MTSU Sigma Pi members accused of sexist remarks

Members of MTSU’s Theta Omega chapter of Sigma Pi are being accused of making “de-humanizing” remarks in messages apparently sent between members.

Sidelines received screenshots of what appears to be the messaging app GroupMe in which members of the Theta Omega Sigma Pi chapter exchanged messages demeaning to women. The chapter was briefly suspended earlier in the semester after a controversial banner was hung from the group’s off-campus house which resulted in the discipline of individual members found responsible.

All names listed in the exchanges match the names of current fraternity members, according to the fraternity’s active roster provided by the office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

In one of the screenshots, fraternity member Jacob Stolze wrote, “Women are property she doesn’t have a say,” to which member Derrick Barker wrote, “True.”

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In another screenshot, fraternity member Conner Chrisman wrote, “I can get her the drunkest and then we can all get a round.”

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Among members appearing to make these comments is recently appointed chapter president Kenneth Honeycutt. Honeycutt wrote, “The alphas need to learn to start poppin that shaweet Puwsay anyway.”

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Another member, David Gravitt, wrote “We’re not ΣΝ,” apparently referencing the Theta Iota Sigma Nu chapter, which was recently removed from MTSU until 2019 after numerous hazing and alcohol violations this year. In response to the Sigma Nu comment, Honeycutt wrote “Too soon,” another member, Patrick May, wrote “Chill,” and Barker responded, “No we just don’t get caught.”

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Among the other comments made, member Grant Grady suggested an application for dates based off of the girls’ ability/willingness to “throw hella ass.”

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In unknown context, Stolze also wrote to the group “Stealing cones, hazing and offering 18 year old girls campus tours,” and Barker shared a photo of two women, one with the fraternity’s letters painted on her butt and the other with the letters painted on her breasts.

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The images were emailed to Sidelines and include names/photos of the members who allegedly sent the messages. The source of the images, who is going by the name “Lindsey Chili,” believes that these messages are contributing to the rape culture on campus. Sidelines was unable to verify the identity of the source who has not responded to our request for an interview.

“Fraternity members of Sigma Pi at MTSU are once again objectifying and de-humanizing women as well as approving of and making humor of basically raping women who have been drinking,” Chili wrote. “This fraternity violates all standards- they certainly do not compose a fraternity of gentlemen. I just wanted to bring all of the above to your attention in hopes this culture of behavior will stop.”

Sigma Pi National Interim Executive Director Jason Walker was made aware of the allegations and released the following to  Sidelines,

Thank you for your inquiry into this situation with our Theta-Omega Chapter at Middle Tennessee State University.

At this time we are working closely with the University to investigate the items shared with you as well as the University. Sigma Pi Fraternity holds its members to the highest standards of upholding our values and we will take appropriate action when the investigation is concluded.

Sidelines also reached out to the fraternity chapter, MTSU’s office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, the individual members and the university for comment, but has not yet heard from any of the organizations.


Updates:

The MTSU Interfraternity Council responded with a statement on Wednesday afternoon saying:

“On Dec. 15, 2015, members of the Theta-Omega Chapter of Sigma Pi at Middle Tennessee State University were accused of conduct unbecoming of fraternity men and members of our community. Select members of the chapter have been called into question for allegedly exchanging messages demeaning to women on the group messaging app, GroupMe.

The Interfraternity Council of MTSU does not condone such behaviors. The council values the diversity of our community, and strives to promote a safe environment for all.

MTSU Judicial Affairs and Sigma Pi Fraternity are working alongside each other to investigate the messages called into question and will take appropriate action upon completion of the investigation.

The Interfraternity Council of MTSU strives to provide transparency with members of the Fraternity and Sorority Life community in an effort to maintain an understanding of recent events.

More information will be released concerning the matter once it becomes available.”

MTSU Interfraternity Council responded Tuesday night with a tweet:

 

The Theta Omega chapter of Sigma Pi was put on disciplinary probation by  Middle Tennessee State University on January 12, following sexist remarks apparently made by brothers and leadership of the fraternity.

