Interim Suspension Lifted

On February 2, 2017, the New York Beta Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon was placed on interim suspension by the Cornell Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life (OSFL) after they received reports of alleged hazing and alcohol violations during this year’s new member recruitment process.

All chapter activities, except for those related to room and board, were ceased until an investigation of the allegations was completed and a hearing conducted by the Greek Judicial Board was held.

Prior to the formal hearing on March 13, 2017, an internal review was conducted by the undergraduate executive board with the goal of analyzing what went wrong and what organizational changes needed to be made. After review by the members of the Alumni and Volunteer Corporation (AVC), the Sigma Phi Epsilon New York Beta Internal Analysis and Chapter Vision Plan was submitted to the Greek Judicial Board.

On March 13, 2017, the Greek Judicial Board convened to discuss the current allegations, all incidents reported during the past three years, and the Analysis and Chapter Vison Plan with the members of the undergraduate executive board. I was present at the review, with other members of the AVC, on a conference call. Sigma Phi Epsilon Regional Director Alex Stepanek and National Chapter Services Director Joe Toth also participated on the call.

Based on the Vision Plan and the presentation by the executive board at the judicial review, the Greek Judicial Board voted to lift the interim suspension effective March 17, 2017, allowing the chapter to return to normal operations. The Greek Judicial Board then sent its report, recommendations, and NYB’s Vision Plan to Dr. Joe Burke, executive director of campus and community engagement, for his consideration. As part of the decision to lift the interim suspension, the chapter was placed on provisional recognition status for a period of one year. The intent of this probationary period is to ensure that the chapter and AVC carry out organizational and cultural changes as outlined in the Vision Plan.

The Vision Plan requires extensive and immediate action on the part of the chapter and the AVC in the following areas:
    1)    Conduct a full chapter membership review by March 31, 2017
    2)    Review and update chapter bylaws
    3)    Executive and standards boards training
    4)    Risk management education
    5)    Improvements to the recruitment process and member training
    6)    Improvements and alterations to the membership development process
    7)    Increased regional director involvement in chapter training and operations
    8)    Recruitment of a new resident scholar to replace recently graduated Austin Duggan
    9)    Increased philanthropy initiatives
    10)    Monthly progress reports to OSFL and to the AVC

It goes without saying that the AVC is extremely disappointed with this development. We are working closely with the chapter, Sigma Phi Epsilon National Headquarters, and Cornell University to mitigate and avoid the future occurrence of the unacceptable behaviors that led to the Greek Judicial Review. Our goal is to identify the root causes of these behaviors and to implement both corrective actions and processes to ensure that the chapter successfully navigates the yearlong provisional recognition status period.

On a positive note, the AVC is financially stable and has recently added two new members. We will be working even more closely with executive board and chapter members to reinforce our commitment to the goals of the Balanced Man Program and of our cardinal principles of virtue, diligence and brotherly love. We plan to establish better mentoring programs with undergraduate leadership among numerous other initiatives.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we will succeed. We successfully recruited a new member class of 24 men. This will give us a membership of about 70 men for the fall 2017 semester. The chapter is financially stable with balanced books in the house operating, dining, and socials accounts. We view these recent incidents as an organizational challenge that presents an opportunity to strengthen the undergraduate leadership, membership, and AVC support efforts.

Please consider volunteering some of your time to help us support the New York Beta Chapter. It can be done remotely if you are not in the Ithaca area.

Kevin Baradet ’81
Alumni President


Information for Parents

As the parent of a Cornell student and prospective brother of NY Beta, we want you to know that we are committed to providing an outstanding undergraduate experience for your son and believe that what we offer is unequaled on our campus. This commitment extends from the physical environment of the chapter house to opportunities for involvement and personal development; from lots of healthy good times to access to a network of alumni mentors which is the most extensive in the Greek world. Here are some things that we want you to know about Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and about our Cornell Chapter that we think you will find helpful and informative. If you start with the "SigEp National" heading below, please be sure to click on the "Parents" tab to find answers to some of your questions. Please take time to also review other materials relating to the national organization, which charters and supports our Cornell chapter.

SigEp National :: SigEp at Cornell :: Scholarships :: Cornell :: Cornell Greek Life

The Chapter House

DIRECTIONS FROM DOWNTOWN ITHACA: Head north on S. Meadow St. toward Cecil Malone Dr.; turn right onto W. Green St.; slight right onto E. Martin Luther King Jr. St./E. State St.; turn left onto Stewart Ave.; turn right onto University Ave.; slight left to stay on University Ave.; take first left onto McGraw Pl.; Destination on left.

NY Beta Chapter House
109 McGraw Place
Ithaca, NY 14850

House phone: (607) 253-0799

Alumni Records Office

Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity
New York Beta Chapter
P.O. Box 876
Ithaca, NY 14851-0876

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