Interfraternity Council silent on sexual assault, hazing

Matt Kulling

Delta Chi, Sigma Phi Delta and the Triangle fraternities were all issued warnings by the Division of Student Affairs following incidents of sexual misconduct and hazing reported to the Department of Public Safety and the Milwaukee Police Department. Photos by Xidan Zhang / xidan.zhang@marquette.edu
Delta Chi, Sigma Phi Delta and the Triangle fraternities were all issued warnings by the Division of Student Affairs following incidents of sexual misconduct and hazing reported to the Department of Public Safety and the Milwaukee Police Department. Photos by Xidan Zhang / xidan.zhang@marquette.edu

Marquette Interfraternity Council was not prepared to comment on three separate cases of sexual assault and one case of hazing Monday, nearly two weeks after the Division of Student Affairs issued official warnings April 9.

Alex Landry, senior in College of Business Administration and president of IFC, said the group will be issuing a statement later this week.

Each incident was immediately reported to the Department of Public Safety and the Milwaukee Police Department, and the investigations are ongoing.

Marya Leatherwood, assistant vice president for student affairs, said in an email that the chapters of Triangle, Delta Chi and Sigma Phi Delta were issued warning for sexual misconduct with Sigma Phil Delta also receiving a warning for hazing.

The official warnings mean that any violations of either Greek policies or student codes of conduct will result in immediate suspension of all activities, pending the outcomes of an investigation into the incidents.

“We expect all of our students to uphold Marquette’s Catholic and Jesuit values and to contribute to a safe and respectful environment,” Leatherwood said in an email. “We take any allegation of misconduct extremely seriously.”

Russell Shaw, interim director for DPS, said hazing is a serious offense.

“Hazing is actually classified as a crime…  but there are different factors to every hazing situation,” Shaw said. “They usually have to deal with alcohol or something that could become dangerous or involves dangerous activities. In most cases, I guess you could say the victims don’t come forward to us, we usually get them for student affairs.”

In February 2012, six fraternities were placed on probation through the fall 2012 semester for alcohol-related violations. The fraternities were placed under social probation, meaning the fraternities could have no social events involving alcohol.

According to Marquette’s Greek Life risk management policy, all house parties must be registered with the IFC judicial vice presidents when a number of conditions are present. These conditions include if two or more chapters host or sponsor the event, if alcohol is present and if information about the event was distributed through chapter communication methods.

The Greek Life risk management policy defines hazing by putting it into several categories. This includes morally degrading or humiliating activities, the creation of fatigue, physical or psychological shocks, servitude, verbal abuse and activities which “would disrupt public order or tend to bring the fraternity into disrepute in the local community.

In a report released in February by the federal Office of Postsecondary Education, Marquette ranks third among Jesuit schools when it comes to sexual assault claims. Marquette’s 20 total forcible sex offenses reported form 2010 until 2012 rank behind Gonzaga University, which has 21 claims and a smaller student body size of 4,896. Fordham University experienced the highest number of reported sexual assaults with 23 claims and an undergrad population of 8,325.

Marquette made national headlines in 2010 when two female students accused Marquette student athletes of sexual assault. University officials said all the athletes were punished for breaking the student code of conduct and team rules, but none of them were barred from competition due to to the incident.