OCT. 8 UPDATE: UCF released Thursday the rationale behind the recommendation that Sigma Chi be found in violation of the hazing and disruptive conduct charges.
Administrative hearing officer David Oglethorpe, communications coordinator for the Office of Student Involvement, wrote in a statement of determination that based on the testimonies of Sigma Chi members present at the hearing, "no participants in today's hearing disputed that an act of hazing occurred" in February.
In the document, Oglethorpe also reasoned — in reference to recommending the fraternity be in violation the disruptive conduct charge — Sigma Chi failed to inform the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life or the Office of Student Conduct of the hazing incident. Members also admitted that "several pledges were initiated into the organization, although they were ineligible due to grades and/or enrollment status," according to the document.
Oglethorpe did not recommend Sigma Chi be found in violation of an alcohol-related misconduct charge due to the facts that "there is not enough information to warrant a finding of in violation against the organization" and "there was also not enough information to show whether or not members provided alcohol to under age individuals" at an off-campus party attended by some Sigma Chi members, which was thrown by a non-fraternity member, the document states.
An administrative hearing officer recommended Wednesday that Sigma Chi be found in violation of charges of hazing and disruptive conduct, but not in violation of an alcohol-related misconduct charge.
UCF spokesman Chad Binette said that the recommended sanctions for the fraternity include suspension through summer 2017. Additionally, Sigma Chi must complete a return plan prior to resuming activity at UCF.
The hearing officer will meet with Sigma Chi again Thursday to finish the rationale, which has not yet been completed.
Binette said that organizations are allowed to choose either a panel hearing or an administrative hearing. The difference is that "under administrative hearing procedures, a single faculty or staff member hears the case," he said.
Recommendations will be reviewed by the director of the Office of Student Conduct, who will issue the final decision, Binette said.
The fraternity had been accused of hazing, disruptive conduct and alcohol-related misconduct by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities regarding an incident on Feb. 18, according to a previous article.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Danielle Hendrix is a News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @ByDaniHendrix or email her at DanielleH@centralfloridafuture.com.