Student Life to review Sig Phi

The Sigma Phi fraternity  was put on further social probation following a fundraising event cosponsored by SHORE benefitting former member Derek Schueler’s foundation.

The event, which included a boat cruise on Lake Champlain, was held a month after Schueler’s death in August and all proceeds benefitted Burlington Community Sailing, junior Nick Chappel and member of Sigma Phi, said. 

The group was on social probation for the entire 2012-2013 academic year and is currently still on it this semester following an insufficient fraternity GPA, which led to them being placed on academic probation, Chappel said.

Following the fundraiser,  fraternity president John Wohlgemuth met with Director of Student Life Patrick Brown to discuss the nature of the event Oct. 10. 

“He basically said ‘I understand, just next time you do something like that talk to me beforehand’,” Chappel said. 

Shortly after the meeting Wohlgemuth received an email from Brown stating the group’s probation would be extended into the 2014 spring semester.

“Although the event was ostensibly charitable in nature, it included alcohol and presented a significant social opportunity for the brothers,” Brown said in the email. “During our meeting you confirmed that the event was an official Sigma Phi event (cosponsored by SHORE) and that it was in fact a social event.”

All profit from the bar on the boat did not go to Sigma Phi, Chappel said. 

A total of 125 tickets were sold for $20 each, 12 of which were purchased by Sigma Phi members. The rest were sold to Schueler’s friends, family and the UVM and Burlington community, Chappel said. 

Although the group was punished for hosting a social event while under social probation, UVM is among only a few universities nationwide that do not have specific definitions of a social event in Greek Life, junior Ty Williams, president of the Inter Fraternity Council said. 

“[Because] UVM doesn’t have a set rule on what a social event is, they have that power to say whatever they want and accuse whoever they want on what a social event is,” Chappel said. “Either way, win or lose I’m going to say we need to figure this out or everyone is going to keep having an ambiguous feeling about what a social event is.”

Members of the fraternity met with Brown and other members of the administration Tuesday to discuss the group’s probation and plan to meet again Nov. 1, Chappel said, but results were not available before print time. 

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