The university did not release a formal statement regarding the disciplinary actions taken. Sidelinesreceived the letter of sanctions from Judicial Affairs along with other disciplinary information pertaining to a separate story.

According to these documents, the chapter is on disciplinary probation for threatening or disruptive conduct, disorderly conduct, and alcoholic beverages.

“These sanctions are a direct result of the alcohol violations and negative occurring within the Sigma Pi chapter,” Amanda Samsel, coordinator of judicial affairs and mediation services at MTSU, wrote. “The demeaning attitudes towards women and the rampant alcohol abuse uncovered is not appropriate, nor does it represent MTSU or the Greek community. You are reinforcing negative stereotypes that have plagued fraternities for years. Be better. Do better.”

Along with the disciplinary probation, the chapter is facing educational sanctions requiring apology letters to all campus sororities and the Greek community as a whole, a required partnership with the June Anderson Women’s Center and is required to host and attend a series of speakers on the topics such as hyper masculinity and perpetuating negative stereotypes.

After suggesting a formal membership review, Samsel recommends the chapter reconsider members of leadership.

“I am strongly recommending that some of your current leadership consider stepping down. This is not being mandated, but again, this is something I think the chapter should strongly consider,” Samsel wrote. “Fraternity officers are supposed to be the moral and ethical leaders of one’s organization. Does the chapter feel as if they have the right men in the right positions?”

Jason Walker, interim executive director of  the International Executive Office of Sigma Pi, told Sidelines on January 19 that the organization had no further information to share regarding the accusations.

On February 5, Walker told Sidelines that Sigma Pi International would not be taking any disciplinary action against the chapter.

To contact News editor Amanda Freuler email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com

For more campus news follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines

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33 Responses

Leave a Reply
  1. Guest User
    Dec 15, 2015 - 05:48 PM

    Can we just get rid of greek row already?

    Reply
    • Guest
      Dec 16, 2015 - 11:42 PM

      Why would we do that? Greek Row now houses 6 wonderful sororities who represent this University well and have for many, many years. We should get rid of a row of women who raise thousands of dollars, serve in numerous leadership roles on campus, excell academically and are award winning chapters on a national and international level?

      Reply
  2. Lindsey Chili
    Dec 15, 2015 - 09:03 PM

    The comment that said “We can get her the drunkest and all get a round”was followed by “Hahahahaha only joking” How convenient that was left OUT!! If someone took your phone, made screen shots of private conversations you had with your friends then posted them publicly, what might they look like ladies? Yes, I am a female and I tell you, I wouldn’t want mine posted. How many penis picks have we sent? How many JOKING comments have we made about men in our private conversations? SERIOUSLY

    Reply
    • Sarah Grace Taylor | Managing Editor
      Dec 15, 2015 - 09:19 PM

      If that’s the case, can we see proof of the follow-up comment? What we received did not include any sort of reply to the comment and I’d like to be as accurate as possible. Anything you know will help. Please email me at managing editor@mtsusidelines.com if you have any information to share.

      Reply
      • Greek Executive
        Dec 16, 2015 - 07:27 PM

        You don’t deserve proof. These groupme conversations were meant to be behind closed doors, only accessible to those in the group. It’s an invasion of the organization’s privacy, and yes they are entitled to that. Having a bad culture is not a crime, the only thing they are guilty of is breaking their chapter’s confidentiality obligations. From the looks of it they do need to do some growing up, but that’s just what it is, APPEARANCES. If the president of an organization is saying anything at all it is most likely to improve morale (just my opinion). No one has the right to define the context of these few PRIVATE posts. Nor do they deserve to know for themselves.

        Reply
        • Emily
          Dec 17, 2015 - 07:31 AM

          “You don’t deserve proof.”
          Reality: you just made that up and there is no proof.
          If you think for even a second that this kind of behavior should continue then you are part of the problem. Campus rape is a very big problem and not too long ago a fraternity leader allegedly raped someone and impersonated a police officer. Whoever came forward with these screenshots deserves an award, because change will never happen until we make it happen. Standing silent just means behavior like this is okay and condoned. No, this isn’t how fraternities are supposed to act and they should have to answer for their poor actions.

