A member of Sigma Chi Fraternity was expelled from Lehigh after the university concluded its disciplinary hearing today, according to an email sent to members of the community by Provost Pat Farrell.
The student was found responsible for multiple violations of the University Code of Conduct including harassment related to the vandalism of the UMOJA House in November 2013.
Federal law protects the identity of individual students’ conduct outcomes, including one of the two students charged with violating Lehigh’s Code of Conduct.
Sigma Chi fraternity was also charged with several violations of the University Code of Conduct.
The chapter was found responsible for one charge, Respect for Self (A- unauthorized consumption, distribution or possession of alcohol) and was subsequently placed on disciplinary deferred dissolution through Dec. 31, 2014. Sigma Chi will also be on disciplinary probation from Jan. 1, 2014 through May 31, 2015 and is required to be dry through May 31, 2015, Farrell’s email said.
Sigma Chi was not found responsible for other charges including:
Respect for Others (General), Respect for Others (B — Harassment), Respect for Others (E — Interference), Respect of Others (F — Risk of Harm to Others), Respect for Property (A — Vandalism), Respect for Property (E — Gross Disregard for University Property), Respect for Community (A — Providing False Information), Respect for Community (E — Failure to Comply), and Respect for Community (J — Encouraging Others to Violate the Code of Conduct).
Farrell said the charges were related to whether members of Sigma Chi were aware of the vandalism against the UMOJA House, participated in the actions or failed to notify the university about them.
“Lehigh launched extensive investigations by Lehigh University Police, the Office of Student Conduct & Community Expectations, and external fact-finders after the Umoja House incident last November,” Farrell said. “The action to charge Sigma Chi and the two students with violations of the university’s disciplinary code was the result of this lengthy and extensive process that spanned several months and involved interviews with more than 75 individuals.”
Farrell’s email included key facts that led to the outcomes of the hearing. These included that the vandalism of the UMOJA House caused residents to fear for their safety. The incident also negatively impacted the campus climate that is meant to be welcoming to all members of the Lehigh community, he said.
Farrell stated that it was found that only one student participated in the vandalism of the UMOJA House, unbeknownst to other members of the fraternity. He added that the eggs and tomatoes used in the vandalism were taken from the Sigma Chi chapter refrigerator, which is located near where the responsible individual was found.
His email also noted that the individual responsible for the incident was found intoxicated and was outside when the incident occurred, and that the leadership of Sigma Chi — excluding the individual found responsible — was forthright and cooperated with the investigation.
Farrell added that Sigma Chi accepted responsibility for providing alcohol to minors at an off-campus party on Nov. 5, 2013, which led to Sigma Chi being found responsible for the charge of Respect for Self (A — unauthorized consumption, distribution or possession of alcohol).
The fraternity and individuals are able to appeal the sanctions within three business days of receiving the hearing officer’s outcome letter.
Farrell said Lehigh imposed the “preponderance of evidence” standard during the conduct process. This standard is used in situations where it is believed that once all the information for a case is presented, there is a greater than 50 percent chance that the student or organization involved in the case violated the Code of Conduct.
Story by Brown and White news writer Danielle DiStefano, ’16.