Hazing, lake party, Kappa-Alpha quarrel among incidents documented
Editor’s note: Quotes and information cited in this article were obtained through an open records request submitted to the Office of Legal Affairs.
Investigations into Kappa Sigma’s involvement in questionable and inappropriate incidents stretch back almost two years. Documents obtained by the Colonnade show that the fraternity’s recent four-year ban from campus comes as punishment for a pattern of bad behavior.
Kappa Sigma brothers forced pledges to clean the fraternity’s house and yelled at them when they answered fraternity-related questions incorrectly, according to findings by Tom Miles, GC’s director of campus life.
Brothers also called pledges in the middle of the night to run errands even forcing them to buy them gas.
An episode of verbal and physical abuse of a pledge also came to light during Miles’ investigation.
The pledge said he and others were once blindfolded and taken to a field in Milledgeville at 3 a.m. where fraternity members poured beer on them.
They were “pulled through briars and made to stand on a plank and recite fraternity information,” Miles’ report said, noting that “pledges were lined up, cursed, punched, kicked, spit on.”
Kappa Sigma denied responsibility for hazing during the hearing held June 21, but was found responsible based on Miles’ investigation. The university based its guilty ruling on multiple pledges coming forward to Miles with similar stories though they “could have lied to bury allegations,” according to sanction documents.
A party on Lake Sinclair held Aug. 20, 2011, came under investigation as a result of an email sent to Reese Cohn, vice-president of fraternity and sorority life. The email was written by a recent GC graduate who went to the party. She identified herself to university officials, but her name was omitted from the public record. She related the party as of 3 p.m. that day.
“There was a young woman passed out on the sofa inside, and another outside, in plainview of the party scene, being assisted by her friends while vomiting,” the alumna’s account noted. “Those who were not yet incapacitated or seen vomiting were extremely vulnerable to sexual misconduct of the worst kind … It would not be stretching the truth to say that this past weekend, someone could have died.”
In a letter of response, Kappa Sigma stated the party was planned to “ensure a safe environment for all in attendance” and was approved by the fraternity’s legal commission and risk management team. The letter also mentioned a donation of 300 pounds of canned goods to the Middle Georgia Food Bank as a result of the party.
During the hearing, Kappa Sigma took responsibility for the party and not following university policies. It was also noted that a member of Kappa Sigma posted an open-invitation to the party and invited everyone to “come and get drunk.” Kappa Sigma will no longer have lake parties.
Kappa Sigma-Kappa Alpha
Investigations of 15 Kappa Sigma brothers invading Kappa Alpha’s house shortly preceded the party and provoked university concern.
“As the second incident in six months creating passionate outcry from unaffiliated students, I’m concerned about how Kappa Sigma’s actions continue to reflect the Georgia College Greek community as a whole,” Reese Cohn said.
According to the police report, Kappa Sigma illegally entered Kappa Alpha’s house, pushed the only KA brother at the residence to the rear of the house for detainment, broke a large composite photograph collage, stole another composite and broke two lawn chairs.
In a letter to the university, Skip Seda, off-campus advisor to Kappa Alpha, commented on the incident.
“Make no mistake, this was not a prank, this was a crime and it was premeditated,” Seda said. Not one individual Kappa Sigma involved went into that house believing nothing would happen. The intent was to intimidate and destroy, and that was the result.”
In a later email, he stated that he regretted the tone of his initial letter. During investigations before the hearing, Cohn recounted a meeting with a Kappa Sigma who related that a majority of the guys that went to the Kappa Alpha house had no idea what they were getting involved in.
In an email with Tom Miles, Cohn said, “I’m concerned that fraternity men who generally play by the rules may lose control on a Thursday night and take matters into their own hands if we don’t intervene this time.”
Cohn proposed expulsion from the chapter for all members involved in the incident, full restitution for all damages caused against KA and a four-year, tenuous probation that, if violated, would result in permanent closing of the Kappa Sigma chapter. After an appeal by Kappa Sigma, all sanctions were voided except for repayment to Kappa Alpha.
During the hearing, Kappa Sigma took responsibility for trespassing, stealing and damaging KA property, but denied responsibility for assault and detainment. They were found guilty of assault but acquitted of charges of detainment.
Negative accounts of the GC chapter of Kappa Sigma are numerous. Brothers intruded on a private social event at Velvet Elvis and would not leave when asked.
In a handwritten note submitted during the hearing, an attendee of the evemnt said “they displayed a notion of being above our organizations and their refusal to cooperate is a major red flag that appears to be just the tip of the iceberg.”
Another member related the same event also in a handwritten note and added that Kappa Sigma acted poorly during rush “because every brother in the house I talked to was drunk and you could tell just looking at them. It’s a problem when you tell rushees and everyone else that it’s a dry rush then there is only one that doesn’t follow the rules.”
Representatives for the other five fraternities on the Interfraternity Council met in March of 2012 and stated, of Kappa Sigma, “They haze and they don’t do a good job of keeping it secret.”
The representatives were vocal about their opinions of Kappa Sigma: “not a month goes by that Kappa Sigma doesn’t cause a black eye for the Greek system … their recruitment needs to be stopped, their pledge process needs to be stopped – they need to be kept from taking great guys and turning them into gangsters … we’re representatives from every other GC chapter, and we unanimously believe that having an organization like Kappa Sigma is not in the best interests of the university or the Greek system.”