More Challenges For Sigma Theta Chi
By: Marco Rodriguez
Sigma Theta Chi, one of Kean University’s most well-known fraternities, is having a difficult 2014.
The fraternity, which made headlines earlier this year after hosting an off campus party that resulted in a student getting shot, has been suspended for violating Greek New Member Education Guidelines.
Scott Snowden, Director of the Center for Leadership and Service, said the fraternity was investigated for violating the New Member Education Guidelines in January and early February of this year. Upon completion of the investigation and appeal process, the organization was sanctioned in March with a suspension, fines, and community service. The suspension is set to conclude in May 2015, but the group is up for review in December to determine their reinstatement.
The March suspension occurred a month earlier to the off campus incident where Hillside resident, Shaquan Landrum, opened fire on the fraternity’s home on Conant Street in Hillside. According to a CBSNewYork.com report, Landrum is being charged with four counts of attempted murder and is facing weapons charges.
A CBSNews report, featured on YouTube, showed that the fraternity’s house had been shut down by the local fire department after the shooting, when it was discovered that more people were living in it than originally agreed to with the landlord.
While the suspension for violating the New Member Education Guidelines and the shooting incident are unrelated, both speak to the troubled year the fraternity’s been having. Although it was determined last semester, the fraternity is now feeling the effects of their yearlong suspension.
“When organizations violate Greek life policies and procedures, sanctions need to be placed on them,” said Alex Louis, Assistant Director for Greek Affairs. “The New Member Education Guidelines govern Greek recruitment at Kean, and we take them very seriously.”
Neither Snowden or Louis commented on what the specific charge against the fraternity was, but Snowden did say that violating New Member Education Guidelines could range from handing in potential new member forms in late, to hazing. While on suspension, the group is not permitted to recruit new members, or participate in University-wide events like Kean Day, Homecoming, and Greek Olympics. Furthermore, the fraternity must continue to pay Greek Senate dues, are banned from voting in Greek Senate meetings, and must participate in mandatory educational workshops as well as community service projects.
“The entire organizational conduct process is meant to be an educational and restorative process,” Snowden said. “The fraternity will have the opportunity to present itself before a panel in December to present its corrective measures, and discuss how it has benefited the Kean University student community and how it will continue to benefit the campus community moving forward.”
Sigma Theta Chi’s president, Michael Rosche, sent a statement to The Tower, in which he expressed remorse over the incidents involving his fraternity.
“We can say, as a brotherhood, that this has been one of the hardest times we have had to face in recent memory,” Rosche said. “We have taken these challenges as an opportunity to show our commitment to each other, our community, and the student body as a whole. Our goal as a fraternity is to gain back the trust of the University and show our positive impact in the community.”
Through food drives, cancer walks, campus clean ups, and other charity events, the fraternity is seeking to turn things around and make things right.
“This is just another chapter is our organizations 77 year history,” Rosche said. “We would like to make a positive ending to this chapter and move forward as a brotherhood.”
If anything positive can be taken from the incidents this year, it’s that it has been a learning experience for everyone on campus.
“The one thing that I take away from all of this is that groups are paying more attention to what they’re doing,” Louis said. “We have a close and united Greek life at Kean, so when one group gets into trouble everyone else knows about it. We hope that the group has learned from their mistakes and, together, we can move forward from this.”