UC San Diego’s chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity is under investigation by the university for sexual assault after multiple women from UCSD sororities filed reports against members of the fraternity, university spokesperson Christine Clark confirmed to the UCSD Guardian in an email on June 1. The allegations were initially brought by four students, with more later coming forward, and recounted instances of alleged sexual assaults and druggings that occurred at Sigma Chi events throughout the academic year.
Details of the sexual assault allegations first reached much of the Greek community at the start of week nine when all twelve chapter presidents made statements to their sororities announcing the allegations in their weekly meetings, women from multiple sorority chapters confirmed to the Guardian. Written accounts of the alleged assaults by the four survivors who first came forward were provided for the executive boards to read aloud. Some sororities read portions or all of the statements, while others read none.
According to a sorority member, who wished to remain anonymous to avoid possible repercussions on her and her chapter, one of the survivor’s statements described her being drugged at a Sigma Chi party when a member of the fraternity allegedly handed her a spiked drink. The author of the statement was then rendered unconscious and later found naked.
Few details of the allegations have been publicly released since the sorority presidents first informed the chapters of the possible sexual assault incidents, as the Greek community is taking steps to contain information about the allegations among themselves. The Guardian contacted members of five different sororities for specifics who all stated that they were not allowed to share what they had been told, with several noting that it was to respect the survivors. Additionally, 11 of the 12 chapter presidents did not respond to the Guardian’s email request for an interview, with Pi Beta Phi stating that they had no comment.
In response to the allegations, the sorority presidents collectively agreed that Sigma Chi would be “blacklisted,” meaning that the sororities will not participate in social or philanthropic events with Sigma Chi and members of Sigma Chi will be prohibited from the sororities’ philanthropies.
“All twelve panhellenic chapters are cutting off connections with Sigma Chi. We are no longer doing events with them for the rest of this quarter and [Fall Quarter],” the sorority member stated, adding that the new presidents who term in after next fall will decide whether to continue the ban.
A second anonymous sorority member from a different chapter noted that the chapter presidents and the larger community are collaborating to determine potential requirements the fraternity must meet in order for the relationships with the sororities to be restored.
“I would just say that [the] tentative ban is unlikely to change anything,” the source told the Guardian. “That’s why the PHC, presidents, and community are working thoughtfully to cultivate an agreement that requires Sigma Chi to do more than just go through the motions. At the end of the day, I think it will require effort from the entire Greek community on campus as well as Sigma Chi’s nationals to rewire this type of culture.”
The university and national Sigma Chi organization have also since become involved in addressing the allegations, according to Clark.
“The health, well-being and safety of UC San Diego students is our top priority,” the statement Clark emailed to the Guardian reads. “The university is in the process of investigating allegations of the Sigma Chi campus chapter, which will be examined and adjudicated thoroughly. While the appropriate investigations are ongoing, the student organization has received cease-and-desist orders from both the university and the national Sigma Chi fraternity, and all parties are cooperating.”
Clark did not clarify what actions the cease-and-desist order covered, but in a statement on behalf of the fraternity, former Sigma Chi President Erik Mumm noted that the chapter has been suspended by both the university and national organization and intends to comply with the investigations.
“Our chapter has been placed on a temporary suspension by UCSD and Sigma Chi International Headquarters, respectively, while they each begin investigating reports that have been received by the Center for Student Involvement,” Mumm wrote in his statement to the Guardian. “Our chapter supports this action and we intend to work collaboratively and cooperatively as may be requested. We expect all of our chapter members to adhere to the high standards of Sigma Chi. We are committed to justice and accountability, and we absolutely do not tolerate sexual misconduct of any kind.”
UCSD Sigma Chi has not announced any actions they plan to take internally against or on behalf of their accused members, who are all currently still active members and have not been expelled from the organization.
Additionally, no decisions from the UCSD Panhellenic Council governing the sororities or the Inter-Fraternity Council appear to have been made yet on how the councils plan to proceed with the allegations. An email was sent out from their Center of Student Involvement advisors on May 30 with resources for reporting assaults and a reminder to members of the Greek community that “all students are expected to uphold their roles and responsibilities in keeping the well-being of all members of our community at the center of all decisions and actions.”
The UCSD administration is also asking students to aid their investigation by coming forward.
“The university encourages anyone with knowledge of these events to please contact the Office for the Prevention of Harassment at 858/534-8298 or online at OPHD@ucsd.edu,” Clark urged in the statement. “ UC San Diego’s CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center is a free and confidential resource available 24/7 to all students, faculty and staff. CARE serves as a confidential advocacy office which provides education and support services for those impacted by sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking.”
The Guardian will continue to report developments as they occur.
Graphic by Lauren Holt.
This article previously cited an anonymous source as saying that the chapter presidents and Greek community were collaborating to determine potential further consequences. Upon clarification from the source, the article has been updated to state that they are determining requirements Sigma Chi must meet to have their relationships with the sororities restored.