LSU confirms Sigma Chi Fraternity kicked off campus, students re - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

LSU confirms Sigma Chi Fraternity kicked off campus, students react to the news

Sigma Chi fraternity house on LSU's campus. (Source: WAFB) Sigma Chi fraternity house on LSU's campus. (Source: WAFB)

LSU has confirmed the Sigma Chi Fraternity has been kicked off campus.

The national fraternity’s executive committee announced Friday it had suspended the LSU chapter’s charter indefinitely. In an email, Michael Ursillo, grand council for the fraternity, said the decision was as a result of "continuing and ongoing conduct matters within the chapter and the chapter's inability to change its culture and correct the conduct issues have indicated that the chapter is not able to maintain an environment that would prove conducive to a true Sigma Chi experience."

In recent months, the chapter has faced investigations involving alleged drug use. On November 3, LSU suspended the chapter after charging it with violating the university’s drug and hazing policy. A member of the fraternity, 21-year-old Sawyer Reed, died in October of a suspected heroin overdose. A search of his off-campus home found what appeared to be drugs and other items used to ingest them, police said.

A report earlier this month by the 9NEWS Investigators focused on internal LSU documents showing campus investigators began looking into the fraternity after Reed's death. The documents showed investigators reviewed surveillance video from inside the Sigma Chi fraternity and allegedly found video showing people snorting an unknown white substance.

Records obtained by 9NEWS also showed 66 members of the fraternity were suspended from the fraternity after voting against taking hair follicle drug screenings. Only 10 members agreed to the drug screening, documents show.

The university's media relations department released the following statement Friday:

The national Sigma Chi fraternal organization suspended the charter of its LSU chapter after an investigation of hazing and substance abuse surfacing from an Oct. 17 incident. LSU placed the fraternity on interim suspension on Nov. 3, in accordance with policy on due process (PS-52), and charged the fraternity with violating the university’s drug and hazing policy. LSU supports the decision that the Gamma Iota chapter of Sigma Chi fraternity student organization’s registration be rescinded effective immediately through Dec. 31, 2018.

"This is a difficult time for students, families and alumni associated with Sigma Chi. We appreciate the working relationship with the Sigma Chi national organization during the PS-52 process and the quick action they have taken to ensure these types of incidents don’t occur in the future,” said Kurt Keppler, LSU vice president for student life and enrollment. “LSU has a long standing relationship with Sigma Chi, and it’s unfortunate that this is the end result, but we take any and all reports of incidents seriously and will not tolerate policy violations when it involves the health, safety and well-being of our students."

The fraternity's national chapter released the following statement on its website:

In collaboration with Louisiana State University, the Executive Committee of Sigma Chi International Fraternity announced today that it is closing the organization’s chapter at Louisiana State University. Fraternity leaders had worked for some time to address conduct issues within the chapter, but ultimately concluded that its members were not living up to Sigma Chi’s high ideals.

The Fraternity looks forward to maintaining a positive relationship with administrators at Louisiana State and returning to campus after its current members have graduated. All initiated members within the chapter have been moved to special alumni status, meaning that their undergraduate activity as Sigma Chis must cease.

"It is with a heavy heart that we close the Louisiana State chapter. While it was the right thing to do because we cannot afford to have individuals tarnish the reputation of Sigma Chi, we are saddened when our members do not live up to our high ideals," said Sigma Chi international president, Mike Ursillo, BROWN 1978. "We took this action for the good of the Fraternity, and look forward to returning to campus when the time is right."

"The Gamma Iota chapter at LSU has a long history of tremendous men, which makes this a sad day," said Jim Nickel, a Sigma Chi alum.

On campus, students expressed frustration and shock over the removal of the fraternity and the allegations leading to the chapter’s suspension.

"I think the school probably really needs to look into fraternities a lot more because that’s out of control," said LSU student Arzelius Payton.

"I think it’s kind of pathetic that it took this long to come to a conclusion after something so extreme happened," said LSU student Landon Zeringue.

Officials had scheduled a hearing for next week to discuss issues with the fraternity, but they said there is no need for it now that the fraternity has been removed from campus.

Back in March, LSU’s Acacia fraternity was also kicked off campus after an investigation into alleged hazing incidents.

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