CARBONDALE — Two prominent Greek organizations at Southern Illinois University Carbondale have been suspended after investigations spanning several months uncovered years of hazing incidents including sexual and mental humiliation, paddle beatings, forced servitude, consumption of animals and mental degradation.
Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity has been suspended for four years and Sigma Kappa sorority, the university’s largest sorority with over 60 members, has been suspended until August 2021 after it was revealed fraternity affiliates were hazed, and in some instances, in coordination with the organizations’ leadership.
Four other fraternities were also involved in coordinating hazing with Sigma Kappa — amounting to the hazing of over 100 men in SIU’s fraternity community, according to an internal November 2019 email.
The university gave disciplinary immunity to fraternities that came forward with information regarding the hazing incidents, according to university officials. Their testimony will be used in future anti-hazing programming for the Greek community at the university.
Jennifer Jones-Hall, SIU Carbondale’s dean of students, sent the email detailing allegations into the incidents to Rae Goldsmith, SIU spokeswoman; Lori Stettler, vice chancellor of student affairs; and Matt Baughman, SIU chief of staff. The email was one of over 200 pages of investigation notes, interviews and statements related to the incidents obtained through the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Paddles, pillowcases and goldfish
A whistleblower, whose name is redacted in university investigation records, emailed the SIU Office of Greek Life on Nov. 1 alleging hazing occurred within the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. After receiving the allegations against the fraternity, Jones-Hall and Rachel Dunning, assistant director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, launched an investigation into the claims and the fraternity was placed on interim suspension as part of university protocol.
Multiple collegiate members of the fraternity and 12 fraternity associate members — men looking for membership in the fraternity, colloquially known as pledges — were interviewed as part of the university’s investigation, according to investigation records.
Jones-Hall said in a November 2019 email to university officials that after interviewing students involved, she was concerned with details of forced drinking and servitude, consumption of animals, paddle beatings, line-ups and mental humiliation and degradation.
“The behaviors of what they did to over 100 men in our fraternity community are degrading, embarrassing, humiliating and meet the definition of hazing,” Jones-Hall wrote. A four-month-long university investigation, which was conducted between November 2019 and March 2020, found claims against the fraternity to be truthful.
Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, which is made up of roughly 25 men, had pledges perform a variety of tasks ranging from drinking live goldfish submerged in vodka to forcing pledges to clean the fraternity house, according to investigation documents. The fraternity originally denied the hazing allegations in an interview with university officials.
"Anytime the associate members were at the house, they were required to clean the house,” the whistleblower told Jones-Hall during a Nov. 8 meeting, according to investigation notes. “The associates cleaned by themselves and the only time actives and our alumni cleaned the house was over Homecoming weekend.”
The whistleblower said associate members were required to stay at the house if they did not have class or work during initiation week — known among members as “I” week. He further details events surrounding a September 2019 “Dad’s Night” event — an event in which associate members find out who their fraternity “dad,” or fraternity mentor, will be.
A fraternity member held up a goldfish and bottle of vodka for everyone to see while the Phi Sigma Kappa flag hung in the background during the event, according to his testimony. Individuals were then “given a goldfish in a cup of vodka and told to drink.”
The same night, pledges were handed a paddle and required to receive a set of signatures on it. After the pledges had completed the task, they were seated in a desk chair with a boxing glove placed on one of their hands, given a shot to drink, spun around, and required to punch another pledge with the gloved hand.
If a pledge’s paddle was taken by an active member at any point during the “Dad’s Night” event, “they were paddled with the paddle and forced to chug a beer or drink a shot of alcohol,” according to testimony given to university officials.
At the end of the night, pledges were blindfolded with bandanas or had pillowcases placed over their heads, obscuring their vision. They then were put in fraternity members’ cars and were told they were going to a strip club. Instead, they were driven to a Sigma Kappa sorority member’s residence for further hazing, according to a university investigation summary.
In the midst of a university investigation of Phi Sigma Kappa, investigations were launched into the Gamma Kappa chapter of Sigma Kappa sorority. The investigations, conducted by both SIU and the sorority’s national headquarters, identified eight women who were involved in Phi Sigma Kappa’s “Dad’s Night.”
When the men affiliated with Phi Sigma Kappa, including their pledges, arrived at a sorority member's townhouse, “most” of the men were drunk and some could not participate because “they were passed out from alcohol,” one sorority member told university officials.
