Sigma Phi Epsilon has been put on suspension until further notice. As The Daily Northwestern reported August 3, Sig Ep's national headquarters suspended NU’s Illinois Lambda chapter pending a Fall Quarter review by alumni. Brian Warren Jr., Sig Ep’s executive director, explained what led to this decision from the chapter's national organization.
“Our chapter wasn’t living up to the expectations that the university has for fraternities and what we hope each and every Sig Ep chapter provides undergraduate men,” Warren said. “We spoke to volunteers or members of the university faculty who addressed concerns with the chapter on several occasions. The chapter and its leadership were given several opportunities to meet sanctions that were placed upon them after a university review. Each time, thus far, they failed to act on the standards put in place.”
Though Warren stated that the chapter neglected to meet standards for the national organization, the members of the Illinois Lambda chapter will have the alumni review before national headquarters considers taking further disciplinary action against the chapter.
This one-time review, which Warren described as “extensive,” will include evaluations of past academic performance, the behavior of current members and “any judicial record that may be on file with the university,” according to Warren. However, that is not everything the evaluation includes.
“We generally look at why a particular individual is a member of the Greek community and the Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter. " Warren said. "We exist to be more than a social organization and believe that people join Sigma Phi Epsilon for a much more fulfilling experience."
SPE will conduct the assessment through its Alumni Advisory Council and volunteers, but also by working with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
“We don’t intend to make any unilateral decision. We want to be good collaborators and recognize that we are guests and they are our hosts. So we understand that we need to work together and, at the end of the day, these are all Northwestern students,” Warren said.
Although Warren could not comment on the chapter’s future if the members of Illinois Lambda do not meet standards in the alumni review, he emphasized that SPE as an organization wants to remain on the Northwestern campus, “Northwestern is a great school and it has tremendous students and I firmly believe that there are young men in our chapter and on that campus that want the experience that we exist to provide," Warren said. "It’s a shame that we even have to go through this type of process. It would be tremendous if I and my staff could focus on good programs for men for life after college rather than trying to determine why young men misbehave.”
NU's Illinois Lambda chapter of Sig Ep was installed in 1989 and states its mission as "Building Balanced Leaders for the World's Communities," according to NU's Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Sigma Phi Epsilon is currently not listed among the IFC chapters overseen by the OFSL’s director and assistant director.
A.J. Tomiak, director of public relations for Northwestern’s Interfraternity Council, sent North by Northwestern a press release August 7, which stated their continued cooperation with the University and Sig Ep’s national headquarters:
“While we are obviously never pleased to see a chapter on our campus struggle, we respect the decision of the national organization. However, Sigma Phi Epsilon will continue as an organization and IFC is eager to work with all levels of the chapter to realign their interests and values with those of their national organization, the Northwestern Greek community, and the overall Northwestern community.” The press release is available in its entirety on the Daily’s website.
Sigma Phi Epsilon is the second fraternity chapter on campus to face serious disciplinary action from its national headquarters this calendar year: The Epsilon Delta chapter of Chi Psi, better known as “Lodge,” was abruptly shut down in February.