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Fraternity implements new zero-tolerance hazing policy

Ashley Feibish / Editor in Chief

Zero-tolerance. This is Sigma Chi Fraternity’s new stance on the issue of hazing.

Sigma Chi Fraternity Grand Consul Lee Beauchamp announced the new zero-tolerance policy, effective immediately, Jan. 31 via conference call to the 225 Sigma Chi chapters nation-wide.

Members of Sigma Chi from four North Carolina schools, including Elon, Duke, North Carolina State and Wake Forest met at Elon Saturday to discuss the new policy.

“Quite frankly, we can’t stay in operation with that type of risk (hazing) hanging over our heads,” said Will Yeldell, grand praetor for the North Carolina chapter. “And if we are even seen as someone endorsing ‘OK’ you can get away with a little bit, we open the door even slightly, one organization, one chapter steps through that door too far, it could shut us all down.”

Yeldell said hazing is difficult to eradicate because people develop a mindset of “it happened to me.”

“Conferences like this end up being hazing discussions for hours upon hours. So having a good strict policy is a good way—there’s not ambiguity anymore,” said Josh Daniel, former president of Elon’s Sigma Chi.

The policy correlates with negative publicity that fraternities have received.

Mike Giurato, grand praetor for the South Carolina chapter recorded 71 negative fraternity incidents from Oct. 2004 to Feb. 2005. The incidents ranged from the death of pledges to unregistered parties.

“After asbestos-removing firms and nursing homes, fraternities are the third most risky organization to insure. We are fraught with risk, with opportunity for lawsuits, for liability, for those types of legal challenges,” Yeldell said.

“It’s awesome that I have the five other guys on the executive council that are listening to this kind of stuff, getting a new perspective of things—we can implement it (the policy) together,” said Elliott Cardano, current president of the Sigma Chi chapter at Elon.

Abuse of alcohol, which often plays a role in hazing incidents, was also a major topic at the conference Saturday.

Yeldell said he hopes the policy will decrease liability risks and prevent the further mistreatment of future members.

Contact Ashley Feibish at pendulum@elon.edu or 278-7247.

Links / Articles:
Sigma Chi.org
Outline of Sigma Chi No Tolerance Policy on Hazing