The event typically starts out with the fraternity’s prospective members singing to sorority members, typically songs “about greek life” or renditions of pop songs, according to testimonies given to university officials by fraternity members who were involved in the serenades.
Sorority members then asked the fraternity men a series of approximately 10 questions, “always very dirty in nature,” sorority members told university investigators and national headquarters officials in a Dec. 3 meeting, according to investigation records.
The questions ranged in topic — some innocent in nature, but others including, in part: “If your penis was an animal what would it be called and why?; What is your favorite sex position and demonstrate it on your pledge brother?; Why do you love your Mom?,” according to the university’s investigation summary.
Fraternity pledges were then asked to perform lap dances on sorority members and then were “told to go into the bathroom, strip down to their underwear, line up by penis size (and) do a bunny hop around the room while chanting ‘stick it in my butt,’” according to investigation records.
Some of the Sigma Kappa women present at the event said they did not actually measure the size of the men’s penises, according to investigation notes, but “took their word for it.” Multiple sorority members told university investigators the tradition of serenades has “been going on for years” and “no one told them to stop.”
‘Shock’ and lies
The women told university officials the serenades were not an isolated event — five fraternities had reached out to Sigma Kappa during the 2019-2020 academic year to ask them to host similar events. The sorority said yes to “serenading” three fraternities and no to two because the requests occurred during the time the university was conducting its investigation.
Multiple sorority members’ initial testimonies to Jones-Hall and Dunning were later found to not match testimony given in a Dec. 3 meeting with representatives from SIU Students Rights and Responsibilities and Jordan Feldhaus, Sigma Kappa national representative, according to the investigation timeline.
Initial testimony from the sorority women stated the Phi Sigma Kappa men were not drinking and the only sorority members drinking wine were of age. They did not originally recall the date of the event and claimed no paddles were present. One member interviewed said she only remember one question asked — ”For your dream date, where would you go?” When one member was asked about the allegations, she said “nothing out of the ordinary” happened that evening.
The testimony they gave in the Dec. 3 meeting clarified the “Dad’s Night” occurred on Sept. 26 around 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. because “it was dark outside.” The pledges were blindfolded or had pillowcases over their heads when they arrived.
Out of the 25 Phi Sigma Kappa-affiliated men in attendance, “most” were drunk and “several were very visibly drunk,” but those who were visibly drunk were asked to leave the townhouse. “A couple fraternity members did leave or stepped outside of the townhouse,” one sorority member told investigators.
A Sigma Kappa affiliate had a paddle, but “she didn’t use it” and the members stated she was “joking around” with the paddle, according to Dec. 3 testimony notes. The women said the stripping and lining up by penis size happened before with other fraternities and stated it had happened even before they joined the organization.
The women’s justification for the “lying” to Jones-Hall and Dunning during the initial inquiry was that “most of the members stated they were concerned about the school” and mentioned fraternity members told them “to be vague in their answers and they would get by,” according to investigation notes.
After the Sigma Kappa members went to their chapter adviser, Jennifer Stillman, for advice, she told the members “they were facing expulsion” from the school and they couldn’t talk to her about the situation, according to the university investigation.
Stillman was not aware of the nature of the events, according to notes from a Dec. 3 meeting between Sigma Kappa Sorority members and SIU Student Rights and Responsibilities. The Sigma Kappa president at the time, “told her everything that happened” after the sorority received notice of the investigation.
“Jen (Stillman) was in shock and wasn’t aware of anything else at the serenade other than singing,” one sorority member told university investigators during her testimony.
Stillman said, through an emailed statement sent by Diane Freeland, Sigma Kappa’s national senior director of communications, “serenading or singing to another chapter” has been common practice at SIU for many years, so the references of the serenades did not seem out of the ordinary. “Unfortunately, I was unaware of how this interpretation had evolved,” she said.
When she found out about what Sigma Kappa’s serenades entailed, Stillman said she was “concerned for the physical and mental wellbeing and safety of the students involved.”
When university investigators asked Sigma Kappa members why fraternity men were asking them to do the serenades, the women replied “guys asked them because it was fun,” according to investigation documents.
“It happens at other institutions,” sorority members said, according to investigation notes. “They want to support the fraternities. The fraternities get upset if the ladies don't show up to the serenades.”
Sigma Kappa members said the sorority typically receives the most requests of serenades in the fall semester “but there are two or three in the spring” and “they typically have much fewer men,” according to investigation records.