          Reply
          • Nope
            Jan 08, 2016 - 09:45 PM

            Rape can happen anywhere. Rapes can happen in a bar, hotel, ANYWHERE. I don’t understand how labeling something a rape culture make it OFFICIALLY a rape culture. So I want you to know, everytime you go to have a drink or go to a bar or go anywhere you CAN AND MAYBE RAPED. Just think about it. THINK.

      • Anyonymous
        Dec 17, 2015 - 02:45 PM

        You should be sure of the whole story before you go posting people’s names…honestly you should be ashamed because you could have ruined some of those people’s images or lives over something that they didn’t even mean. People who know “just enough” are the most dangerous type of people because they can do something like ruin someone’s college experience at the cost of nothing to yourself and you don’t even check to make sure. Whatever way you made this seem okay in your mind, you are wrong and should be ashamed. I am a fellow journalist at a REAL paper and this disgusts me.

        Reply
  3. Anonymous
    Dec 16, 2015 - 10:58 AM

    It’s funny how y’all are talking about rape culture and de-humanizing women and yet y’all post a degrading picture of women along with this story. How disappointing.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous
    Dec 16, 2015 - 12:49 PM

    I am a female and don’t know any of the people mentioned- but I think it is inappropriate and should/may be illegal to post their names and photos in this article. You only included bits and pieces from the conversation- not the entire convo. Yes, what these boys did was wrong, dehumanizing, and completely inappropriate. But is is right to bash them in this article? This could prevent them from getting jobs in the future. What goes on the internet stays forever. It’s not right to ruin their lives, stuff like this happens allllll the time. How would you feel if your convos were posted in a “news article’ without being able to defend yourself. At least include the entire convo. THIS is bullying.

    Reply
    • Sarah Grace Taylor | Managing Editor
      Dec 16, 2015 - 01:41 PM

      We did reach out to them so that they could “defend themselves” but they did not and have not gotten back with us. As soon as they give us something else, we will gladly update the story. Additionally, every part of the conversation we received was used. We didn’t crop or cut out comments, this is what we were given. Again, if you, one of the accused or anyone else has anything to add, I encourage you to email me at managingeditor@mtsusidelines.com or our editor in chief at editor@mtsusidelines.com and we will gladly update the article to reflect any additional information. Thank you.

      Reply
      • Guest
        Dec 17, 2015 - 12:02 AM

        Can positive news and press releases about all the great things Greeks are doing be sent to these same emails? If so, will you actually post these stories or will it not be “juicy” enough? Not trying to be rude. That’s a serious question.

        Reply
        • Sarah Grace Taylor | Managing Editor
          Dec 17, 2015 - 01:06 AM

          Yes! We will consider anything you send us, and decide what to cover on a case-by-case basis. We also plan on having a running events calendar next semester and all campus organizations, Greek and otherwise, would be encouraged to share their upcoming events with us so they can be included.

          Reply
    • Emily
      Dec 16, 2015 - 06:59 PM

      So this is bullying, but rape jokes/threats are okay apparently and shouldn’t have consquences? sounds about right.

      This isn’t bashing. It’s reporting facts.

      Reply
  5. Guest User
    Dec 16, 2015 - 02:24 PM

    Sidelines is a super feminist paper now. Also you guys will do anything to take down Greek life. This is why people don’t take you seriously.

    Reply
    • Emily
      Dec 16, 2015 - 07:01 PM

      News flash: Greek people raping, robbing, hazing, etc isn’t trying to take them down. They’re doing that on their own. Sidelines just reported it.

      Reply
      • Guest
        Dec 16, 2015 - 11:55 PM

        I am not saying that these comments are okay. Actually, they are mortifying, immature and extremely tasteless. But I think your comments are a little strong. By “Greek people” do you mean fraternity guys because it’s a shame that sorority women get pulled into this? Yes, fraternities on this campus (and all over) haze, and it’s not okay. But rape and rob? Where are you getting this from? The immature and disgusting jokes you see above? While tasteless, it doesn’t mean that “Greek people” are raping people.

