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LU investigates fraternity over hazing allegation

The Lamar University chapter of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity is under investigation after the office of the dean of students was alerted of a physical hazing report.

The chapter has been suspended by the university since Jan. 17, according to a report by 12NewsNow, and was immediately disbanded by the fraternity’s National Board of Directors.

“Any form of hazing at Lamar University is unacceptable,” Shelly Vitanza, director of public affairs, said.

Vitanza said that the university immediately suspended the chapter once they were made aware of the issue.

“The university takes seriously any report of a rule violation by campus organizations,” she said. “The office of the dean of students immediately began an investiagation.”

In a statement released to KFDM/Fox 4, the National Sigma Phi Epsilon office said they closed the chapter because the chapter violated operating expectations and policies.

“Out of concern for the safety and well-being of members, the fraternity’s National Board of Directors took immediate action and disbanded the chapter,” the fraternity said in the statement.

Brian Warren, Sigma Phi Epsilon CEO, said in the statement that SigEp’s purpose is to develop balanced men who make a difference in their communities.

“Hazing flies in the face of the personal growth and support that SigEp seeks to provide, and there is simply no room for it in the fraternity experience,” he said. “When students fail to foster a culture of dignity and respect, the fraternity must hold our chapters and individuals accountable for their poor decisions.”

In a letter provided to KFDM/ Fox 4, the national office wrote to local members that chapter closure is a last resort.

“The dean of students’ office at Lamar University confirmed instances of hazing, including physical brutality, in the chapter experience,” Warren said. “It is clear that members of the Texas Epsilon chapter have disregarded the health and safety policies of Sigma Phi Epsilon and have deceived volunteers, headquarters staff and university personnel.

“In cases such as these, when a chapter is not committed to providing a safe environment and members are clearly not aligned with the expectations of the organization, the National Board of Directors has no other option (than to close the chapter).”

Vitanza said that the university is still investigating the incident and no disciplinary actions have been taken at the time of publication.

Category: News