In recent years, several Miami fraternities have been suspended for hazing and prohibited use of alcohol. With some facing such a checkered past, recolonizing a fraternity may seem a difficult task. Yet, that is exactly what the new faces of Sigma Chi are attempting.
Sigma Chi was suspended in 2012 after “continual failure to uphold the high standards of Sigma Chi and frequent engagement in highly inappropriate behavior,” according to a statement from the national president at the time, Dennis Santoli. One behavior cited was hazing.
After the suspension, members were moved to alumni status, effectively ending that generation of brothers. Now, four years later, a group of students are bringing back the chapter and hope to give it a new, respectable face.
The group is currently considered a colony. As a colony, they will apply for a charter from Sigma Chi headquarters and undergo a rigorous vetting process before they can complete the necessary tasks to become a chapter, including finding a house. Once that is completed, they can become an active chapter. If things go well, Miami’s colony could become a chapter as early as this April.
However, there’s more to it than just the paperwork and technicalities, especially with Sigma Chi. Because they are the Alpha chapter, there are a lot of expectations riding on their recolonization.
President of the Interfraternity Council (IFC), Cameron Snyders, said he only expects the best from Sigma Chi and encourages them to be the new face of fraternities at Miami.
“They can own their identity, break stereotypes and be the best when it comes to philanthropy,” Snyders said. “The experience is fun, and they can build a culture around who they want to be.”
Luke Walker, president and colonist of Sigma Chi, also shares in Snyders’ vision for Miami.
“We are striving to set a new tone and shed some positive light on the Greek community,” Walker said. “We seek academic excellence, successful philanthropic activities, strong community outreach and fostering lifelong brotherhood, all while remaining deeply committed to the values of Sigma Chi.”
Sigma Chi finds itself in a unique position, in which they can shake off all the shackles of their past, and are free to lead the fraternity in whatever direction they wish.
“We want to set the new standard for Greek life here,” Walker said. “The most important change we bring is a non-hazing fraternity. Greek life needs a breath of fresh air.”
Jack Ryan, the scholarship chair for Sigma Chi, expects alumni and students will want to know if the chapter is up for the challenge. Ryan said the recolonization experience has made him a better person.
“I am rooted in my values,” he said. “I know what kind of person I want to be, what I want the world to be.”
Most of all, Ryan expressed admiration for his soon-to-be brothers.
“These are the guys I’m going to invite to my wedding and go out of my way to visit long after I graduate.”