Sigma Chi has been given another chance.
A meeting held Tuesday decided the fraternity gets to keep their conditional use permit and continue living in their house.
Oxford city law states if a fraternity is no longer in good standing with the university, the city has the right to revoke its conditional use permit and therefore its right to live in the house, according to Susan Kay, chair of the Oxford Planning Commision.
On Monday, Kay said she could not see any reason to keep the permit in place and predicted a unanimous vote against the fraternity.
“It’s pretty much a done deal,” Kay said.
Yet Sigma Chi will keep their house.
Mayor Richard Keebler opposed taking action against Sigma Chi.
“I don’t think we have anything here,” he said.
He described Sigma Chi’s condition as a “simple suspension” and said he would not feel comfortable revoking the permit.
City council member Richard Daniels agreed.
“Doing nothing is the best action,” he said.
After rewording the motion five times, the commission decided Sigma Chi is now on “notice,” which means any future offenses will result in another meeting to discuss the possible revocation of their living permit.
President of Sigma Phi Epsilon Matt Frazier said he thought the lack of action was inappropriate.
“I think the city and the university really dropped the ball,” he said.
Frazier was part of a group of university and city members that helped create the living permit law. He said the bill was written in order to keep fraternities from operating underground without the permission of the university.
“They aren’t being harsh enough,” he said. “They’re talking the talk, but not walking the walk.”
Council member David Prytherch voted against the motion.
“The city staff is being sympathetic,” he said. “Fraternities need to know that a lot rides on their behavior.”
Representation from Sigma Chi was not present at the meeting and declined to comment.
Jay Bennettt, representation for the fraternity, wrote the commission a letter stating that it would be unlawful to revoke the permit because Sigma Chi nationals did not pull their charter.
However, another requirement for holding a permit is a fraternity must not be hazardous to the health, safety and well being of the community, according to the Planning Commision’s agenda.
Commission members were unaware that Sigma Chi member Rory Ward was cited for discharging firearms after firing a 9mm pistol multiple times off the house balcony Sept. 2.
Although the gun did not belong to him, according to police reports, the gun’s location in the house, along with a shotgun, is common knowledge.
Keebler said the incident was irrelevant.
“That isn’t what was brought to us today,” Keebler said.
Sigma Chi has been suspended since March 26, and the city was made aware of this suspension April 2.
Frazier said the issue should have been taken care of in the summer months to avoid a potential housing issue.
According to Kay, the commission was not able to vote on this issue sooner because of the summer break.
“We could not get the parties together in the summer,” Kay said.