Lambda Chi Alpha has been suspended from campus until 2019 due to alcohol-related violations. Both Sam Houston State University and the national Lambda Chi Alpha organization issued suspensions.
According to Dean of Students John Yarabeck, Lambda Chi Alpha violated the Risk Management Guidelines found in the SHSU student handbook on more than one occasion last semester.
“They didn’t follow the risk management guidelines, specifically for parties with respect to alcohol and unfortunately there was a consequence with that where somebody had to go to the hospital for alcohol poisoning,” Yarabeck said. “It was a couple of those in about a one month period where they didn’t follow proper risk management guidelines last semester.”
According to Yarabeck, the student who suffered from alcohol poisoning is now well and back in school.
According to the Risk Management Guidelines, “all social events where alcohol is involved must be served by a licensed third party vendor” and have “appropriate security on the premises.” In addition, the guidelines also prohibit the purchasing of bulk quantity sources of alcoholic beverages, the co-sponsorship of an event with an alcohol distributer and the encouragement or toleration of drinking games involving alcoholic beverages.
The fraternity was suspended by SHSU until 2016 and by their national headquarters until 2019.
“That means they’re not recognized as an organization, they can’t meet on campus, they can’t promote themselves as an organization that’s recognized by the university, they can’t represent themselves on campus and in essence, they don’t exist anymore in the eyes of the university,” Yarabeck said. “Now, if they showed up in a shirt with their letters or something, we probably wouldn’t say anything but that would be a violation of their national policy and they actually could be sued for that if in fact their national organization wanted to do that and that is effective now.”
In addition to the suspension of Lambda Chi Alpha, the Delta Tau Delta and Theta Chi chapters at SHSU were also suspended from campus last semester.
“I just hope that people learn from this, I mean we had a very unfortunate semester with Greek life in terms of three fraternities losing their recognition for various reasons,” Yarabeck said. “We have these things in place for a reason and this is a good example of why because if you’re following proper risk management policies, it’s less likely that someone is going to be drinking to the point of alcohol poisoning and end up leaving your event and finding themselves in a bad way and have to go to the hospital.”
According to the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity national headquarters, the board of directors voted to suspend operations of the Sigma-Mu chapter at the SHSU pursuant to Article 8, Section 2 of the Fraternity’s Constitution effective Nov. 17, 2014. According to their fraternity’s constitution, under the terms of the suspension, the chapter members may not represent Lambda Chi Alpha, display any of the Fraternity’s emblems or symbols, or gather in the name of Lambda Chi Alpha.
“The Board of Directors took this action in response to several incidents that have taken place,” Nick Zuniga, director of Chapter Services, said. “The chapter had been given sufficient time to correct their actions and failed to do so. The chapter did not reflect the core values of Lambda Chi Alpha, and there was no evidence that the chapter officers could influence a change within the chapter and maintain the minimum operating standards of the fraternity.”
Despite last semester’s track record, Yarabeck said that the majority of Greek life at SHSU does well when it comes to following Risk Management Guidelines.
“It’s very specific,” Yarabeck said. “For the most part they do a good job with [following the guidelines] but people decide to take shortcuts and it might be more expensive to do in the short term but like I said if something bad happens, it ends up being a lot more expensive and bad press for your group. You might lose your recognition and you might have your wages garnished for the next few years and I don’t think any of us want that.”
Yarabeck said he hopes that the four-year-long suspension may serve as a reminder for other organizations to continue adhering to the rules.
“We’re hoping people will cooperate and look at this as a wakeup call and realize that we’re not just trying to put unnecessary regulations on them to make life difficult, there’s a reason for it and we’re trying to protect them,” Yarabeck said.
Attempts to conduct an interview with members of Lambda Chi Alpha were unsuccessful.