IFC might put off fraternity sanction

By Tammy Sholer

The Interfraternity Council probably will not sanction Sigma Chi fraternity until next semester if the council believes punishment other than from the university is needed for an allegedly racist skit last week.

Jon Dalton, vice president for student affairs, said the IFC can take actions additional to NIU’s, such as expelling the fraternity from the IFC. He said NIU took action on the incident before the IFC because “clear and immediate action needed to be taken.”

Jeff Cufaude, activities adviser for University Programming and Activities, said the IFC passed a resolution condemning the Nov. 20 actions of the Sigma Chi fraternity at the last IFC meeting Nov. 22.

After the university’s sanctions are in writing, the IFC will review NIU’s sanctions and determine if further action needs to be taken, Cufaude said.

NIU can sanction a fraternity because greek organizations are university-recognized, Dalton said. Greek chapters also are Student Association-recognized, and if the SA pulls Sig Chi’s recognition it automatically will not be recognized by the IFC, he said.

IFC President Tom Zur was unable to be reached for comment Monday.

On the afternoon of Nov. 28, NIU suspended Sig Chi for one year because five members performed a “blackface” skit at the Jungle, 1027 W. Hillcrest Drive. The skit was part of a philanthropic fundraiser and was said by some audience members to be offensive.

Suspension means Sig Chi will “cease to be a fraternity for one year,” Dalton said. The fraternity cannot participate in social functions, including rush and intramural activities, he said.

“A number of educational activities will take place during the suspension, (including) race relations and appreciating differences of others,” Dalton said.

Dalton said, “Some will feel the suspension is too much and other will feel it is not enough (punishment).” He said he believes the sanctions are serious to reflect the serious conduct in which five fraternity members engaged.

Sig Chi’s national organization wanted the fraternity to be put on probation for a period of time, but cooperated with Dalton’s suspension decision, he said.

Cufaude said he believes Dalton took actions he felt were strong so that other organizations realize this type of conduct will not be tolerated.

He said the suspension will help the fraternity to reorganize and focus more attention to issues that surround racial discrimination.

Dalton stressed it is NIU’s responsibility to make the university’s social climate positive for minority students.