Fraternity suspended pending conduct review

by University Communications,

After a preliminary review of conduct following the publication of student discussions in a private Facebook group, Willamette University has suspended Sigma Chi as a campus organization pending a review by both the university conduct system and the Sigma Chi national office.

Campus Life staff will continue the confidential conduct review process for students involved – as well as the organization collectively - based students’ actions, per the university’s standards of conduct.

“The review process will focus on individual students’ conduct” says Dean of Campus Life, David Douglass. The conduct review process will extend into the summer. Some students involved in leadership or campus employment positions have already been dismissed, and others are under review.

The national leadership for Sigma Chi stated that discipline procedures have begun, and it’s likely that 10-12 members will be expelled from the fraternity.

In an email to campus Wednesday afternoon, President Steve Thorsett shared the community’s commitment to addressing the issues raised within the Sigma Chi posts.

“As an institution, we have a zero tolerance policy on harassment and sexual violence, and we must continue to work towards the elimination of cultural or social practices that promote or allow violence. As an educational institution, our main weapon in this fight is education, both in the classroom and in informal settings in the co-curriculum, and I welcome the engagement of students, faculty, and staff in strengthening our existing programs and developing new approaches.”

Willamette students, faculty and staff gathered for a discussion forum Wednesday afternoon to discuss the issues, related conduct review process and to express how such conduct affects individuals and the community.

“We hope to channel this attention and students’ energy into a sustained dialog and increased awareness about these important issues,” said Douglass.

[President Thorsett’s message to the Willamette community]