Sigma Chi Fraternity decided today to end its more-than 20-year relationship with California State University, Chico and will "operate its Kappa Theta chapter independently from the campus for the foreseeable future."
The fraternity wrote in a press release they did not make this decision lightly, nor was it made in defiance of what they described as the ultimate goal of the administration.
“We feel that we must note that we are not choosing to disassociate from the university so that the members of our chapter will be free of the rules and regulations of the university. On the contrary, the undergraduate chapter and its alumni volunteers will continue to follow and abide by the rules set forth by the campus, but without their supervision or oversight.”
Joe Wills, Director of Public Affairs at Chico State, told Action News everyone at the university would like student groups to be affiliated with the school, even if they are under sanctions.
“Affiliation provides a strong line of communication between the university and the group,” said Wills. “It’s very advantageous for a student group to stay involved.”
Wills said it was “hard to say” if the fraternity will abide by university rules without its oversight, and the university has never faced a situation exactly like this before. But he indicated he and Greek Advisors are happy to hear Sigma Chi desires to do things which benefit the community and abide by the rules.
Sigma Chi claimed in their press release one of the main reasons for severing ties with the university is because of what they perceive as unjustly high standards.
“…our values demand that we strive for perfection, wisdom tells us that life and our actions are not without missteps or errors in judgment,” The fraternity stated in their press release. “Recent statements and actions by the administration suggest that it will swiftly deal with any Greek-letter organization that does not meet its definition of a “perfect” chapter…we feel that the administration’s stance of requiring perfection in every case is unjust, unrealistic and does not lead to true learning opportunities for its student body by preventing the Greek-letter community’s leaders and members to admit fault and find real solutions for change in collaboration with campus.”
In response to this statement, Will stated the university simply asks for chapters to live up to their charter’s standards.
“The university by no means expects perfection,” said Wills. “We only ask they make every effort to live up to their ideals.”
Sigma Chi was suspended by the university for two years last week after beer making by one of its officers was discovered in the chapter house. All Greek chapter houses are required to be alcohol-free, and the manufacture of alcoholic beverages by a recognized university organization is a violation of the State Education Code. Sigma Chi was already on probation for hosting a party in August 2012 at an annex house that was in violation of University Greek guidelines.
After speaking with Greek Advisors today, Wills indicated there wasn't great concern among other chapters at Chico State would follow Sigma Chi’s lead, but there has been a general concern throughout the years of student groups advertising themselves as fraternities only to form places to live and party.
Without university affiliation, Sigma Chi will not be eligible to play intramural sports, participate in Greek Week or other inter-fraternal activities, lose the opportunity to receive funds through revenue sharing, and lose the ability to seek leadership training and advising from the university.