month ago, four other Greek organizations are also under investigation, with little information released from university officials or organization members.

USF chapters of Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA), a womens fraternity; Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT), a mens fraternity; Sigma Nu, a mens fraternity; and Phi Delta Theta, a mens fraternity, are all under investigations based on possible violations of university or organization policy, Patrick Romero-Aldaz, director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said in an email statement to The Oracle.

Details of the current investigations could not be released, Romero-Aldaz said, but SAE was suspended for
violating three university policies outlined in the Standards for Student Organization Conduct including harassment, hazing and a failure to adhere to organization, local and national policies.

As per (the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Lifes) practice, at the current time I am unable to comment on the situation in that there is an ongoing investigation, Romero-Aldaz said in response to requests for further details surrounding these investigations.

The incident AE was charged for included the alleged use of exercise-type activities and verbal degradation of potential members as a means of testing knowledge about the chapter members, organization information, etc., university spokeswoman Lara Wade-Martinez said in an email to The Oracle.

Danielle McDonald, interim dean of students, said the Office of Fraternity Life has dealt with multiple alcohol-related issues and struggling with risk management this semester.

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life has had some challenges this semester, she said.

McDonald supervises the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, which directly oversees the Greek organizations on campus. The dean of students also typically serves as the appellate officer for appeals through the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, but during the interim period, Dee Siscoe, interim vice president of Student Affairs, has handled appeals made by groups or organizations. McDonald said the university could not directly comment on ongoing investigations.

Renee Svec, director of communications and marketing for Student Affairs, said in an email to The Oracle that when SAE appealed the charges the appellate officer upheld the original findings of organization responsibility, as the chapter could not absolve itself of responsibility for the charges, but the original sanctions were reduced to a two-year loss of recognition based on multiple factors.

SAE is working with The Department of Housing and Residential Education to determine what will happen to the house.

Svec said SAE is working in collaboration with Housing and Residential Education to determine next steps with regard to the SAE house and its residents.

The Department of Housing and Residential Education declined to comment further, and directed questions to University Communications and Marketing.

Of the 14 organizations that occupy Greek Village, three other than SAE now have the possibility of being removed, as ZTA, ZBT and Sigma Nu all occupy houses on campus. Phi Delta Theta has an off-campus house on 42nd Street.

The Executive Board members of USFs Interfraternity Council could not be reached for comment via the email addresses posted on its Facebook page.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that SAE will be removed from its Greek Village house and will be eligible to reapply for recognition in 2014. This story has been updated to state instead that SAE will be working with the Department of Housing and Residential Education to determine its future.