Jones-Hall said, through an emailed statement, that between the university’s “extensive” investigation and fraternity men coming forward, it was found over 100 men on campus were impacted by the hazing incidents while noting “in some cases, the serenades were just that, singing, but in other cases, there was hazing that occurred.”
“This was something that my office and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life were surprised to hear,” Jones-Hall said. “Serenades — actually singing fraternity or sorority songs — takes place on many campuses I have worked on, but the behavior associated with the serenades is something I have not seen or heard about until this investigation.”
When the sorority members who were interviewed by the university were asked if they understood why their actions were wrong, they responded: “We do now. But everyone did it before us. We became desensitized to the event.”
Phi Sigma Kappa’s ‘demise’
Matthew Gregory, president of the Southern Illinois Alumni Club of Phi Sigma Kappa, spoke out about the potential retaliation toward the fraternity in a November 2019 email to Dunning, assistant director of SIU Fraternity and Sorority Life. Gregory, who also works as the dean of students at Texas Tech University, said he had heard about an “inkling” of an “indefinite suspension” for the fraternity.
“I know some institutions are shifting in that direction for egregious hazing resulting in death(s), incapacitation, hospitalization, etc,” Gregory wrote. “Has this become a standard of practice at Southern for any form of hazing versus a time limited separation?”
He said the Phi Sigma Kappa’s national headquarters were “absolutely furious” to hear about the chapter’s “demise” and further notes the national headquarters were about to sign a $600,000 capital campaign to build a new chapter house in Carbondale.
“Our collective hearts are broken,” Gregory said in the email. “There is absolutely no place for hazing in today's fraternity. If the 'indefinite' part of the sanction is flexible, we as alumni would be more than happy to enter into a permanent alumni receivership upon the chapter's eventual return.”
In emails among Jones-Hall and university administrators, she shared disagreements with some of the sentiments Gregory expressed in his email.
“We are NOT doing what other institutions are doing across the country by suspending the whole Fraternity and Sorority Life community. We are doing what is needed to protect our students,” Jones-Hall said in a Nov. 22 email. “I will not wait until we have a death, incapacitation, and/or hospitalization to suspend a fraternity and/or sorority.”
Gregory said in a June 12 interview that he and other Phi Sigma Kappa alumni had spoken against hazing multiple times to the local fraternity leadership, even before the allegations of hazing had surfaced, and added the fraternity’s alumni group has an “emotional and personal connection” in belonging to the organization and to lose the chapter “hurt” the alumni.
Gregory said there were plans set “to ensure the success of the chapter going forward” including “growth, education, positive relationships with the alumni and networking for future careers.”
“We were hurt when we learned of the allegations from the university. We wanted accountability as much as the university did,” Gregory said. “We, as an alumni club, recognize that hazing does nothing to improve a chapter or build young men or create a positive brotherhood within the fraternity.”
The fraternity’s national headquarters staff held a phone meeting with Jones-Hall and Dunning on Nov. 25. The national staff asked the university to have more time to investigate the claims and asked them to extend the interim suspension until January 2020, according to the university’s investigation summary.
A member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity at SIU admitted to university officials in late January that the fraternity had hazed associate members and later took them to a Sigma Kappa member’s residence to be hazed, according to records. Tyler Coakley, president of the Kappa Tetarton chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa, declined to comment about the allegations after multiple requests through emails and social media.
In attempts to lessen the severity of sanctions against the fraternity, Phi Sigma Kappa national headquarters recommended the implementation of a “brotherhood contract,” outlining chapter expectations and an alumni remediation plan that included suggestions on the pledging processes. Despite the attempts, the fraternity was placed on a four-year suspension after a review by the university.
"I found the egregious nature of this incident and the organization leadership’s full knowledge of their actions were against university policy, I see no option other than to suspend the organization from the university,” Brian Beccue, SIU director of Student Rights and Responsibilities, opined in Phi Sigma Kappa’s suspension recommendation.
He said he appreciates the national organization’s development of a remediation plan and Chapter Brotherhood Contract, but emphasized, “it was stated during the conference that a majority of the organization members had knowledge of the appalling acts of hazing that took place before and during the Sigma Kappa ‘serenade.’”
Beccue noted the actions “were deemed to be acceptable by organization leadership” and added that it was only when the fraternity made the choice to not confirm one of the associate members did they realize the organization “would get in trouble for those actions.”
