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Alpha Sigma Phi admits to pledging violation

Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity is awaiting sanctions from administrators after a Binghamton University investigation led members to admit to pledging first-semester freshmen.

Steve Johnson, president of Alpha Sigma Phi, said he was notified by the Office of Student Conduct that Milton Chester, assistant dean of students, wanted to meet with him.

“I kinda figured that they had found out that we had freshmen pledges, so I just admitted to it,” Johnson said.

He apologized to Chester and said that he is willing to take the necessary actions.

“I’m sorry that this happened and I’m willing to work with them to fix the situation,” Johnson said. “We messed up, we broke the guidelines.”

Johnson said he was held personally responsible for having first-semester freshmen pledges.

“I received sanctions personally because I’m president but I don’t really know what those sanctions are going to be,” Johnson said. “We broke the rules so we just have to deal with the repercussions.”

Chester asked the fraternity to devise their own solution to the matter, according to Johnson.

“We are going to present the plan to Milton and the administration, and we will do what we have to to fix the situation,” he said.

On Wednesday evening, University President Harvey Stenger met with members of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. Stenger was a member of Alpha Sigma Phi as an undergraduate student at Cornell University. He recounted his relationship with his freshman year roommate and fraternity brother, who recently died of lymphoma.

“He became my closest male friend that I ever had,” Stenger told the members of Alpha Sigma Phi. “But if you break the rules, guys, and you can’t be a fraternity here and we don’t recognize you here anymore, then you’re going to miss that opportunity.”

As a member of Alpha Sigma Phi, Stenger said, he holds the BU chapter to a higher standard.

“The president of this university was, and still is, a member of your fraternity,” he said. “The obligations that go along with that are pretty high. I don’t expect you to follow the rules, I expect you to exceed the rules. I expect you to be role models. I expect you to be exemplary as a fraternity here.”

Brian Rose, vice president for student affairs, said the University is aware that underground pledging may not be limited to Alpha Sigma Phi.

“We do believe that other organizations may also be pledging first semester students in violation of University policy and we will seek to enforce University rules against any organization that we learn may be violating policy,” Rose wrote in an email.

Prior to homecoming weekend, Dean of Students April Thompson sent an email to Greek presidents asking them for accurate bid rosters and warning members of the potential consequences of allowing first-semester freshmen to pledge.

“From the backpacks, white shirts and sleepy students that I see, it appears that some of you are still pledging first-year students,” Thompson wrote in the email. “As a word of warning, organizations and individuals found to be doing this will be held accountable through the Student Conduct Office. This could mean that the president, members and first-years could receive disciplinary action in addition to any action taken against the organization.”

FULL DISCLOSURE: Pipe Dream Executive Board member and Opinion Editor Ezra Shapiro is the vice president of Alpha Sigma Phi. He had no involvement in the publication of this article.