BU suspends Kappa Sigma fraternity following protests, StuGov resolution

Boston University students protesting at the Kappa Sigma Fraternity house Oct. 23. The Dean of Students Office announced Wednesday their suspension of the local chapter as the Office investigates alleged incidents of sexual assault associated with the fraternity. ANH NGUYEN/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

By Emily Stevenson, Jesús Marrero Suárez

The following article contains mentions of sexual assault. 

Boston University suspended its largest on-campus fraternity Kappa Sigma Mu Psi following a five-day moratorium period in which all chapter activities were prohibited as the University investigated reports of sexual misconduct involving chapter members. 

BU Today reported that John Battaglino, assistant dean of students and director of student activities, communicated the University’s decision in a letter to the chapter’s president, Albert Kelleher, a senior in the Questrom School of Business. 

Battaglino wrote that Kappa Sigma was informed Oct. 22 it was prohibited from holding any meetings or social gatherings unless approved by the Student Activities Office, but the fraternity proceeded to hold a social gathering later that day and a chapter meeting on Oct. 25, prompting its suspension, the article reported. 

The letter dictating the suspension did not mention the rise in sexual misconduct allegations. However, Battaglino notified the chapter Oct. 22 that brothers will be meeting with Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore individually to discuss the allegations. 

The suspension means Kappa Sigma will no longer be allowed to refer to themselves as affiliated with the University or receive SAO funding, promotion or event planning assistance. 

The fraternity was most recently suspended in Feb. 2015 over the distribution of party promotional material that the University found to be degrading of women and glorifying rape culture. 

Kelleher did not respond after several attempts to contact.  

BU spokesperson Colin Riley said the suspension is part of an “ongoing process” to investigate the fraternity’s allegations and unapproved activities, adding that meetings with individual members are currently being scheduled by Elmore. 

Bella Pompa, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and co-chair of the Greek life’s Sexual Assault Prevention Committee, said although the committee was not directly involved in Saturday’s protest or the University’s decision to suspend Kappa Sigma, she is “glad that the school took the necessary actions that they needed to.”

“I believe that survivors should always be believed and that perpetrators should always face their punishments and consequences,” Pompa said. “The school needed to address this issue.”

She noted that she worries about what the fraternity’s suspension could mean for the University’s ability to impose consequences and prevent further misconduct. 

“If [Kappa Sig does] things that aren’t sanctioned by the school, then they’re not really under any kind of supervision,” she said. “That’s definitely a concern that I’ve had but we’ll see what happens.”

Pompa said her “number one priority is to support survivors,” adding that she recommends confidential resources such as the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Center and BU’s Equal Opportunity Office’s incident report method that allows students to file reports of harassment, discrimination and other concerns anonymously if they wish to do so. 

Evan Teplensky, CAS junior and president of CAS Student Government, said he initially felt an “overwhelming sense of joy” upon hearing of Kappa Sigma’s suspension. 

“I saw the word ‘suspended,’ ‘Kappa Sigma,’” Teplensky said, “I saw statements from Dean Elmore, Dean Battaglino, and I was just finally happy that there was something coming out of the protest.”

Several student organizations including CAS StuGov and Campus Survivors held a protest over the past weekend demanding that the University suspend the fraternity. 

Teplensky noted, however, that he was disappointed the disciplinary actions were not specifically related to the sexual assault allegations. 

“We have to take the small victories,” he said. “Does this mean that we should stop? Definitely not … I want to make sure that every day we are making sure that the survivors’ needs are first met.”  

Sophia Kim, a junior in CAS and co-founder of Campus Survivors, said she was “really excited” to see action taken by the University. 

“This marks a really big action from the administration that we hadn’t previously, necessarily seen enthusiastically before and so quickly,” Kim said.  

She noted Kappa Sigma’s suspension will not, however, end the issue of sexual misconduct on campus. 

“We really need to work to create a safer space for survivors and to prevent any of this from even happening in the first place,” Kim said. “Start with bringing the survivors justice.” 

Teplensky added he is cautious of the suspension’s longevity due to Kappa Sigma’s past suspension eventually being lifted. As a result, he said CAS StuGov will continue to take action against the fraternity. 

“We’re still planning things, slowly starting to get parents involved because we still feel very strongly about the first demand of disbanding them,” Teplensky said. “This isn’t over.” 

Nick Kolev, Standards Chair of the Board of Directors and previous Campus News Editor, is a member of Kappa Sigma. He was not involved in the editing of this story.

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