Sigma Chi fraternity accused in weekend hazing incident

Samira Kassem and Katie Fata

Sigma Chi came under fire on Tuesday, Apr. 13 after allegations of a violent hazing incident.
Photo: Katie Fata

The circulation of a Facebook post from an IWU parent that depicted a first-year student with forehead wounds alleged that it was the result of hazing and implicated Sigma Chi fraternity. “Be on guard!” the Tuesday, April 13 post warned.  

The post detailed the alleged incident and claimed that the student had undergone “psychological trauma and physical abuse at the hands of a brother while other brothers observed without action.”

Comments on the post responded to the graphic photograph, calling it “absolutely appalling,” “unbelievable” and “horrid.” 

The incident is alleged to have taken place on the evening of Saturday, April 10. Testimonies were unclear as to whether it occurred within the fraternity house or elsewhere, but confirmed that other Sigma Chi brothers were involved. 

One student, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Argus, “I know the guy who is in the picture, I know he was rushing Sigma Chi and was at the house this weekend.”

Another student told The Argus that they were aware of an alleged voice recording of the incident where the hazing of the student pictured was discussed. 

“I heard a voice recording of another Sigma Chi pledge. He was talking about what happened this weekend and was really uncomfortable with the whole thing,” the anonymous student said. 

When asked for comment, Interfraternity Council president Cole Paraday said, “This is an unfortunate and saddening event that took place.” 

According to the IWU Student Code of Conduct, “violations of the University Hazing Policy are considered to be serious offenses. Groups or individuals found responsible for hazing may receive sanctions, suspension or expulsion of the individual or organization from the university.”

“The university and school officials should take the right steps to resolve this situation effectively and hold those involved accountable,” Paraday said.

A screenshot of the Facebook post from an IWU parent.

The Argus reached out to Dean of Students Karla Carney-Hall and Director of Student Life Kevin Carey around 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday for comment. Carney-Hall, who told The Argus that she became aware of the situation at around 10:30 Tuesday morning, gave a brief response later in the evening and pointed The Argus to her campus-wide statement. Carey also did not immediately comment. 

At 4:08 p.m. on Tuesday, Carney-Hall sent an email to the campus community confirming that the incident had been brought to the administration’s attention and that all Sigma Chi chapter operations were suspended, pending investigation.

“Critical to eliminating hazing from our campus culture is the role of leaders and bystanders in intervention and reporting. If you have information about any other hazing incidents on our campus, please report them. We want to ensure student safety and support in all of our campus experiences,” Carney-Hall said in the email. 

Another anonymous student that The Argus reached out to for comment claimed that an administrative staff member had insinuated that the student should not respond. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, Sigma Chi president Matt Milan also declined to comment on the matter. 

This article will be updated as more information is provided to The Argus.