Review board grants Sigma Pi conditional recognition

This week, a final determination was made on the recognition status of the Sigma Pi fraternity, in response to the bias related incident that occurred in the early morning hours of May 6, 2012.

Earlier this summer, the Fraternity and Sorority Review Board – the body that reviews and recommends Cornell University recognition status for a fraternity or a sorority – considered the investigation report from the Ithaca Police Department, which confirmed that the May 6 incident was the action of a single individual now known to be a guest of Sigma Pi fraternity and not affiliated with Cornell. In addition to actions taken by the Ithaca City Court, that individual has been banned from our campus. As a result, the chapter's recognition status of interim suspension has been lifted.

The Review Board also asserted that the fraternity has a measure of responsibility for the actions of its guests, and, as a result, recommended that the recognition of the chapter be placed on provisional status, effective immediately until the end of the coming academic year. During this probationary period, the chapter is expected to demonstrate full compliance with all community codes, rules, policies and expectations. Any infraction during this period could lead to full revocation of university recognition.

In addition, we expect the fraternity to follow through on the actions they have voluntarily undertaken, including the completion of a new Code of Conduct that applies to all its members and guests, and continuing to engage actively with the community around the topics of race, equality, diversity and culture.

I am also announcing additional actions the University is taking to keep the issues of diversity, multicultural awareness, and intercultural dialogue in the forefront of our community conversations.

First, the University has created a new staff position that will oversee diversity initiatives throughout the Greek System. The position will report to the Associate Dean of Students for Fraternities, Sororities, & Independent Living, and it also will have a dotted reporting line to the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Intercultural Programs.

Second, through the sponsorship of the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Intercultural Programs, our Center for Intercultural Dialogue will lead ongoing, campus-wide conversations beginning this fall to raise multicultural awareness and promote intercultural dialogue among our constituents, students, staff, and faculty.

We believe that Cornell must be a community in which all can enjoy a safe, welcoming environment, and that all members of our community can work together to reinforce a climate in which such incidents do not occur. I call on all Cornellians to join in our current and future dialogue, to continue to bridge our differences and embrace the special opportunities we have at Cornell to share in a socially, culturally and racially diverse community.

Kent Hubbell
Dean of Students