Sigma Chi actions debated

By Greg Rivara

The Student Association Senate passed a resolution and sanctions Sunday against the Sigma Chi fraternity in response to a skit considered by some audience members to be racist.

The skit was performed on Nov. 20 at the Jungle, 1027 Hillcrest Drive, during a philanthropic fundraiser by the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority.

SA Vice President Gregg Bliss wrote the resolution and sanctions which were approved by the senate after minor changes. The resolution states the senate “… condemns the actions and insensitivity of the Sigma Chi fraternity and will impose the harshest sanctions allowable in accordance with the SA Constitution and Bylaws in order to maintain the inherent right of minority students to be free from irresponsible slander and thoughtless actions that adversely affect their standing as NIU students.”

The SA suspended the “resources and services” available to Sigma Chi for the year-long duration of suspension already imposed by the university. Exceptions are: Sigma Chi is permitted to use any SA resources and services to promote and coordinate educational functions as mandated in the fraternity’s university sanctions; the SA Standards Committee will be notified in writing by Sigma Chi when the SA resources and services are needed; and any subsequent infraction of the SA Constitution and Bylaws by Sigma Chi will result in the withdrawl of SA recognition.

The resolution and sanctions came after a three-hour debate on a motion by Sen. Regina Hudson to remove Sigma Chi’s SA recognition for the duration of the university sanctions.

Hudson’s motion was amended by a majority vote of the senate after she refused several friendly amendments to her motion. Hudson’s motion was later defeated by a vote of 26 to 5, with 14 senators abstaining.

After Hudson’s motion failed, SA Minority Relations Adviser Morenike Cheatom told the senate, “… if this is the message you’re sending out you better be able to defend it.”

Bliss told the senate he wrote the resolution and sanctions because “there is no justifiable means to pull (Sigma Chi’s) recognition according to the bylaws.” However, Bliss went on to say that “the SA gives recognition and the SA can take it away.”

Bliss, who denounced the Sigma Chi skit, said that if Hudson’s motion had passed, he would have taken the motion to the SA Supreme Court because there is “no just or legal cause” to take away Sigma Chi’s recognition according to the SA Constitution and Bylaws.

About 20 members of the Sigma Chi fraternity were present during the standing room only senate meeting in which Sigma Chi members used audio and visual tape recorders to record senate proceedings. Other SA senators showed support for the fraternity by wearing sweatshirts bearing the fraternity’s greek letters.