Redacted testimony by fraternity members and pledges detailed in investigation notes claimed the whistleblower was dropped as a pledge “because he was not living up to the values of the fraternity of brotherhood, scholarship and character.” They claimed he was “inappropriate with women, pulled a knife on another new member from his hometown and was not fitting in with other new members” and the whistleblower was trying to “get back” at the chapter.
The sanctions given to the fraternity are “consistent with the sanctions issued to another Greek-letter organization that had severe hazing violations” in the university's past, Lori Stettler, SIU vice chancellor for student affairs, said in a Jan. 28 email to interim Carbondale Chancellor John Dunn.
The SIU chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa’s charter was previously suspended in 1998 for “not meeting the standards of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity,” according to a September 1998 article in The Daily Egyptian, SIU’s student newspaper.
Daniel Kobren, associate director of communication at Phi Sigma Kappa national headquarters, declined to comment for this story.
‘Years’ of hazing
During their investigation into claims against the sorority, Sigma Kappa national headquarters found the hazing “has been occurring within this chapter for a number of years,” Meaghan Miller Thul, Sigma Kappa national vice president for collegiate chapters, said in a Dec. 5 email to Jones-Hall.
“We have also learned that this was part of a culture where our members did not understand the depth of their actions in a Greek-wide culture of serenades,” Miller Thul wrote.
Sigma Kappa national headquarters, through Miller Thul, suggested a reduced sanction on the organization until 2021, according to a Dec. 5 email to Jones-Hall.
Suggested sanctions from the national headquarters included restrictions on holding events with fraternity men and alcohol, hosting an educational anti-hazing workshop, creating a campus-wide hazing awareness program paid for by Sigma Kappa and internal operational changes and self-sanctions — including replacing the sorority’s adviser with a non-Sigma Kappa member.
Additionally, the national headquarters also agreed to pay for in-person staff support for the chapter “immediately” on a one-week-per-month basis during the probation period.
In attempts to rectify the findings against the sorority, the Gamma Kappa chapter of Sigma Kappa’s new executive council along with the national council moved to expel the eight women involved in the September incident from the sorority, according to an email sent from Sigma Kappa headquarters on Jan. 1, obtained through a public records request.
Beccue, the director of SIU’s Student Rights and Responsibilities office, dissented from the national headquarters’ sanction recommendation and found Sigma Kappa responsible for complicity, harassment and hazing. He further recommended placing the sorority on a three-year suspension, according to a Jan. 16 statement to the sorority.
“Given the nature of this incident and the organization's involvement in this matter, I see no option other than to suspend the organization from the university,” Beccue said of the sorority’s recommendation. He added it was found that a majority of the organization’s members had knowledge about the “egregious” actions that took place during serenades, and “the actions were deemed to be acceptable due to the event and related actions happening for many years.”
Beccue said his office also found multiple members of sorority leadership were present and participated in the hazing, including the president of the organization. The Southern reached out by email to the 21 Sigma Kappa chapter officers and only two responded.
“I have recently graduated from SIU in May and I am no longer affiliated with the Sigma Kappa chapter at SIU,” said Reise Malone, sorority president, through an emailed statement.
Morgan Smith, the ritual chair for the sorority, said the topic wasn’t something the sorority wanted to discuss. “This is not something I nor any of the other Sigma Kappa members are willing to discuss at this time,” she wrote in an emailed statement.
When asked about the hazing at SIU, Freeland said through an emailed statement that the sorority “does not tolerate harassment, hazing, or bullying of any kind and prohibits any activity that endangers the mental or physical health of a person.” She said sorority members are educated on expectations for membership and each individual has the personal responsibility to follow laws, rules and regulations.
“The members involved with this incident were expelled by the chapter in December 2019, and Sigma Kappa has been working with Southern Illinois University since the initial report to address this incident and to prevent future occurrences,” Freeland wrote.
A sorority’s appeal
Members of the sorority appealed the university's recommendation of a three-year suspension in mid-January, claiming there were procedural errors, new evidence, and that the sanctions imposed were disproportionate to the violation, according to their appeal letter.
Lori Stettler, the vice chancellor of student affairs, is responsible for the interpretation of the student conduct code and for “ensuring the application and administration” of the code, according to SIU policy.
A series of eight letters written by sorority members were submitted with the appeal. They wrote about their positive experiences while in the sorority and denounced the group’s "serenades.” A member claimed the hazing was an isolated incident, while another said she was "shocked, confused, and scared" to learn about the hazing.
