In 2005 Sigma Chi instituted a Zero-Tolerance policy on Hazing. This is the first time that Sigma Chi has imposed a policy. This also created a new definition of hazing and established more aggressive procedures and processes for addressing alleged violations. Below are few questions and answers about the policy.
What is the difference between the new definition of hazing and the old?
A Previously no definition was available and Sigma Chi as with other organizations that have problems resulting from hazing, this lead to inconsistent and inappropriate activities, actions, and perceptions. The new policy provides a concise meaning that is consistent with Sigma Chi and which will lead the Fraternity into the future.
“Zero tolerance” implies that even the smallest violation of this new definition will result in the suspension of our chapter. This seems almost impossible to avoid. Will one violation literally result in the suspension of our chapter?
A Not necessarily...it depends on the violation. However, it does mean that each instance will be thoroughly investigated and there will be consequences depending upon the severity of each violation – with the most severe resulting in charter suspension.
What happens if a disgruntled brother-to-be simply doesn't like the program and claims he has been hazed?
A These new policies also have in place a new system of investigating each instance to determine the severity and validity of each alleged incident.
What happens if an alumnus act violates the new hazing policy?
A We will not tolerate hazing by any Sigma Chi. Individuals who violate our rules will face disciplinary action – whether they live on campus or not.
My chapter has its own pledge activity traditions that have never been questioned or caused a problem. Does every detail of our pledge program now need to be cleared by International Fraternity to avoid violating these new policies?
A We are not your parents and have no intention of taking on that responsibility. If you suspect your pledge activities violate our policies, you can discuss them with the General Fraternity or with your local advisers. Our role is to make sure infractions are punished. Not to look over your shoulders to check every detail. We believe the policies are clear.
My chapter requires the pledge class to clean the house. We believe it teaches responsibility and good work ethic. Is this now considered a violation of Sigma Chi’s hazing policy?
A A lot of activities are condoned under the excuse that things “teach responsibility or respect or good work ethic.” If the activity singles out pledges for work you find demeaning, this is hazing. If pledges take their turn in cleaning the house – along with every other member – it likely is not hazing.
Since the beginning of my chapter’s founding, brothers-to-be have been required to run innocent or trivial errands for the active members and its alumni. We believe it teaches respect for the program and house as well as responsibility. Are these activities now in violation of national policy?
A If you single out individual or groups of members for this activity, it is hazing.
So, if a chapter house forces a pledge to scrub the toilets, is that now considered an act of Hazing?
A Yes, it is and always was.
I understand the need for these new policies. However, there are years of traditions that must be changed. And such change is bound to meet with resistance from some members. Others may simply forget. If this happens, will we be in violation of these new policies?
A Yes. But we recognize that some activities may have been done for years. We will work with chapters on enforcement. However, while we will be as flexible as possible with minor infractions, we will deal harshly with violations that harm people, threaten people or seriously demean people. There can be no excuse for such behavior.
Are off-campus house/chapter events governed by these new policies? For example, what happens if an alleged hazing violation occurs at an off-campus party?
A Yes, off-campus house/chapter events are governed by these policies.