WIU sorority’s charter revoked after violation of hazing prevention policies

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By JENNA SKARLUPKA, NEWS3 Reporter

EDITOR’S NOTE: An update was made to the article for clarification of the sorority’s presidential position.

MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) — The National Council of Alpha Sigma Tau has revoked the charter of the sorority’s Alpha Epsilon Chapter on the Western Illinois University campus.

The sorority’s charter was revoked after a complaint earlier this year about a 2020 violation of hazing prevention, alcohol and controlled substance policies. An individual first filed a complaint against the sorority about the October 2020 violations on March 3 of this year. 

The chapter received an interim suspension. The university’s Office of Public Safety, Office of Student Engagement and the sorority’s National Council each conducted investigations following the complaint.

The National Council voted to revoke the chapter’s charter at WIU on April 6. The revocation went into effect on April 8. Now, no one may represent or conduct any activities related to the sorority on the WIU campus.

University administrators said it has a zero tolerance hazing policy. In an April 8 letter to the 2021 chapter president Francine Lawler, Alpha Sigma Tau’s executive director James Paponetti said the National Council is pursuing “direct action” against individuals accused of policy violations. Lawler was  elected in late 2020 for the sorority’s 2021 presidential term. The individuals named have the opportunity to provide a written response to the allegations by April 19.

This is not the first time an Alpha Sigma Tau chapter has had its charter revoked. The sorority’s Gamma Iota Chapter at York College in Pennsylvania had its charter revoked in 2017 after a violation of hazing prevention policies.

WIU administrators said no criminal charges have been filed against the sorority and that any potential sanctions against those violating the school’s code of conduct will depend on the resulting judicial review.

To learn more about the university’s hazing policy, visit http://www.wiu.edu/policies/hazing.php.