According to multiple fraternity testimonies, Sigma Kappa members followed a similar script during other serenades: inviting fraternities over to their house, having prospective members sing them songs, participating in a question-and-answer portion and finishing with the bunny hop — all while stripped down to their underwear and lined up by penis size.
Stettler said she began investigating the allegations against the sorority after receiving the appeal to “determine for (herself), based on fact and not on rumor, whether this was a cultural problem that permeated the entire sorority or (if) this was an isolated event that a small group did.” Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“I’ve been spending my time making sure we’re taking care of students who have serious financial, social, emotional, medical, academic emergencies,” Stettler said in a June 2 interview when asked about the adjudication delay in the sorority’s appeal. “All of those kind of pieces have consumed my world since before spring break.”
The SIU Student Code of Conduct states appeals will be “addressed in the most reasonable time frame possible following the submission of the appeal” and outcomes are “generally” rendered within five days, but it does not have to be, according to the code.
Miller Thul, the Sigma Kappa National vice president for collegiate chapters, sent an April 24 email, obtained by The Southern, telling the sorority collegiate members and alumnae that they would “return to chapter operation virtually effective immediately,” despite not being recognized by the university.
“While we are disappointed that the university has failed to respond to Gamma Kappa’s appeal from the suspension of the chapter dated January 17, 2020, it is important that our chapter members have a plan and a status with which to move forward,” Miller Thul wrote.
She added that “after repeated efforts to partner with and obtain a response from the University,” the national council voted to keep the sorority chapter active at SIU under their recommended probation while “acknowledging that the chapter may continue to be suspended by the university through 2023.”
"This is not the way forward the national organization wanted for our Gamma Kappa members, but at this time, we feel it is our best option," Miller Thul wrote in part. “We believe this is the best way forward for our Gamma Kappa Chapter and look forward to working together as a team to rebuild our sisterhood with the values of Sigma Kappa at the heart of all we do.”
Stettler said she was “disappointed that rather than picking up the phone and having another conversation” with her, “one member from the national organization went out and made this statement.”
Emails released to The Southern show Sigma Kappa's national council, collegiate district director, director of collegiate services, director of risk management, advisory board, residence coordinators, entity executive directors and sorority staff were all aware of the decision to defy the university’s suspension.
Miller Thul said, in a June 15 statement emailed through Freeland, the sorority “began working intensely with (the) chapter immediately upon learning about the serenades to craft a plan to both hold members accountable and to work to change the culture within the chapter and within the Fraternity/Sorority community at SIU.”
She said the plans presented were “robust, developmental and educationally focused” and the sorority’s national organization hoped to “begin the work on culture change immediately,” but with the delayed response from the university, sorority members were “in limbo with no path forward and no ability to engage in guided growth.”
“Because Sigma Kappa had no clear indication of when an answer to the appeal would be issued, we felt it was important to move forward with action for education, growth and culture change,” Miller Thul wrote.
The university, on behalf of Stettler, on June 8 sent the sorority her decision to suspend the sorority through August 2021. The sorority was found to be responsible for general misconduct, complacency, harassment and hazing, according to the notice.
To be able to return to campus, the sorority must set up a recolonization plan; hold meetings with university leadership; develop a risk management committee; meet with a member of the sorority’s national staff one week per month during the length of the suspension; host a national speaker on hazing prevention; and hold a leadership retreat for its members.
When asked about the reason behind reducing the sorority’s recommended sanctions from the sanctions recommended by SIU’s Student Rights and Responsibilities Office, Stettler said through an emailed statement that it was in part due to the educational components of the sanction.
“The decision to reduce the suspension from 36 months to 20 months was made in conjunction with a list of mandatory educational sanctions designed to help the organization return to the values and sense of character that the sorority was founded upon,” Stettler said. “I personally believe that as an educational institution, we have an obligation to use these types of situations to assist our students in growing as human beings as well as learning from their mistakes.”
The Sigma Kappa sorority previously has won a multitude of awards from the university, including the 2018 Outstanding Academic Programming Award, the 2018 Philanthropy Event of the Year Award for the sorority’s annual Ultra Violet Gala for Alzheimer's Disease and the 2018 College Panhellenic Association Outstanding Overall Sorority Chapter.
Stettler said the decision to suspend the organizations is not based on any amount of achievements or money raised, adding the “decision is based on the actions and the violation of the policy.” She said she has not, as of Friday, received a formal response from the sorority in regards to the sanctions placed by the university.
