Sigma Tau Gamma on hold pending multiple investigations

Sigma Tau Gamma placed its Truman State University chapter on a cease and desist because of multiple investigations being conducted by Truman’s Office of Citizenship and Community Standards.

As of now, the organization cannot conduct business or social functions of any kind without permission from Headquarters Staff, including participating in Greek Week.

“Our staff felt that the severity of the investigations, and proximity to one another, warranted a freeze of chapter operations to more closely examine the operations of the chapter,” said fraternity operations director Adam Kowalski in a written statement.

Kowalski said the chapter members will be participating in a membership review to determine membership status moving forward.

“We don’t comment on open investigations,” said Janna Stoskopf, vice president for student affairs. “At this time, because of some circumstances beyond our control, I do not have a clear time frame to share with you regarding the conclusion of our investigation.”

Sigma Tau Gamma is still a recognized student group on campus, said Damon Pee, program adviser for organizational engagement and leadership.

Pee said he is aware of why the organization has been placed on a cease and desist but is not at liberty to share with those outside the organization.

Based on cease and desists other organizations have been placed on, there are a variety of potential outcomes for Sigma Tau Gamma, Pee said. The organization could go back into good standing and continue operation or be placed on a temporary or even extended suspension.

“It is my understanding that all options are on the table,” Pee said.

Pee said it is up to the local chapter and the national organization to determine what their best option is. Pee also said he has been helping the community better understand what is going on.

Laura Bates, director of the Student Union and campus activities, said she had an indication of why nationals chose to do this, but she did not necessarily have their full reasoning.

“Each national organization can set different standards when it comes to if or when a cease and desist comes on,” Bates said. “In their case, they are to be non-operational of sorts. But they still are technically an organization. It is a pause of all activities for them right now.”  

Bates also had communication with local and regional alumni that have had questions on the cease and desist.  

Bates said she is trying to be a good partner as a Truman representative by offering support to the chapter while it is on cease and desist.

“They are students as well, they are struggling with some things, just like any other student,” Bates said.

Sigma Tau Gamma sits on the Interfraternity Council, but because of the cease and desist, they are currently not allowed to participate in IFC meetings.

Truman’s IFC president Patrick Lucitt said IFC’s operational functionality doesn’t change much despite Sigma Tau Gamma being on cease and desist, as many of its decisions are by majority decision of the council’s representatives.

Lucitt said the council can still move forward with its business, like budgets, recruitment and amendments to bylaws that affect fraternities at Truman.

“We do take into consideration the fact that they’re not at the table now,” Lucitt said. “It generally does not impact the …  rest of the council as much, since this is an internal matter of the chapter and the national office.”

Lucitt said the council is looking at its budget right now, and representatives have to be aware that Sigma Tau Gamma members could be affected by this decision. There is a possibility that after the cease and desist, Sigma Tau Gamma will have to pay into a budget that they did not vote on, Lucitt said.

Lucitt said IFC is trying to be transparent with Bates, Pee, the University and representatives from the national office to make sure everyone is involved with the process.

In situations like this, IFC relies on the decisions made by campus and national office professionals first, Lucitt said.  

“If a University charter suspension were to occur, our guidelines for membership, per our constitution, require an automatic suspension of IFC membership,” Lucitt said. “However, if we are referring to a social suspension, in which case Sigma Tau Gamma wouldn’t be able to host a social function, they would still hold membership and attend IFC meetings. So, bottom line is that it would depend on what type of temporary suspension was to occur. However, though a suspension is a possible outcome, it is by no means the only outcome and I can’t speak to what will or will not happen.”

The Index reached out to Mason Smith, Truman executive board member of Sigma Tau Gamma, and Salvatore Costa, the faculty adviser to the Sigma Tau Gamma Beta Chapter, and both declined to comment.