Sigma Phi Epsilon is on probation through the spring of 2008 after being found responsible for charges stemming from a November tasering incident in Ferman Music Hall.
The incident involved six fraternity members, four current and two 2007 alumni. Security found the group inside a studio room with a taser.
An administrative board made up of five faculty and staff members determined that one of the individuals was likely tasered, according to Judicial Coordinator Mike Gilmer.
As it was determined that the two alumni, as visitors, brought the taser to campus, the organization was deemed to have violated the visitor’s policy, which holds individuals and organizations responsible for the conduct of their visitors.
“We have to take it seriously,” Gilmer said. “You have to be sure that all guests of the university will be productive and serve the university’s best interest.”
He explained that since the organization was deemed responsible for its visitors’ conduct, they were also found responsible for a personal abuse and weapons violation stemming from the tasering.
CLEAN RECORD INFLUENCES SANCTIONS
Casey Stevens, director of civic engagement at UT, explained that the fraternity’s clean record was taken into account when determining sanctions.
Stevens said the incident was viewed as “a poor mistake and some poor decision making of a couple of members,” adding that the chapter members failed to hold them accountable.
As a result, Sigma Phi Epsilon was placed on probation through the spring of 2008, which prevents them from applying for any awards.
Notably, they have won Fraternity of the Year two out of the last three years.
They are also expected to have all their members attend an educational program concerning safety issues on campus, which will be presented by Tampa police and UT security officers.
The brothers will then have to put on an educational seminar of their own for UT students, with attendance by at least 100 non-members, Gilmer said.
They are also to revise the standards of their internal judicial system and conduct a membership review over some of the active individuals involved in the incident; both of which are to be presented to the Student Activities Office by the end of March.
“We feel as though the sanctions handed down were expected and fair, considering our clean judicial record and exemplary service on campus and in the Tampa community,” said Sigma Phi Epsilon in a statement to The Minaret.
“We look forward to a new semester and actively working towards bettering the Greek community and university as a whole,” fraternity members wrote in the statement.
They added that they are yet to decide whether or not to appeal, depending on whether they gain new information.
According to Stevens, the incident was tried at the organizational-as opposed to the individual-level because the Student Activities Office holds that actions of fraternity members represent the fraternity with whatever they do, including possible policy violations.
The matter was viewed very seriously by all parties involved, said Gilmer, especially as there has been a nationwide increase in tasering incidents since University of Florida student Andrew Meyer was famously tasered at a John Kerry speech this fall.