Nov 18, 2019
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The Fresno State Sigma Chi fraternity chapter has been suspended by the university until Feb. 3, 2020, due to underage drinking of alcohol, several incidents of physical assault and noise violations. (Larry Valenzuela/The Collegian)

Fresno State Sigma Chi fraternity suspended

The Fresno State Sigma Chi fraternity chapter has been suspended through Feb. 3, 2020, due to underage drinking of alcohol, several instances of physical assault and noise violations at a fraternity-sponsored event on May 5, 2019, according to a university news release.

The fraternity may regain recognition and most of the privileges that come with full recognition if it satisfies certain University-imposed conditions, such as completing a risk-management program, the release stated. 

It will not regain its right to serve alcohol to students at its functions, even those of legal age, until May 25, 2020.

The fraternity will be permitted to hold two chapter meetings a month to discuss risk-management programs, chapter business and philanthropy and community service projects.

“We expect our students to be responsible and comply with university policies while ensuring the safety of other students,” Dr. Frank Lamas, vice president of the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, said in the release. “We hope our students – future leaders of our communities – will learn, grow and develop from this situation.”

Fresno State and the Department of Athletics have taken action regarding student-athletes who are alleged to be involved in the incident, according to the release. However, the university is prohibited from commenting on actions or charges made against individual students, in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and University policy.

The university received reports of the incidents in May and placed the fraternity on interim suspension immediately as it began its review. The fraternity had no university recognition, and its rights and university privileges were restricted during its interim suspension.

The Sigma Chi national headquarters was also notified of the situation by the university. The fraternity headquarters also placed the chapter on interim suspension pending the results of the investigation and an organizational hearing.

The university’s review of the incident included a number of steps to fully assess what transpired and to allow for appropriate due process. Upon completion of its investigation, the Fresno State Police Department submitted its report to the Dean of Students Office and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office.

The Dean of Students Office also conducted its own review in accordance with the California State University student-conduct policy, which included interviews and hearings in an effort to determine whether any action would be necessary against alleged responsible individuals and/or the fraternity, who may have violated any university student-conduct codes. In addition, 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. Fresno State remains willing to reopen its investigation should new reliable evidence emerge, the release stated.

Anonymous tips may be submitted to the Fresno State Police Department at http://www.fresnostate.edu/adminserv/police/service/tipnow.html.

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