Cal Poly’s chapter of Delta Sigma Phi is on social probation after an investigation into alleged misconduct at a party earlier this month, according to Cal Poly Student Life and Leadership director Stephan Lamb.
Lamb dealt the sanctions after consulting with the fraternity’s national headquarters. He determined its punishment to be appropriate after ongoing discussions with the Delta Sigma Phi’s executive director. The sanctions will disallow the organization from participating in any alcohol-related activities until members vacate the property where the party occurred at the end of the quarter.
“I love it when the national takes the role of responsibility and says, ‘No, this conduct is not appropriate; it is not what we expect from our men,'” he said.
Cal Poly has seen problems at Monte Vista Place apartment for years, dating back to when another fraternity owned the apartments before its disaffiliation, Lamb said. After the Delta Sigma Phi members move out of the property, the Delta Chi fraternity will take it over. Lamb said he plans to work with Delta Chi to ensure there are no further problems there.
“My biggest concern with all of this is I want Monte Vista being looked at until these guys move out,” he said.
Delta Sigma Phi came into the spotlight on April 6 when Lamb initiated an investigation into the fraternity’s involvement with a party the night before. A police report sent to Lamb from that night detailed a 300-person party with four citations for unruly gatherings and two arrests, including one for driving under the influence.
Those who took part in the investigation said the Delta Sigma Phi executive board was cooperative with the investigation and did not dispute any of the police report. Lamb said the police’s account of the incident was specific, so there was not room for fraternity leaders to dispute it.
The police report initially cited Phi Sigma Kappa as the fraternity connected to the party, but greek life director Diego Silva said his familiarity with the Monte Vista Place apartments led him to believe Delta Sigma Phi had a more significant involvement. Though both fraternities were immediately given cease-and-desist orders, Phi Sigma Kappa was acquitted and the status was removed.
Lamb said through joint investigations with Delta Sigma Phi’s headquarters, the offices concluded the fraternity violated its risk management policies by hosting an open party at Monte Vista Place. But Thomas Maher, Interfraternity Council judicial chair, said the incident was isolated, and he does not expect anything similar to happen in the future.
“I honestly think it was a very minor incident,” Maher said. “We’re taking the right measures.”
The Cal Poly Interfraternity Council conducted its own side-by-side investigation into the party and made a recommendation to Lamb’s office on Tuesday. Maher said it was important to the council that the fraternity was not solely punished but also educated on risk management and prevention.
“What we wanted to do was bring it to a positive light and set benchmarks,” Maher said.
University Police Department (UPD) officers who responded to the party on April 5 chose to recommend their report be sent to the Office of Student Life and Leadership, which then initiated the investigation, UPD chief Bill Watton said. It is standard protocol to send a report to a university department when officers observe illegal behavior that could be affiliated with a university group, such as a fraternity, Watton said.
What is difficult, however, is determining when an event such as a party is connected to a campus group. Watton said there are several criteria his office looks at when evaluating if a report needs to be sent to the school, but ultimately, any punishment is left up to the on-campus office.
“A fraternity may have a party, but they just call it a house party,” Watton said. “Unless we can show it’s a fraternity event, then we can’t really do anything with the university.”
Delta Sigma Phi is the second greek organization to face punishment this academic year. The Alpha Phi sorority came under investigation during fall when an ex-pledge was transported to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center after drinking with members of the sorority the night after she received her sorority bid.
Alpha Phi was sentenced to a five-month suspension for what Lamb said was a violation of the education code’s hazing policy. The sorority was let off its social probation in late March.
Delta Sigma Phi president Michael Kuelpman declined to comment on the suspension as of press time. More details will be available from the fraternity’s national board later today.