        Reply
        • Emily
          Dec 17, 2015 - 07:39 AM

          http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/crime/2015/11/17/mtsu-frat-leader-faces-rape-impersonating-officer-charges/75944742/

          I got it front the Tennesseean. An MTSU fraternity leader allegedly raped someone, robbed, and impressed a police officer. So no, me saying that is not extreme. Do I think all Greek life is like that? No, I don’t immediately judge them all right off the bat. My brother-in-law was in a fraternity and he’s an amazing guy. But I do think that there is a problem in some of the fraternities that needs to be handled. Thay kind of toxic environment should not be allowed to continue in that fraternity. This isn’t the first problem they’ve had with them demeaning women on campus. That’s not what their values should be about and we shouldn’t condone this behavior.

          Reply
          • Anonymous
            Dec 17, 2015 - 02:09 PM

            Just so you know that “Frat” leader in the story is a member of NPHC and not IFC. Two different types of organizations.

  6. Jo jonas
    Dec 17, 2015 - 06:26 AM

    Don’t really see the big deal I know I say worst things in my group messages, but no one else cares, probably because I’m not frat. Can’t seem to understand why we attack fraternities so much. This is just a liberal feminist paper, no wonder why they have a sophomore writing articles, aren’t you still in gen Ed English? And my last note aren’t you the one dehumanizeing women by posting that pic? So you are basically the equivalent of old row? This article was very unethical and porly written, people should
    Take it for what it is.

    Reply
    • Jay
      Dec 18, 2015 - 08:34 AM

      So it’s okay if they are dirtballs because you are a dirtball too?

      ” . . . And no one else cares . . . “. I think you mean to say “and me and my close knit circle of dirtballs don’t care . . .”

      Reply
  7. Jack Frost
    Dec 17, 2015 - 01:37 PM

    Taking screenshots out of context from a private group’s messages that are so obviously jokes and posting their full names is such a classless move by this paper. Slandering these kids’ names, what a poor excuse for journalism

    Reply
  8. Frank
    Dec 17, 2015 - 02:22 PM

    Everyone who has commented, I have a question. When you are speaking with your friends at someone’s house or apartment, or you are texting a friend, do you sometimes say ridiculous and over the top stuff? Of course you do. I do, we all do.
    They were being immature & dumb, but they were feeding off each other trying to be funny and NEVER thought anyone else would see it and it was never intended to be read by anyone. They are not rapist’s. They are college men who are full of hormones but unfortunately some are short on brains or tact. It happens everywhere, all across this campus and campuses all over the country. Women make inappropriate comments, men do…it happens. I think a much bigger issue here is this invasion of privacy. I realize with the internet that everything on social media is open and available, but this seems to cross the line. And posting students full names? That also seems to be a violation of privacy.
    Funny…this same Chapter did get in trouble for hanging a banner, to get a laugh but today that is “fueling the rape culture”. 3 years ago when they first did it, no news story and people laughed. It was funny. Most gentlemen take care of any & every women that walks in a Chapter house at MTSU or any Chapter house across the land.

    But being PC is the new “new”, so it is what it is, but that same Chapter that hung the banner? They also had bible study the night before that had 20 people at it. Just don’t judge a book by its’ cover please. Ignorant? Immature? Of course. But this was said to each other to be over the top, nothing more. Food for thought but I know everyone has their opinions.

    Reply
    • Chris
      Dec 18, 2015 - 09:07 AM

      So what if these tweets said instead; “(N-word)s are property they don’t have a say,”

      How about, “I can get that Jew the drunkest and then we can all get a round.” (presumably beating or robbing him)

      How about ““The alphas need to learn to start poppin that shaweet four year old Puwsay anyway.”

      Let me ask you, if these tweets involved say, joking about killing Jews, raping children, murdering gay people — would you be okay with that? Would it be any of our business? Even if it were never intended to be read by anyone outside the (organized, school-approved) group? A group that is funded in part by student fees?

      But because these comments are directed at women, you don’t even see how horrible they are. You are THAT used to it. Rape culture. You’re soaking in it.

