WSU Suspends Kappa Sigma Faternity Chapter

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University will inform the members of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity chapter here Tuesday that the house is suspended effective Dec. 20, pending formal hearings of new charges that members violated university alcohol policies and state laws.
Pullman police are investigating a party held in early December which apparently involved six or more Kappa Sigma members who had broken the door of a vacant apartment and used the location for a party including drinking alcohol.
The university is coordinating its action with the national Kappa Sigma Fraternity organization as well as the local Kappa Sigma Corporation that owns the house, according to Gus Kravas, vice provost for student affairs.
The result is that freshman members will need to move to other approved university housing for spring semester, while older members must move to other housing on campus or in the community. In addition, the chapter and its members will no longer be able to sponsor social events or participate in fraternity or sorority functions.
“Kappa Sigma is already on probation as a result of its role in organizing the party at a live-out house that led to the riot last spring,” Kravas said. “Their sanctions included $1,000 fines, a required live-in adviser, social probation, community service, and no alcohol in the house for a year, plus a series of educational programs.”
The fraternity was allowed to take in new freshman members, but living conditions in the chapter houses were to be monitored through unannounced inspections and other means. In addition, WSU announced that further policy violations would result in suspension, according to Kravas.
“It appears that this particular group of young men simply did not get the message about the university’s resolve to change the culture in its fraternity houses and reduce illegal drinking and the dangers that accompany it,” Kravas said.
He indicated that interim steps taken this fall by the national fraternity to suspend a number of the individual members was a start in the right direction, but apparently not enough to reestablish appropriate activities among the members.
In the letter being delivered to the chapter president, Kravas notes that Kappa Sigma had been found responsible in recent months for policy violations by both the University Conduct Board and by the Interfraternity Council Tribunal. He also notes that the conduct board has already extended the probationary period for the house, given ongoing problems.
The letter notes that the conduct board “expressed concern with your members’ lack of understanding of the severity of your previously imposed sanctions” and “demonstrated ignorance of the nature of your probationary restrictions.”
Both the national fraternity and WSU will conduct hearings in January on the conduct violations. Final decisions on closing the chapter permanently will be made at the conclusion of the hearings.
If the January hearings confirm the additional violations by the chapter, WSU will lift its formal recognition of the chapter and the national organization would remove its charter.
“We appreciate the cooperation of the national Kappa Sigma officers and the local house corporation board in responding to the problems at the chapter at this time,” Kravas said. He noted that the house corporation is handling the closure of the house on California Street at the end of this week, which is fall semester finals week at WSU.
“Kappa Sigma Fraternity has had a long history here at WSU, and closing a chapter is a serious action. But the ongoing problems capped with the recent apparent criminal act give the university no options but suspending the chapter,” Kravas said.