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So long, Sigma Chi: Alcohol-fueled Ohio fraternity went too far

April 10, 2012|By David Zucchino
  • The Sigma Chi chapter at Miami University is no more. Officials have axed the chapter for an array of excesses, many of them -- it appears -- fueled by alcohol.
The Sigma Chi chapter at Miami University is no more. Officials have axed… (Ricardo DeAratanha/Los…)

Is it possible that frat boys could be so vile and disgusting, so drunk and disorderly, so utterly contemptuous of civility and good taste -- so egregiously out of control -- that their fraternity big brothers would shut down their frat house?

For the rowdy lads at Miami University’s Sigma Chi International chapter, thumbing their noses at society has finally had consequences.

They got the ax this week from the fraternity’s national executive committee, which ordered the Miami chapter shut down. All 29 Miami University Sigma Chi members have to be out of the frat house in Oxford, Ohio, by Wednesday.

The fraternity’s offenses were not fully articulated, but they seem to have incorporated the usual "Animal House"-style infractions: excessive drinking, hooliganism, disrespect for others, and an alleged predilection for recreational drugs. The executive committee was so appalled that it dismissed the miscreants as "so-called members," the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Monday.

"The so-called members of our Order at Sigma Chi’s chapter at Miami University have lost their way in aligning their lives toward, and living up to, our values and ideals,” Michael A. Greenberg, the international fraternity’s grand pro consul, wrote in a letter to school officials.

The letter referred to "illegal and continual drug usage and the possible distribution of drugs from the chapter house,’’ the Enquirer reported. The fraternity brothers also displayed "clear and blatant disregard for authority and anyone who is not a member of Sigma Chi’s Alpha Chapter,” Greenberg wrote.

It seems fraternity members got drunk in February 2010, tore up hotel rooms in Columbus, Ohio, and filched items from the hotel gift shop, the Enquirer reported. They got in trouble again last spring in an alcohol-fueled hazing incident. There was another hazing infraction this year, school officials said, but declined to provide details, according to the newspaper.

Needless to say, the fraternity was already on probation – not necessarily the double secret probation imposed by Dean Wormer in "Animal House’’ – but serious enough to threaten the local chapter’s very existence.

It was with regret, Greenberg wrote university officials, that "we have been unable to successfully save our chapter at your institution.’’

The Miami chapter was founded in 1855, but it was ultimately shut down after 157 years by what national Sigma Chi president Dennis R. Santoli reportedly said was members’ "frequent engagement in inappropriate behavior.’’

The fraternity has 244 chapters in the U.S. with more than 300,000 members.

Michael Dunn, executive director of the fraternity’s national office, said the organization will not even consider reinstating the Miami chapter until the current members graduate, the Enquirer reported.

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david.zucchino@latimes.com

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