      Reply
      • Judith
        Dec 18, 2015 - 03:33 PM

        But they don’t. Apples to oranges Chris.

        Reply
        • Chris
          Dec 18, 2015 - 03:43 PM

          What are you even trying to say here? Apples are not oranges? Women are not humans? It’s okay to joke about raping women but not children?

          Reply
      • Just Saying
        Feb 08, 2016 - 01:29 PM

        As a member of a Greek organization, I can say with full confidence that no chapter in Greek life is “funded in part by student fees.” We all pay dues and none of any chapter’s funding is pulled from anywhere except members’ pockets. Just want to get that cleared up for anyone reading this thread.

        Reply
        • Chris
          Feb 09, 2016 - 03:49 AM

          Thank you for clearing up that extremely crucial and important point.

          Reply
  9. Chris
    Dec 18, 2015 - 09:24 AM

    This is part of a comment below, but I would like more people to see it. Let me ask you this:

    What if these tweets said instead; “(N-word)s are property they don’t have a say,”

    How about, “I can get that Jew the drunkest and then we can all get a round.” (presumably beating or robbing him)

    How about ““The alphas need to learn to start poppin that shaweet four year old Puwsay anyway.”

    Random, casual joking about killing Jews, raping children, murdering gay people — would you be okay with that? Would it be any of our business? Even if it were never intended to be read by anyone outside the (organized, school-approved) group? A group that is funded in part by student fees?

    Is a woman less of a full human being than a black, gay, or Jewish person? Or a child?

    Because these comments are directed at women, you don’t even see how horrible they are. You are THAT used to it. Rape culture. You’re soaking in it.

    Reply
  10. Chris
    Dec 18, 2015 - 10:00 AM

    This is part of a comment below, but I would like more people to see it. Let me ask you this:

    What if these tweets said instead; “(N-word)s are property they don’t have a say,”

    How about, “I can get that Jew the drunkest and then we can all get a round.” (presumably beating or robbing him)

    How about ““The alphas need to learn to start poppin that shaweet four year old Puwsay anyway.”

    Random, casual joking about killing Jews, raping children, murdering gay people — would you be okay with that? Would it be any of our business? Even if it were never intended to be read by anyone outside the (organized, school-approved) group? A group that is funded in part by student fees?

    Is a woman less of a full human being than a black, gay, or Jewish person? Or a child?

    Because these comments are directed at women, you don’t even see how horrible they are. You are THAT used to it. Rape culture. You’re soaking in it.

    Reply
    • Nope
      Jan 08, 2016 - 09:41 PM

      HOLD UP. These groups are not funded by student fees. These groups are funded by there own selves and in fact the university has no say in their housing and who they can have live in the house. According to your statement, you just used the most ILLOGICAL nonsense you can find. Yes, people make jokes and are considered racist, but in the end, who are you to judge? Have you ever made a joke about someone and not have a laugh? Maybe you called someone fat or made fun of a little kid, whatever you did was wrong, but no one is questioning you. To this statement, rape culture does exist in bars, hotels, gangs, strip clubs, AND ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE ELSE. Just because it’s labeled as a rape culture does not make it one.

      Reply
      • Chris
        Jan 09, 2016 - 12:49 PM

        I’m kind of astounded you are actually in college.

        Reply
  11. Anon
    Dec 19, 2015 - 01:53 AM

    I am absolutely repulsed by this entire article. You exposed these gentlemen and the women in the pictures. YOU are contributing to the dehumanization of women. You exposed personal conversations with names. Classless, embarrassing, and unprofessional on your part. I can guarantee that nearly all people, yourself included, has skeletons hidden amongst your text messages. I know for a fact that women talk the exact same way about men, but apparently, there is no issue there. Sexism works both ways. From a female’s perspective who has been around these men intoxicated, they are the most respectful group of men on campus regarding drunk women and their conscious actions. Mature, no. Courteous, yes. They go above and beyond to keep everyone safe. Dig a little deeper and try to avoid bias in your articles, and just maybe, you could finally find some respect and success as a writer and an editor.

    Reply

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