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SAE, Pike put on social probation

By Mike Spector | April 11, 2002

In response to an alleged street brawl between members of the Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) and Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternities, the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) Judicial Board convened on March 14 and decided to put both fraternities on social probation, Associate Dean of Students Ralph Johnson and Coordinator of Greek Life Ira Young said. The University will also be doling out disciplinary actions against individuals involved in the incident, on a case by case basis, according to Associate Dean of Students Dorothy Sheppard.

The social probation handed down by the IFC Judicial Board means that neither Pike nor SAE will be allowed to participate in fraternity-sponsored social events, such as parties, formals or picnics, for the rest of the semester. In addition, conditions of the social probation require that members of the two fraternities perform community service and go through mediation and anger management, Johnson and Young said.

Sheppard said possible individual punishments administered by the University could include anything from warnings to community service to anger management classes to suspensions.

"We're still handling the individual cases," she said. "The individuals that were involved, we have actions going against them."

Sheppard also said, "Two students have been processed already," but declined to comment on what punishments were given to them. According to Sheppard, the "regular [University-administered] student judicial board handles the individuals" as opposed to the fraternities. Another student has yet to appear in front of the board, and "there may be some charges against some other students" that could still be filed, she added.

Pike President Brian Nichols did not return telephone messages and SAE President Jonathan Daffron was unavailable for comment.

Young said that in accordance with their social probation, each member of Pike and SAE would have to participate in community service, which Young himself is coordinating. Young said he is still in the process of deciding what that community service will be but said that options under consideration include work related to the Special Olympics and Phantom Toll Booth. Young said that "key members" of each fraternity would participate in mediation and anger management.

"The fact that the decision was to bring both fraternities together...was a positive method of punishment, because Greek unity is important to the campus," said IFC Treasurer Jim Eiszner.

Mediation and anger management are the first and second steps, respectively, of a program that will be administered by a third party, city-run organization. Young would not reveal the name of that organization.

Sheppard described the program as a "conflict mediation program for both groups to attend."

"[The program] will be a one-day thing," said Sheppard. "At the start of next year they will do [the program] again" and "have all the fraternities participate."

If the fraternities or their members fail to meet any of the conditions outlined in the social probation, they will lose their sophomore housing exempt status for the coming academic year, Johnson said. Should that happen, no sophomore would be allowed to live in a fraternity found to be in violation of the probation. Currently, sophomores may waive their University campus housing requirement to live with fraternities that have sophomore housing-exempt status.

Johnson said that the conditions of the social probation would be strictly enforced.

"If two or more fraternity members [are involved in the event]," then it is a violation, said Johnson.

The IFC Judicial Board convened to adjudicate matters relating to an alleged brawl between Pike and SAE that took place in front of Pike on E. 33rd St. on the night of Feb. 21 and into the early morning hours of Feb. 22.

A student, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that at 2 a.m. he saw a mob of about 60 students pushing back and forth on E. 33rd St., and that by 3 a.m. punches were being thrown.

The incident was "juvenile behavior" on the part of everyone involved, said Sheppard. "Behavior like this only weakens the [fraternity] system."

On Jan. 25, University President William Brody announced the formation of a school-wide zero tolerance violence policy. The policy states, in part, that "The University will not tolerate violent acts on its campuses, at off-campus locations administered by the University, or in its programs."

The application of the new policy did not affect how the University or the Board handled disciplinary actions.

"The policy really just states that we address any and all situations that come up, and we did that," said Sheppard.

According to Johnson, the Board heard issues raised by both Pike and SAE, and both sides were given the opportunity to call witnesses. Johnson said that the Board then had to decide who, if anyone, was responsible for the alleged incident and what sanctions to impose.

Johnson said that "after hours, and I do mean hours," the Board found both Pike and SAE culpable and put both fraternities on social probation for the rest of the semester. Johnson also said that the fraternities had been put on social probation immediately after the alleged 33rd St. fight, pending a hearing by the IFC Judicial Board.

"The IFC Judicial Board did a great job in handling both sides of the case," said IFC President and Pike member Chris Jackman.

Said IFC Vice President Jarrod Bernstein: "The IFC proved it can police itself, and that sets an important precedent so the University doesn't have to unilaterally hand out sanctions."

Ten members - one representative from each of the University's 10 fraternities -- make up the IFC Judicial Board.

"Students should be able to educate themselves and sanction themselves and that was accomplished," said IFC Secretary and SAE member Omer Taviloglu. "[This was] the first major case in front of the IFC Judicial Board and the Board handled it. It will be helpful to fraternities in the future."

Eiszner said, "It was nice to see that the Judicial Board has proven itself. A lot of work went into [the document creating the Board] and it's nice to see them stand on their own two feet."

Bernstein, Jackman and Taviloglu all declined to comment on specifics involving the IFC Judicial Board hearing and the levied sanctions.

-Staff writer Cara Gitlin contributed to this report.

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