On Wednesday, the third of February, the men of Sigma Pi were woken up at 9 AM by various members of the student and staff body of Illinois College. They were taken to Tanner Hall and questioned about the activities that took place during the New Member Orientation, or pledging as it is commonly called, of the previous semester. Apparently, the administration had heard rumors of hazing associated with Sigma Pi and was investigating the issue. Three weeks later, all the members were gathered together in President Farley’s office and delivered the results of the investigation. She had found them guilty of the charges levelled against them from her anonymous sources. Thus the following punishments were given: there would be no New Member Orientation for Sigma Pi the following Fall semester, the men of Sigma Pi would be on probation for the next three years, they would be unable to have access to Beecher hall except for literary productions and business meetings which the administration has to be aware of beforehand, and they had to provide and pay for a speaker that would come to the school and speak on the dangers of hazing. On top of all this, the president and pledge master of Sigma Pi during the previous Fall semester, as they were in charge during the alleged hazing, were made to step down from their current positions and essentially inactive as members of the literary society.
Now, in the sixties, Sigma Pi was notorious for the hazing of its pledging members, even with pictures of the pledges covered in ketchup and mustard in one of the yearbooks. As a result of their infamous past, they are always under scrutiny for the most mundane things, especially during pledging, like the dressing of their pledges. This is not only by administration, but by staff and students as well. But, we must come to realize that this was a long time ago and that these rituals are outdated at best.
The men of Sigma Pi were very upset over the entire incident as, according to them, they are still not entirely sure what it was that they did or who it was that was the source of this damning information, as at first they heard that there was one source and then they heard that there were several. The fact that they were called in for a matter that happened several months ago also bothered them. They expressed their anger during their final literary production of the semester, where a couple of members lambasted President Farley and the entire administration, not only for their decisions concerning them, but also the decisions concerning the entire school, including the budget cuts and the sacking of various staff members. They stated that the school was going in a downward spiral under the rule of President Farley. The Sigma Pi alumni and board of trustees were also rather upset and disappointed by the whole ordeal. There is talk that some alumni will not be making donations to the school anymore until things change, but President Farley hopes that it does not come to this.
There were deliberations about Sigma Pi going national because they felt that they would get a better chance to defend themselves when situations like this come up, as this is not the first time they have been punished for actions and had no means of defending themselves. This would not be hard for them, as they are the first ever Sigma Pi and were once offered the Alpha Chapter of the fraternity, which is a great honor. For now, however, they have decided against this idea for their own reasons. They are taking on President Farley’s punishment like gentlemen and one of their alumni, Jim Voyles, a high profile attorney with clients like Mike Tyson, will be giving the talk on hazing next semester. They plan on obeying the rules of their probation to the letter and moving on.
Marie Owumi, from Delta, Nigeria, is an undecided freshman in Illinois College, considering a double major in Management and Organizational Leadership and Communication and Rhetorical Studies. Marie is a writer for The Rambler and is also a member of the Gamma Delta, SAB, Newman Club, and BSU.