Saint Martin's College withdraws recognition of four student
Friday, October 18, 2002
Saint Martin’s earlier today announced that it is withdrawing
recognition of four clubs for hazing and alcohol violations. The
decision is effective immediately. The organizations, all funded by the
Associated Students of Saint Martin’s College, the college’s student
government, are: Alpha Sigma Chi, Sigma Mu Kappa, Delta Gamma Xi and
Lambda Chi Omega, none of which are affiliated with national Greek
organizations. The action also means that the organizations will no
longer be eligible for funding through student activity fees
administered through the student government.
The action is the result of an Oct. 7 administrative hearing to
investigate several allegations of violations to the college’s Student
Conduct Code during initiation week in September. The allegations
consisted of two clubs’ alcohol possession and consumption in the
college’s Old Main building, one incident of hazing and one incident of
underage drinking at a group-sponsored event, said Melanie Richardson,
the college’s dean of student services.
The four organizations’ history of documented incidents in the areas
of alcohol-related and hazing activities, especially during club
initiations, led to an investigation early in the 2001-02 academic year
that confirmed several violations, she said.
At that time, the presidents of these clubs were called together to
discuss ongoing problems that broke rules and laws and drew complaints
from the community outside Saint Martin’s. The club presidents asked to
be given the opportunity to forego discipline and develop an action plan
to address the problems. During the remainder of the school year, club
leaders completed an action plan and established initiation week
guidelines that upheld the college’s Student Conduct Code and Washington
State and federal law.
This September, at a pre-initiation week meeting between the
administration and the four clubs, club leaders agreed to immediately
report any violations that occurred to an appropriate College staff
member. This did not occur, she said.
This fall, the four clubs involved chose to be reviewed as a single
entity through an administrative hearing rather than singly through the
college’s Student Conduct Committee process. The groups, represented by
their leaders, agreed to accept any sanctions as a whole, even though
the severity of the alleged offenses varied among the clubs. At the Oct.
7 hearing, club leaders acknowledged the above incidents had occurred.
“As a community, we cannot condone these types of chronic violations
in college-affiliated organizations and continue to be consistent with
the College’s mission statement,” Richardson said. “In recent years,
Saint Martin’s has made a concerted effort to create an atmosphere where
academic pursuits, student safety and student dignity are paramount.”
Among those efforts, college buildings were declared alcohol-free
unless certain specific conditions were met, the freshman seminar
curriculum was revised to address issues related to alcohol use and
abuse and, most recently, the college was awarded a NCAA grant, one of
10 in the nation, to assess and reduce alcohol consumption by students.
“Saint Martin’s is not alone in these efforts. In consultation with
colleges throughout the country and with legal counsel, it is apparent
that the trend in institutional and legal intolerance for alcohol and
hazing has grown dramatically in recent years,” she said. “The liability
issues for club members themselves, for club advisors and for the
institution are startling. Several pending and recent rulings in the
courts attest to this.”
Richardson said the four clubs are not and never have been affiliated
with national Greek organizations. Those organizations receive
oversight, risk management, overall advising and direction from their
For more information:
Dean of student services
Media coordinator / senior