Underground frat members threatened with legal action for posing as Kappa Sigma
A group of Ohio State students representing themselves as members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity did so without the authority of the national chapter and could face legal action if they continue, according to a Thursday press release.
Kappa Sigma’s Supreme Executive Committee closed its Ohio State chapter July 8, 2020, for violating the fraternity’s code of conduct, according to the press release. The chapter lost its student organization status after being charged with hazing by the university July 6, according to sorority and fraternity life disciplinary records.
The Code of Student Conduct defines hazing as “doing, requiring or encouraging any act, whether or not the act is voluntarily agreed upon, in conjunction with initiation or continued membership or participation in any group, that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm or humiliation.”
“Any student at Ohio State University who states that they are a member of a Kappa Sigma Chapter operating on the Ohio State University campus is doing so under false pretenses. This will not be tolerated by the Kappa Sigma Fraternity,” Kappa Sigma Fraternity Executive Director Mitchell Wilson said in the release.
Related: A cycle of sanctions: How repeatedly disciplined fraternities stay on campus
Fraternities have been a part of Ohio State’s campus since the late 1800s, and in the more than 100 years since their establishment, nothing has ever caused the university to remove a frat from campus — not even death.
Only chartered chapters of the fraternity are able to use its name, according to the release. Kappa Sigma will not have an authorized Ohio State chapter until 2024.
Ryan Sheffield, a fourth-year in business and president of the Interfraternity Council at Ohio State, said Kappa Sigma is one of several fraternities still operating despite no longer being recognized by the university or national organizations.
“Unfortunately, Ohio State has multiple former fraternities operating in the off-campus area and attempting to recruit new members,” Sheffield said.
Sheffield said because these groups are not affiliated with the university, they do not fall under Code of Student Conduct or national or international organization safety standards. By not being recognized by the university or national or international organizations, Sheffield said unregistered groups lose out on significant benefits, such as funding.
“These unrecognized groups are a serious risk to anyone that associates with them and have been known to be associated with sexual misconduct, illegal drug use, physical hazing, endangerment of others, crime and personal injury,” Sheffield said.
Sheffield said activities of unregistered organizations can be reported here.
The Ohio State chapter of Kappa Sigma was charged with violation of the university’s alcohol policy and endangering behavior Oct. 4, 2019, and were placed on disciplinary probation and deferred revocation of registration through May 7, 2023, according to the disciplinary records. They were prohibited from hosting any events with alcohol until Jan. 15, 2022.
In February 2018, Kappa Sigma was charged with alcohol violations and placed on disciplinary probation until Dec. 16, 2018, according to the disciplinary records.
The Kappa Sigma national organization’s announcement comes after another Ohio State fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, resigned its national charter following a university investigation that resulted in the revocation of its student organization status Wednesday.
Sheffield said the fraternity, commonly known as Pike, was under investigation for Code of Student Conduct violations for an event the fraternity held in October.
Two other Ohio State fraternities, Alpha Tau Omega and Acacia, were placed on interim suspension Jan. 22 for endangering behavior, failure to comply with university or civil authority and violating university rules, state, federal and local laws, according to the disciplinary records. Acacia has also been charged with student conduct system abuse.
According to the Code of Student Conduct, endangering behavior involves taking or threatening action that jeopardizes the safety, health or life of a person or causes fear of such action. The code defines violating alcohol policy as “use, underage intoxication, production, distribution, sale, or possession of alcohol in a manner prohibited under law or applicable university policy or facility policy.”