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Sigma Nu suspended over hazing, alcohol violations


Members of the fraternity Sigma Nu gather on the front porch of their house on North Jordan Avenue on Wednesday afternoon. The Beta Eta chapter of Sigma Nu was suspended from the IU campus by its national leadership due to alleged hazing and alcohol related violations.  Emily Eckelbarger Buy Photos

The men who founded Sigma Nu wanted to create a fraternity without hazing. 

The suspension of IU’s Beta Eta chapter Wednesday marks the ninth Sigma Nu chapter to be suspended for hazing since 2012. 

The Sigma Nu website says that anti-hazing is a large part of its mission and vision. James Frank Hopkins, Greenfield Quarles and McIlvaine Riley started Sigma Nu in 1869 at the Virginia Military Institute to fight back against the intense hazing at their school.

The brothers of Sigma Nu faced the reality Wednesday morning that its national headquarters had suspended its charter.

Some of the members danced outside the IU house on North Jordan Avenue around 2:30 p.m. Some of them dribbled a basketball. One fashioned a red, white and blue Sigma Nu flag around his body like a cape. 

A member of Sigma Nu paints a rock red Wednesday afternoon outside their house on North Jordan Ave. before being called back into the house. The Beta Eta chapter of Sigma Nu was suspended from the IU campus by its national leadership due to alleged hazing and alcohol related violations. Matt Rasnic Buy Photos

The cold and drizzle did not stop the men from singing and playing on the porch and front lawn. One picked up a paintbrush and painted a nearby rock red. He didn’t explain exactly why, though. 

“Uh, I don’t know, I was bored,”  he said.

What was the rock? 

“Uh, the rock represents for Sigma Nu—”

“Hey!” someone inside yelled. “They’re on public property. Come inside.”

“But I’m not finished painting my rock,” the student said while he gathered his paint and brush. He headed toward the house.

Sigma Nu’s national board of directors decided to suspend the chapter after a joint investigation with IU. The chapter was suspended because of violated policies set by IU and nationals regarding alcohol and hazing, according to the Sigma Nu national chapter.

All activities and events related to the chapter must stop immediately, and all the current members are required to move out of the house. Both IU and nationals have provided the brothers with on and off-campus living options.

The fraternity has been on a disciplinary status since 2016 for multiple violations, including alcohol, failure to comply and endangerment of others. The chapter had their social and new member activities suspended Sept. 12. 

"Despite the significant efforts of Indiana University staff, Beta Eta alumni leaders and fraternity staff in recent semesters, the Beta Eta chapter failed to implement agreed-upon procedures and plans to ensure compliance with rules and policies during social activities and new member education activities,” Vice Provost for Student Affairs Lori Reesor said. 

The Beta Eta chapter was introduced in 1892, and famous alumni include sportscaster Joe Buck and former IU president and the University’s first chancellor Herman B Wells. 

Sigma Nu is the fourth greek organization on campus to be suspended this year. Delta Delta Delta was suspended by its national headquarters in March, Delta Tau Delta was suspended for hazing in April and Sigma Gamma Rho suspended for hazing in June.

Sigma Nu director of communications Drew Logsdon said that the fraternity is looking to recolonize in three years in order to restore its legacy at IU. 

No members from the Beta Eta chapter could be reached for comment, but members have hung a banner on the house that says in bold, red letters, "Your house is next."

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