CSU frat shuttered after losing university recognition

6:34 PM, Jan 31, 2014   |    comments
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FORT COLLINS - A prominent Colorado State University fraternity has shuttered its chapter house after university officials stripped it of their recognition while citing a pattern of alcohol use and possible sexual misconduct.

Sigma Phi Epsilon lost university recognition until the spring 2018 semester in December, but appealed that decision. CSU officials upheld that decision on Friday, saying the fraternity – often referred to as SigEp – "was not a safe place for men or women."

"The behavior demonstrated by Sigma Phi Epsilon members is unacceptable and will not be tolerated," CSU Dean of Students Jody Donovan said in a written statement. In a response to the fraternity's appeal, university officials said fraternity leadership failed to make substantial changes to "an ongoing pattern of negative behavior" that led to Sigma Phi Epsilon being placed on university probation for multiple alcohol-related incidents.

"The actions of members of this fraternity who engaged in these behaviors have no place on our campus, and absolutely will not be tolerated," Donovan said.

Losing university recognition means the fraternity is no longer allowed to participate in CSU Greek-life activities or use the university's name or logo, according to the school's website

The 71 members of the fraternity no longer live in its chapter house, an iconic red brick home at 121 E. Lake St., across from the University Center for the Arts.

According to Bryan Harmsen, a SigEp alumnus and president of the nonprofit organization that maintains the chapter house, security cameras, motion detectors and a security company are all being used the monitor the facility.

"The plan at this time is to protect and maintain the property until it is appropriate to re-open it for the undergraduate SigEp chapter," Harmsen said in an email. "We do not know when that will occur."

The university's decision will be upheld for a minimum of four years, Donovan said.

The suspension of university recognition will allow current members of the fraternity to graduate and leave CSU before the chapter can start recruiting and return to campus with a "renewed sense of purpose," university officials said.

The chapter was chartered in 1915.

"Sigma Phi Epsilon has been an important part of Colorado State University's community for nearly 100 years," university officials said in their response to the fraternity's appeal. "We are deeply disappointed this history will be interrupted."

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