Boston University officials suspended the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity Monday after the fraternity’s national organization suspended the BU chapter amidst allegations of a party, which involved underage drinking, where a severely intoxicated individual was removed, officials said.
Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore said he received information Saturday afternoon from a student member of Sigma Alpha Mu that the national organization recommended BU’s chapter suspend its activities. Later that night, BU officials learned the national organization officially suspended BU’s chapter.
“The national organization actually suspended BU’s chapter based upon what they believed was information that Sigma Alpha Mu, at an off-campus location, a private residence, held a fraternity function that involved underage drinking where someone who was severely intoxicated was taken out of the space,” Elmore said.
Elmore said he notified BU’s Sigma Alpha Mu leaders their chapter would be suspended Monday.
“We’re also going to be engaged in our own investigation of the chapter in terms of whether potential further university action needs to be taken against individuals,” he said.
Early Saturday morning, College of Engineering freshman Tony Barksdale II died at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton after being transported from 22 Wadsworth St. in Allston, where the Sigma Alpha Mu function occurred.
Boston Police Department officials are investigating the circumstances of Barksdale’s death.
Elmore said the investigation will determine if the student removed for severe intoxication was Barksdale, who was a new member of Sigma Alpha Mu.
“All we know is that there was underage drinking and severe intoxication of at least one person,” Elmore said. “We were told one of the students who was at this function at 22 Wadsworth St. was taken out for medical treatment.”
Elmore said his staff as well as that of the Student Activities Office and the Office of Judicial Affairs will investigate the fraternity.
While the national organization might impose different consequences as a result of suspension, BU’s suspension means Sigma Alpha Mu is not allowed to function as a BU group, Elmore said.
“They are no longer permitted to officially act as a registered organization at the university,” he said. “That means that they can’t operate. They can’t initiate new members, they can’t be holding social functions or philanthropy. There’s not anything effectively they can do in any official capacity here at the university.”
Sigma Alpha Mu leaders and Interfraternity Council leaders did not respond to requests for comment. The Sigma Alpha Mu national organization also could not be reached for comment by press time.
“I’m really disappointed we had to do this — in terms of suspending the chapter — and I’m really disheartened,” Elmore said. “We spent a lot of time over the course of this last academic year discussing things like alcohol use and abuse, having bystander training where members of Sigma Alpha Mu were party to it, or their leadership was party to the conversation.”
Elmore said members and leaders of Sigma Alpha Mu had responded to and participated in dialogues about safe and appropriate alcohol use.
“We had conversations several times about the need to be smart and use our heads and look out for each other and make sure things like this were not occurring,” he said. “That’s what is particularly frustrating. That’s what is particularly disheartening and what is really disappointing is that we’ve got to go this route right now.”