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Stanford Report, February 12, 2003

Housing review board places two fraternities on probation

As part of its annual review of the Greek houses, the university announced Friday that it was placing two fraternities on housing probation. Kappa Alpha and Sigma Chi were placed on housing probation through December.

John Judicki, associate director of residential education and co-chair of the Greek Housing Review Board, said Sigma Chi was cited for a history of conduct problems, failure to implement residential programming and "a lack of responsiveness" of house leadership in working with university officials, among other issues. Kappa Alpha was cited for its volatile leadership and subsequent spotty track record over the years in meeting the board's basic requirements for housed fraternities, ranging from instituting ongoing residential education programs to meeting occupancy requirements and properly maintaining the house, he said.

Meanwhile, the board lifted the probationary status of one fraternity and extended the probation of another by three months.

Kappa Sigma and Sigma Alpha Epsilon had been placed on probation in January 2002 for, among other things, failing to meet membership and maximum occupancy requirements, implement residential education programs and provide community service.

Judicki announced that Kappa Sigma's housing probation was being lifted effective this Winter Quarter after demonstrating "significant improvement" in areas of concern. Sigma Alpha Epsilon, on the other hand, "has made limited improvements but continues to struggle." Its housing probation was therefore being extended for another three months.

"The board looks for sustainable upward trends," Judicki said, citing a track record of ongoing Residential Education events, community service and efforts to develop alumni relations, as well as "good stewardship of the house," as areas the board focuses on.

In the case of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Judicki said, "Over the past few years, there's been a trend [toward improvements] but it's been erratic." While he acknowledged that the fraternity has made efforts to address the board's concerns, it was not clear that these were long term, and the board wanted more time to see ongoing programs put in place.

Nathaniel Fernhoff, president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, was disappointed with the decision. "We've made significant improvements this year. ... I feel the decision is based on [bad behavior] of past years."

Judicki said it was true the board had considered past years' problems in its evaluation, which began last year. He said the board was seeking good leadership to put the necessary structures in place so that progress would be continuous -- even as house officers and residents turn over from year to year.

"Groups can deal with transition by planning -- putting structures in place that can be handed over," Judicki said. "We want them to be more developmental, rather than reactionary."

On a positive note, Judicki said the review board had commended sorority Delta Delta Delta for financial management, leadership, conduct and education.