Hazing incidents such as the one involving Sigma Kappa sorority and Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity are not new at SIU. In one instance, the university moved to suspend a fraternity for five years after failing to register a social event, according to a 2007 report by the Daily Egyptian.
An attempt to combat hazing
There have been measures taken in attempts to stop hazing within the Greek community, such as mandatory online harassment and consent courses and providing university-wide anti-hazing programming. Greek organizations are also required to file a signed statement of their understanding of university policies, Illinois laws, and their Greek-letter organization’s policies regarding hazing each semester.
Sigma Kappa sorority members testified to the university they typically receive hazing training during New Member 101, according to investigation records. However, several new members testified they did not receive the training during the 2019-2020 new member training, according to investigation notes.
As of December 2019, 43 out of the 62 members of Sigma Kappa sorority and 17 of Phi Sigma Kappa’s 25 members had completed the online education on Sexual Harassment, Consent and Respect training required by the university, according to the investigation notes.
Sigma Kappa sorority members, whose names were redacted in the university’s investigation, said they received training last year from members who had previously received sanctions related to hazing during a sorority event.
Stillman said she believes “the Gamma Kappa chapter is so much more than the behavior that was displayed by a select few members.”
“The chapter owes it to the university, their community, and their National Organization to live by their values and showcase the positive attributes that Greek-letter organizations offer,” she said. “Leading by example is what I expect, anything less is a valuable opportunity to inspire change and growth.”
Speaking out against hazing
Incidents such as those involving Sigma Kappa sorority and Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity occur based on perceived experiences, according to Norm Pollard, retired dean of students at the New York-based Alfred University. He has also served as a Title IX investigator and is an advisory group member of the National Collaborative for Hazing Research and Prevention.
By the time students have gotten to college, there is a good chance they have already been hazed at some point in their lives, according to Pollard. “The behavior does not start at college — this is not a fraternity or sorority thing,” he said.
Pollard said sororities such as Sigma Kappa may not originally condone hazing, but it takes one individual to begin to change an organization’s culture. “You can get a new member who brings an experience which deviates from the values or principles of the Greek letter organization and make up their own stuff to try to give their own sort of twist — their own sense of value — to joining that organization,” he said.
While events such as National Hazing Prevention Week raise awareness to the issue of hazing, they do not change the culture behind it, Pollard said. He believes organizations can instill those values by working with groups to help find belonging without resorting to harmful behavior by making anti-hazing an instilled value.
Gregory said hazing is “an organizational and cultural issue that has stood the test of time and has persisted” even through new membership, chapter turnover and leadership, new university administration and new alumni — yet the “culture of hazing persists.” He said finding ways to prevent hazing is more than annual or semester education, checking boxes or legislation.
In order to change the culture of hazing, everyone has to “recognize the detrimental effects of hazing” and reach an agreement that there will be a cultural change in the perception of hazing, Gregory said. Organizations must “do what each of us can do to ensure it doesn’t happen because we know it does not help our organizations, it does not help the individuals involved and there’s no place for it,” he said.
Gregory said he hopes the men involved learn “there is no place in fraternal life, now or going forward or even 20 years ago, for hazing,” and “(hazing) tears people down more than it builds people up. It creates resentment more than it creates satisfaction and confidence.”
Administrators at SIU have also spoken out against hazing on the university’s campus. John Dunn, interim chancellor at SIU Carbondale, said through an emailed statement that “hazing is not acceptable” on the university’s campus and hopes those involved learn from the sanctions.
“We expect students to treat their peers with respect and dignity. We have a process for addressing hazing incidents that allow individuals and organizations to appeal sanctions if they choose, and we consider sanctions based upon the individual facts associated with each case,” Dunn wrote.
He adds the university’s “approach to hazing sanctions has evolved over time, as it has at many institutions,” and the school’s goal is to hold students accountable while helping them learn from the experience through education.
Stettler shared similar sentiments with Dunn and said institutions can change the culture surrounding hazing “by changing expectations and by holding people accountable,” while at the university level, pushing an attempt to “be stronger” on the educational aspects of hazing.
She said the university plans to continue working with their policies and procedures to make sure students understand behavioral expectations “whether you’re in Greek life or not” and what the consequences are when students choose to not follow them.
“Saying nothing says something,” Stettler said. “If you join a sorority or fraternity, you join because you match up with their values and I believe that it’s a privilege to be part of that organization and you have a responsibility, then, to hold each other accountable.”
On Twitter: @brianmmunoz
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