Fines levied against 13 NIU greeks

By Joelle McGinnis

Fourteen Sigma Pi fraternity pledges and active members were arrested Saturday and charged with public intoxication and possession of open alcoholic beverages under the legal age in Johnson County, Iowa.

Donald Bezek, Jr., Frank J. Calabrese, Michael R. Carli, Pete B. Contos, Shane L. Crawford, Michael P. Dillion, Michael J. Hanline, Daniel P. Moran, Mark V. Reinwald, Reese Stobart and Jeffrey C. Wagner were charged on both counts and Justin P. Ball, John P. Graham and Joel Gregoire were charged with public intoxication only, the Johnson County Magistrate division reports said.

Police reports state the Coralville Police were notified of a vandalism complaint and a U-Haul van carrying the Sigma Pi pledges and members was pulled over near the I-80 exit.

Several beer kegs, a trash barrel and a drinking fountain from a rest area were found in the back of the U-Haul, police reported.

The Sigma Pi pledges and members were held overnight in jail, pleaded guilty to the charges filed Sunday and fined for a simple misdemeanor. Fines were applied according to individual charges and ranged from $48.75 to $103, Magistrate Division reports state.

Magistrate division reports state none of the members paid the fines, but all were released with time allowed to pay.

NIU Greek Adviser Jeff Cufaude said Wednesday he had not been informed of the incident.

Cufaude said he could not comment at the time whether any action would be taken against the members as a result of the incident.

“Within the Panhelenic and Interfraternity Council there are judicial boards to deal with conduct or behavior. There are mechanisms to take sanctions against fraternity and sorority members if necessary,” he said.

Cufaude said he would definitely look into the incident and be able to offer more information after spring break.

NIU Sigma Pi Alumni Secretary Ted Diamantis said, “I think punishment enough is staying overnight in jail and paying fines.”

He said the pledges were not acting on any fraternity instructions and no hazing was involved.

NIU Sigma Pi President Jerry Nelligan said the members’ behavior in the incident “was not condoned by the fraternity.”

“All fourteen members involved in the incident have been put on social probation,” he said.

After meeting with Cufaude, the fraternity plans to sponsor alcohol awareness events for the chapter after spring break, as a result of the incident, Nelligan said.

University of Iowa Sigma Pi member Brian Stucka said his fraternity had not been informed of the NIU fraternity’s plans to come to Iowa.

“The actives just showed up and asked if their pledges had shown up, but we hadn’t seen them. Then they came back later and asked to stay, and we said no,” he said.

“If NIU had called we would have said no. A lot of Sigma Pi chapters in the neighboring states don’t really want NIU to come through, because there have been problems is the past,” said Stucka.