A sorority that was recently de-recognized for hazing its pledges is actively recruiting new members.
Such activities violate the intent of the University sanction, but the sorority isn’t technically doing anything wrong, according to Rodney Mondor, assistant director for Student Involvement and Greek Affairs.
“One of the things is that we have freedom of association,” said Mondor. “A group can go around and say who they are. The issue is they’re not a recognized group, so they’re a group of women wearing the same letters of their shirts.”
The University cut all official ties from Sigma Iota Sigma last semester until January of 2003, following accusations that sisters left pledges alone in the woods and made others dress in scanty outfits and rent adult videos.
The period of de-recognition was intended to prevent the sorority from growing and using University resources for a year and a half, according to Mondor.
But the sorority’s president Sara Poulin said her group has had rush events in the last month and will induct new sisters soon, but wouldn’t say how many.
“We’re still here. We haven’t gone anywhere,” said Poulin. “We’re still an established organization.”
Mondor said Sigma Iota Sigma has in effect, has gone “underground” to attract new members. He said the sorority is relying on word of mouth to publicize rush events because it’s barred from posting any materials on campus that show its name. He also said he’s recently spoken to women who admitted being new members of the sorority.
“I can make the assumption there is rushing going on in an underground sense,” said Mondor.
De-recognition bars the sorority from using University property to house such events, but Sigma Iota Sigma occupies a private home off University grounds.
“What they cannot do as the result of de-recognition is put on events and use resources that identify themselves as the USM chapter of Sigma Iota Sigma,” said Vice President for Student Development Craig Hutchinson. “There’s a fine line. But essentially what they’re doing is not wrong . they are a bunch of women who are living in an off-campus house and are free to do what they want.”
Hutchinson said there’s no official action being taken by the University resulting from Sigma Iota Sigma’s actions.
Mondor said there could be consequences down the line for the sorority if it tries to reapply for recognition in January of 2003.
“I think it could make it difficult to reapply,” he said.
Poulin said her sorority plans to apply for recognition as soon as it’s able.
Mondor said that aside from not being able to promote events on campus, de-recognition prevents the sorority from being able to rely on the University if any problems should arise.
“If an organization was underground and something was to happen and somebody came to us, there’s nothing I could do,” said Mondor. “I’d say go file a police report.”
He said there are advantages to belonging to a Greek organization with University ties.
“Do you want a group that’s connected with the University that’s legit? It depends on what you’re looking for from your experience.”
Executive Editor Steve Peoples can be contacted at: [email protected]