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.”
In another screenshot, fraternity member Conner Chrisman wrote, “I can get her the drunkest and then we can all get a round.”
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.”
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.”
Among the other comments made, member Grant Grady suggested an application for dates based off of the girls’ ability/willingness to “throw hella ass.”
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.
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.
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:
— IFC MTSU (@IFCMTSU) December 16, 2015
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.
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