Sigma Chi forced to suspend operation following student death

By: Roger Hoke – Staff Writer

The University of Dayton Sigma Chi Iota Theta chapter will no longer be allowed to continue on campus, after a ruling by the university at the end of November.

The chapter was originally suspended from campus operation after an incident in Madison County, Ohio, in November 2012, according to reports from WHIO. The fraternity was looking to restart operations this school year.

It is believed that the university made its final ruling of Sigma Chi’s future after the death of a student, Thomas Marshall, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in October 2014.

“One of the most important things for us is having the people know how great of a person Tom was,” former Sigma Chi Iota member John Smith* said. “The reflection of how many texts and the response has been a great thing for us, so we want people to know we are appreciative of that.”

Smith also addressed the help the fraternity has received from some university officials, such as the Director of Greek Life Kevin Cane.

Smith said he was speaking on behalf of being Marshall’s friend, and was in Gatlinburg when the event occurred. Smith said he believes Marshall’s death was the reasoning behind Sigma Chi’s termination from campus.

“It definitely was, and it was disappointing because we worked so hard after the last situation to really work on our reputation, and we’ve been really quiet since then,” Smith said. “I don’t think the university would deny that.”

Smith said he does not know exactly what happened to Marshall, and is disheartened by the situation.

“It’s really disappointing because none of us know what happened, and we are really hurting because of what happened, and now is the time that we could use Sigma Chi more than ever,” Smith said.

Kari Wallace, the assistant vice president of student development, said on the subject of Sigma Chi’s dismissal that the fraternity had been giving the university problems for years.

“We have had ongoing problems with Sigma Chi since 2007,” Wallace said. “Most of them were dealing with alcohol.”

Wallace stated the main reason this decision was due to the fact that they broke sanctions given to them after their suspension in 2012.

“They aren’t a Sigma Chi chapter right now, but they are members of a group trying to get back together in Jan. 2015, but they broke their sanction,” Wallace said.

The sanction in question was the fraternity was not allowed to meet together with more than three former members at a time. The trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee brought together more than three former members, and Marshall’s death brought this broken sanction into light.

Smith said he does not agree with the decision the university made regarding Sigma Chi’s future, for the death did not occur at a Sigma Chi event.

“No, I don’t [agree with the decision] because [of] the allegations that it was a Sigma Chi event,” Smith said. “Half the guys there were former Sigma Chi members, none of the women there were Greek affiliated, and the other half of the guys were not Greek affiliated, either; so only 25 percent Greek people were at the place.”

Smith said he believes the allegations were wrong, but the fraternity will still have to deal with the decision made.

“The allegations, we don’t agree with, we don’t think many would agree; unfortunately, that’s just what happened,” Smith said. “We’re suffering a lot during this time. [Marshall] was one of our best friends. We would have liked a lot of the things we do with Sigma Chi to reflect his memory.”

Editor’s note: John Smith* is not the real name of the former Sigma Chi Iota Theta brother; he was willing to give his opinion on the subject by requesting he remain anonymous. The former member has not been an active member of Sigma Chi since the events, and said he spoke what he believed his former fraternity would like him to portray. Flyer News has reached out to Kevin Cane, director of Greek Life, for comment.

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