Photo by Daniel Gabriel.

UCF’s chapter of Sigma Chi was found in violation of disruptive conduct and alcohol-related misconduct on Jan. 22, following a September 2019 incident at Knight Library.

The conduct violations will extend the chapter’s current organizational suspension through fall 2020 and will require they vacate the on-campus house they own by May 15.

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The fraternity currently is serving a two-semester suspension that was set to be completed this spring.

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Incident Report:

On Sept. 7, 2019, an individual reported to the Office of Student Conduct that at least 20 members of Sigma Chi were throwing drinks at him and threatening to jump him.

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In the incident report, the individual wrote: 
“During the UCF FAU football game atleast 20 members of sigma chi started throwing drinks Into the dance floor, after I was hit I confronted them and they started throwing more drinks at me and surrounding me threatening to jump me when I was by myself”

Screenshot of the Sept. 7, 2019 incident report.

It is not immediately known to what extent the Office of Student Conduct went to verify the report or question the complainant. Knight News has filed public record requests that are currently pending.

Recommendation: 

According to UCF’s Organization Conduct Review Process, if the alleged violation against an organization is not dismissed or otherwise resolved, it goes to a formal hearing.

Either a panel hearing — made up of two faculty or staff members and two student members — or an administrative hearing — made up of one faculty or staff member — can be requested by the organization.

According to documents obtained by Knight News, Sigma Chi requested an administrative hearing.

In a formal hearing, the director of the Office of Student Conduct is to receive the hearing officer’s proposed findings and rulings and consider the proposed sanctions, according to the Golden Rule Student Handbook.

The director can approve, mitigate or increase the sanctions proposed by the administrative hearing officer, but any alteration to sanctions proposed by the hearing officer “shall be accompanied by a concise and explicit written statement that explains the basis for that decision,” the Golden Rules state.

Sanctions proposed by the administrative hearing officer on Dec. 17, 2019.
Explanation for sanctions by hearing officer on Dec. 17, 2019.

The hearing officer proposed an organizational suspensation, along with three educational sanctions: no-contact order with the complainant, a review of Policies and Procedures, and a presentation to the Office of Student Conduct and Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, according to the document.

“Therefore, in accepting the recommended sanctions of the Administrative Hearing, you are sanctioned to:”

Director of Student Conduct Michael Gilmer wrote in the letter.
Director of the Office of Student Conduct Michael Gilmer altered the sanctions to include the fraternity’s house in the Outcome Letter on Jan. 22 and did not provide a “concise and explicit” written statement the house owned by the fraternity was included.

Knight News called UCF spokesman Mark Schlueb on Thursday to ask for more information regarding the modified meaning of sanctions — proposed by the hearing officer on Dec. 17 — and no explanation as to why Director of the Office of Student Conduct Michael Gilmer is removing the fraternity from campus was provided.

“Following up on your question about the change in sanctions, there is no statement explaining the basis for a change in sanctions because the temporary loss of the use of the Sigma Chi house is not considered a sanction,” Schlueb said in a Thursday email. “It is a clarification of the terms of the suspension. If you look at the previous sentence in the outcome letter, it reads: ‘During the period of suspension, the Eta Pi chapter temporarily loses its University recognition and/or registration and may not use University resources or facilities.”

Knight News could not reach the Office of Student Conduct for comment in time for publication.

Sigma Chi is just one of nine Greek organizations to privately own the buildings they reside in on campus.

Information courtesy of UCF spokesman Mark Schlueb.

Members of the fraternity have until May 15 to vacate the on-campus building, but Sigma Chi chapter President Brian Walls said everyone in the organization is diligently working with OSC to understand and resolve the issue. 

“Sigma Chi is aware of the outcome letter and will be filing an appeal,” Walls said to Knight News. “Our organization has been cooperating to the fullest extent with the university and we intend to continue doing so until all matters are resolved.”

Knight News has reached out to UCF for clarification on how exactly the university can remove the fraternity from a building it owns, and why it is classified as “university resources or facilities” — numerous public records requests are pending.

Click to the next page for a breakdown of findings and charges.