Shortly after this story was published, we received some clarification on this story directly from members of North Florida Sigma Chi.
According to chapter president, Rich Rittichai:
If anything, I am disappointed that the media will try hard enough to take an organization like ours and try to bring it down over nothing at all. If you wanted to be accurate, there was no anonymous tipster. A brother and I went to the VP of student affairs and approached him about it before it spread to him through the grape vine. We have a lot of brothers that are active and around administrators so it would only be a matter of time.
After we made the University aware of the incident at hand, they had a duty to report it to police. Following this, it became public record, and accessible for a journalist from the Times to write a story about.
We’re astonished at the rate that this incident blew up. The police and the university both agree that there is nothing in this story however it still makes the news. It may be because of the fact that we are in a “Frat” however it tarnishes our reputation unjustly. I completely understand an article about a fraternity that forced a brand on someone but this was completely voluntary and the pledge even coerced the brother to do it.
In closing, a few misjudgments do not represent the intentions of our brother and our chapter. We strive to make a positive and significant impact at UNF and the Greek community. It is sad to see the local media cladding our hard work.
Seems to me like these guys handled this situation with prudence & more than enough due diligence.
On top of this, the Sig Chi’s have also issued a public apology on their Facebook page, which can be found here.
This was TFM’s original report:
According to several reports, Sigma Chi at the University of North Florida is currently under investigation for an alleged hazing incident that took place toward the end of December.
Funny that there’s Greek life there, because the school’s acronym obviously designates the institution as NF.
All kidding aside, the ‘machis are currently subject to inquiry following an anonymous tip about a 19 year-old that, in taking from a tradition usually reserved for Omega Psi Phi, was reportedly branded during the pledge process. However, ΩΨΦ members voluntarily choose to get branded, and do so on a part of the body that is publicly visible, whereas in this case, the pledge’s ass was the target of a heated coat hanger.
Per the Florida Times Union:
[A] 22-year-old male student told UNF authorities that one day in December he was at a frat brother’s off-campus home and joked about the members getting branded. The 22-year-old student told police that the 19-year-old male, the pledge, volunteered to be branded. The 22-year-old said he was pressured into branding the pledge.
The 19-year-old male confirmed with police that he volunteered and did not feel coerced into the branding. The student said there was a slight mark and scarring on the spot of the branding.
Volunteering to get branded? Not sure if that’s FaF, or just plain idiotic.
Regardless, the good news is that the pledge in question wasn’t seriously injured, but it sure leaves the lingering question of, “Who put in the anonymous tip?”
Nine times out of ten, I’m going to say that it was likely a concerned mother who knows too much, but in this case, I guess no one can be quite sure.
The UNF police department is continuing the investigation, but no charges have been levied as of yet – and it seems that if the members being probed stick to their story, there shouldn’t be any consequences too harsh, aside from living with the memory that one time in college, they did terrorized some kid’s ass.
According to Sharon Ashton, UNF’s VP of Public Relations:
“The student issue was then sent to UNF Student Conduct, which reviewed the student issue during a hearing this week. Student sanctions will be forthcoming.”
Let’s hope all ends well here.
[via The Florida Times Union]