In Sigma Nu Case, Admins’ Lack of Oversight Fails All

    As hazing allegations continue in the Sigma Nu saga — with
    Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Chi now under similar suspicions — and the
    fraternities’ respective national headquarters continue investigations, one
    question remains unanswered: Where has UCSD’s administration been?

    The former Sigma Nu pledge responsible for bringing the
    alleged hazing to light was all but ignored by UCSD’s Student Organizations
    Adviser Marilyn Russell when he brought evidence to her in November 2007.
    Regardless of the severity of the cited events and photos, Russell is
    responsible for investigating all such allegations so that pledges to the Greek
    system can remain protected.

    Students in the Sigma Nu camp are laughing off the
    allegations, claiming — perhaps accurately — that no hazing took place and that
    the events in question were all in good fun. Meanwhile, there is a growing
    stockpile of evidence suggesting the opposite. But the bottom line is that no
    matter what information was brought to Russell, a concerned student came to her
    asking that she do her job and investigate the situation. That is exactly what
    she should have done. Instead, she originally did nothing about the evidence
    submitted to her, never responded to the informant and failed to move the
    investigation forward in any meaningful way.

    After two months, the story instigated questions from the
    public and media, the national headquarters of those fraternities involved
    stepped up their respective investigations and the informant contacted Russell
    a second time — then, she finally decided to start doing her job.

    This kind of negligence from a university official is
    unacceptable. Not only did Russell let the scandal fester by failing to
    respond, she is still unable to provide students with an explanation for the
    university’s lack of involvement in the matter. Though there is now an “ongoing
    investigation,” UCSD has failed to issue an official statement or reach any
    solid conclusions. By dragging their feet instead of working to make things
    more transparent, UCSD administrators have sent a clear and unfortunate message
    about their commitment to students.

    No matter the eventual outcome, it is shocking that this
    turn of events was handled so carelessly. The degree of disinterest shown here
    for even addressing the informant’s concerns, and the standing of the Greek
    system in general, is appalling. It is Russell’s job to investigate issues as
    they come to light, and it is questionable why someone so obviously
    irresponsive would be trusted with such a weighty task.

    The UCSD administrators responsible for overseeing student
    organizations have completely dropped the ball, and with so much at stake it
    looks like the Center for Student Involvement — particularly Russell’s office —
    deserves an investigation of its own.

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