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Sigma Beta to return to campus after 9-year ban

Before the end of this semester, the Sigma Beta Fraternity will again become an organization recognized by the university, according to the director of the Memorial Union Building (MUB), MaryAnne Lustgraaf. Lustgraaf also said that UNH President Mark Huddleston sent out an email in January that lifted the permanent ban.

The ban was a result of a judicial hearing for Sigma Beta in October 2008 due to conduct violations with the university. At the time of the judicial hearing in 2008, the fate of Sigma Beta’s recognition was decided by the Office of Conduct, which is now labeled as the UNH Office of Community Standards.

Sigma Beta officially lost its recognition on October 14, 2008. According to an article published by SeacoastOnline on October 1, of that year, a police raid occurred in the Sigma Beta house on September 31, 2008, in which nine students were arrested on 16 drug and alcohol-related charges. The morning after the initial incident, university officials suspended the Sigma Beta Fraternity, stripping it of all related privileges.

“It was like a strike three kind of thing,” Lustgraaf said. “At that point, the decision was rendered and it was just said ‘we don’t want you back.’”

Lustgraaf said that Sigma Beta has been operating as an unrecognized organization for years now, which allowed them to already be in place for all of the things that a colony would have to go through such as recruitment and officer elections. They had an advantage at colonizing their chapter because they already had membership, officers, bylaws and an advisory board committee panel.

According to the Fraternity and Sorority Life page on the MUB website, the term “colony” is defined as “the status of a new Greek organization prior to receiving its national charter.” The charter is the document which grants the organization their recognition on campus.

 Sigma Beta had to match the fraternity and sorority life risk management policies  insurance policies and liability policies listed in the documentation regarding the minimum standards for fraternity and sorority expansion or extension. Lustgraaf said that the document consists of about 10 different standards, which Sigma Beta completed over spring break (March 13-19).  Sigma Beta presented the completion of the 10 requirements with stack of papers bound together and protected by plastic sheets on each side.

After Lustgraaf received the booklet, she met with the student officers of Sigma Beta and explained the process of what it requires to be a recognized student organization.

“They went through one series of requirements and just like Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) had to do in the fall, now they have to become a recognized student organization,” Lustgraaf said. “They are working on that and have a lot of things in place.”

In order to become a recognized fraternity, Sigma Beta must complete a series of financial training and risk management training sessions that were covered with the Fraternity and Sorority Greek Leadership Conference in February, in which all recognized fraternities and sororities were required to attend. They must also finish the requirements on WildcatLink and have their meeting with coordinator of student organizations and leadership, Nate Hastings. After all of those requirements are met, the Interfraternity Fraternity Council (IFC) can recognize Sigma Beta as a fraternity.

Lustgraaf said that Sigma Beta has been asked to “lay low” in terms of their presence on campus at philanthropic or community events, such as the upcoming Relay For Life. They have been asked not to wear their letters at such events until they are fully recognized.

“They are trying to do it right,” Lustgraaf said. “The Sigma Beta that lost its recognition more than half a dozen years ago is not who we have now.”

Lustgraaf noted that the current members of Sigma Beta more than likely had no involvement with the chapter when it lost recognition from the university in 2008.

Representatives from the Sigma Beta chapter declined to comment for this story.

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