Updated: Sig Ep disaffiliates members following alumni review

Members of Northwestern's Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter have been forced to disaffiliate following an alumni review.

Daily file photo by Julianna Nunez

Members of Northwestern’s Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter have been forced to disaffiliate following an alumni review.

Paulina Firozi, Managing Editor

Updated, 10:45 p.m. Tuesday:

Interfraternity Council vice president of public relations A.J. Tomiak confirmed the disaffiliation in a press release Tuesday night. Tomiak also discouraged unaffiliated students from joining a rumored unofficial “Off Campus Sig Ep” chapter. He stressed any such chapter is not recognized by the University, by IFC or by Sig Ep’s national headquarters.

“There are no longer current active undergraduate members of Sigma Phi Epsilon at Northwestern,” the SESP junior said. “Thus, no one is allowed to join any version of Sigma Phi Epsilon/Sig Ep (on or off-campus). The organization is not participating in the IFC recruitment process this week.”

Original story:

All members of Northwestern’s chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon are officially disaffiliated from the organization after the national fraternity suspended some members this summer.

Andrew Lemens, Sig Ep’s director of fraternity operations, said the national fraternity intervened when questionable behavior exhibited by the brothers “got to a point where it was detrimental to their success.” He said a group of alumni assigned to evaluate members of the fraternity throughout Fall Quarter determined those students would not be able to continue as members of Sig Ep.

“It became quickly apparent through interviews and some follow-up processes that there weren’t any members in that current group who are capable of detaching themselves of the former chapter experience, who were willing and able to do the things necessary to sustain Sigma Phi Epsilon at Northwestern,” Lemens said.

The fraternity’s board of directors planned before Fall Quarter to execute a membership review as a condition of their suspension, due to a “pattern of risky behavior exhibited by the chapter over the last year,” Sig Ep’s executive director Brian Warren wrote in a statement to The Daily on Aug. 3.  Under what’s referred to as Alumni Advisory council status, the members of NU’s Illinois Lambda chapterof Sig Ep continued to be affiliated only under the authority of alumni until a decision was made. They were not allowed to host social events or participate in recruitment activities in the interim.

Although no previous members will remain in the chapter, Sip Ep will maintain its affiliation with the University. Lemens said the national fraternity is working with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and the Division of Student Affairs to reestablish the organization with new members for Spring Quarter.

He said national Sig Ep representatives will be on campus starting this week to recruit unaffiliated men who are “interested in joining and building a premiere fraternity experience.” The organization will participate in some of the formal recruitment activities that begin for the Interfraternity Council this week.

“We recognize the value of the institution, the value of Northwestern and the students it attracts and those at Sigma Phi Epsilon can be successful on campus,” Lemens said.

On Jan. 4, some male members of the NU community received an email from Sheehan Walker, chairman of the Sig Ep-affiliated Balanced Man Scholarship, encouraging them to apply for an $8,000 academic scholarship and suggesting a new chapter would be established.

Lemens said the scholarship aligns with the organization’s values as well as those of the University.

“When we start a new chapter, we do so in support of the academic leadership and student development of the university,” he said. “That’s something we feel is important to encourage and reward young men at Northwestern who embody what we try to build when we’re talking about building balanced men.”

The chapter members who were disaffiliated are “not eligible or invited” to join the new Sig Ep chapter on campus, Lemens said. He added that if the former brothers wanted to join another fraternity, that would be handled on a case-by-case basis.

— Paulina Firozi