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Chi Omega Suspended
For Hazing Violations

The charter of Sigma Theta Chapter of Chi Omega Fraternity at Sam Houston State University has been suspended and the chapter's campus headquarters closed.

The actions were taken as the result of investigations into hazing incidents that occurred during the fall of 1999. The investigations were undertaken after a complaint was filed by a Chi Omega new member in July, 2000. That student has since enrolled in another university.

The investigations revealed no death or physical injury treated by a community medical facility.

The investigations were conducted by Sam Houston State University and the Chi Omega National Organization. Chi Omega is a women's fraternal organization which counts membership of 240,000 and more than 170 collegiate chapters.

"The result of investigations by the national office of Chi Omega and the office of Student Life at Sam Houston State University is a finding that hazing occurred according to the national Chi Omega standards," said James Gibson, interim associate vice president for student services and dean of student life at Sam Houston State. "Suspension means that they are closed."

Mary Ann Fruge', Chi Omega national president, said that "Chi Omega Fraternity takes seriously any report of hazing and investigates any such report."

"Chi Omega seeks to foster mutual respect for all members," said Fruge'. "Thus hazing has no place in Chi Omega. In addition, Chi Omega has found that the chapter failed to adhere to Chi Omega procedures."

Fruge' said that the national office's investigation included several visits to the SHSU campus, communications with the university administration and chapter adviser, and personal interviews with chapter members.

Gibson said that the 33 Chi Omega members who live in the organization residence hall will be allowed to remain there if they wish. They have also been offered the opportunity to relocate to other campus housing.

The Chi Omega national organization will give all current members of the Sigma Theta Chapter the opportunity to be considered for alumna status. Members who joined this fall will be given the choice of initiation into Chi Omega and becoming an alumna when their classes graduate or being released from Chi Omega and becoming eligible to accept bids from another women's fraternal organization.

Gibson and Fruge' both emphasized that in the future Chi Omega could return to the SHSU campus if it is in the best interest of both.

"Sam Houston State University regrets this investigation and action," said Gibson. "However, under university guidelines Sam Houston State University does not permit or condone hazing by any organization."

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
September 26, 2000
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