The National Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity officially banned the Sigma Phi Epsilon California Beta Chapter on Thursday afternoon after reports that the chapter violated the university’s sexual misconduct policies in its house on The Row.
The fraternity received an email from the Sigma Phi Epsilon National Board of Directors grand president Bert J. Harris III informing them of the decision. According to the president of Sigma Phi Epsilon California Beta Chapter Peter Hess, the chapter will be allowed to return to The Row after a minimum of five years.
According to the Vice President of Student Affairs Michael Jackson, the suspension of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity went into effect Jan. 31.
“This action was taken based on a review of reports that the university’s sexual misconduct policies had been violated,” Jackson said in a statement to the Daily Trojan. “The university takes any report of sexual misconduct extremely seriously.”
The names of the students involved were not released because of privacy laws and both the university and the fraternity chapter refused to comment on the specific nature of the violation.
The Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards committee began the trial against SigEp in November after an individual reported that a crime occurred on Nov. 17 in one of the rooms of the fraternity.
Hess said that once notified by SJACS, the fraternity conducted an internal investigation. The investigation resulted in a member being expelled from the house.
“We felt like the member was withholding information,” Hess said. “We also expelled the member to show SJACS that we were not trying to hide anything. But they didn’t see it that way.”
Hess believes the alleged incident is not a reflection on the fraternity.
“What occurred in the room was an isolated incident,” Hess said. “It was the fault of the person in the room and not the chapter as a whole.”
The trial against the fraternity has been ongoing since November and the final decision from SJACS came on Thursday. Because the Cal Beta chapter is no longer officially recognized as a student organization, the members of the fraternity are unable to appeal the decision.
Hess informed members of the ban through email and in meetings on Thursday.
The house on The Row is owned by the national organization. Jackson said in a statement to the Daily Trojan that the fraternity letters on the front of the chapter house will be removed and it will function as a boarding house for the current residents until the end of the academic year.
Currently other fraternities on The Row are putting up bids for the house. The highest bidder will receive the rights to move into the house. After the ban, the new group of SigEp members will be able to reenter the house.
The decision to ban the fraternity will have effects on the other fraternities and sororities on The Row.
“The loss of USC and national recognition means no other recognized fraternities or sororities may socialize or interact with this former USC fraternity,” Jackson said in a statement to the Daily Trojan.