Suspension result of Sigma Chi skit

By Stephanie Bradley

Sigma Chi fraternity was suspended for one year yesterday after a meeting between Sig Chi representatives and Jon Dalton, NIU vice president for student affairs.

The sanctions were issued at a meeting between Dalton, Sig Chi President Bram Hornstein, the attorney and representative for undergraduate services from the Sig Chi national chapter, and Jeff Cufaude, activities adviser for University Programming and Activities.

Dalton said Sig Chi will not be able to function as a fraternity, which means it cannot hold rush, participate in intramural sports or any social activities as a result of a skit the fraternity performed at a sorority fundraiser Nov. 20.

The skit involved five fraternity members who performed a lip sync in blackface to the Temptations song, “My Girl.” The skit, performed at the Jungle, 1027 W. Hillcrest Drive, was viewed as racially and sexually derogatory by some people.

Hornstein said Sig Chi is starting an expulsion process for the five members, but “it’s not an overnight process.”

“We came to the decision that (the sanctions are) the best and most reasonable punishment. The case is over. We’ll abide by the sanctions,” Hornstein said. About thirty Sig Chi members will graduate by May 1989, which he said will hurt the house. However, “I think we will be able to come back,” he said.

Dalton said he does not believe the sanctions were unprecedented. “Fraternities have been suspended before for conduct which we felt broke conduct rules,” he said. “There isn’t a clear-cut set of procedures that outlines in great detail (these situations). NIU takes part in chartering organizations, and has influence in that area,” Dalton said.

If the Student Association removes Sig Chi’s recognition, the Interfraternity Council also will be forced to remove recognition from Sig Chi, Dalton said. One of the criteria for being in the IFC is that the organization also must be SA recognized.

Dalton said “a clear and immediate action needed to be taken.” Issuing the sanctions will help the SA and IFC to know what action to take, he said.

An advisory committee composed of a minority faculty member, a female faculty member, a UP&A representative and three local Sig Chi alumni will oversee the fraternity during its suspension, Dalton said. The committee will assess the house’s educational programs, he said.

Hornstein said Sig Chi will be responsible for bringing speakers to NIU to talk to faternity members six times a semester. Speakers also will talk to the NIU community, in general, about sexual and substance abuse and racial insensitivity.

Dalton said the fraternity “recognizes the seriousness of conduct and is seeking to cooperate to rectify the problem.”

However, Dalton said the fraternity suggested probation, which he believed was insufficient. He said NIU had to send a clear message that what the fraternity did was not appropriate.