LSU fraternity lands in hot water over drugs, possibly hazing; university places it on ‘interim suspension’ _lowres

Advocate file photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Unidentified young men stand on the porch of the Sigma Chi house on LSU's campus, Thursday, November 12, 2015, in Baton Rouge, La.

The LSU chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity — under investigation over the past month for hazing and substance abuse — will close for at least three years, the Greek organization’s leadership announced Friday.

LSU put the fraternity on interim suspension Nov. 3, embarking on a probe of allegations that the fraternity violated the university’s drug and hazing policies. While the university’s investigation isn’t completed, LSU on Friday announced that the school’s Sigma Chi chapter will not be allowed on campus through the end of 2018.

The university supports the fraternity’s decision to temporarily pull support for the chapter, LSU said in a news release.

“LSU has a long-standing relationship with Sigma Chi, and it’s unfortunate that this is the end result,” said Kurt Keppler, LSU vice president for student life and enrollment. “But we take any and all reports of incidents seriously and will not tolerate policy violations when it involves the health, safety and well-being of our students.”

The fraternity will reinstate the chapter after the current 150 members graduate, according to a news release by Sigma Chi International. Fraternity leaders tried working with the chapter to address conduct problems “for some time,” the release said.

“While it was the right thing to do because we cannot afford to have individuals tarnish the reputation of Sigma Chi, we are saddened when our members do not live up to our high ideals,” said Mike Ursillo, the Sigma Chi International president.

LSU had planned to hold a hearing after finals to determine the outcome of the university’s investigation into the Sigma Chi chapter, LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said. That hearing is no longer necessary, he said.

The investigation was a result of an Oct. 17 incident that involved the use of controlled substances in the chapter house, as well as potential hazing activities.

Members of the fraternity sat outside the Sigma Chi house at 27 Dalrymple Drive on Friday afternoon, some on the front porch talking and others in the front yard throwing a football. Men drove by, honking their horns as they passed the house.

The Sigma Chi members declined to comment about closure of their chapter.

The Sigma Chi move comes after LSU’s Acacia fraternity was booted from campus in March, also at least through 2018, following an investigation into allegations of hazing. In that case, the university said it confirmed there was forced alcohol consumption and physical violence, as well as other Student Code violations.