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Sigma Chi house at Miami Univeristy in Oxford, Ohio. (Photo courtesy of Miami University Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Leadership)
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Sigma Chi house at Miami University on Monday April 9, 2012. Terry Helmer
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Sigma Chi house at Miami University on Monday April 9, 2012. Terry Helmer
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Miami University fraternity suspended

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Fraternity suspended after hazing claims

OXFORD, Ohio - A fraternity with a long-standing history has been kicked off the Miami University campus. The Alpha chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity has been suspended indefinitely by the executive committee of the international fraternity.

Members have until Wednesday to remove their belongings from the fraternity house.

"I spent quite a bit of money fixing up his fraternity room and I just feel it's an unfair grouping," said the parent of one Sigma Chi member, who did not want to be identified. "These aren't children anymore. These are young men and each of them is responsible for their own actions in my opinion."

The Alpha chapter is historic to Sigma Chi because it is the first chapter established by the fraternity in 1855.

In a letter to fraternity members, the international fraternity pointed to "persistent illegal activities" and "continual failure to uphold the high standards of Sigma Chi" as factors in the decision to suspend the charter.

"The International Fraternity of Sigma Chi, headquartered near Chicago, has been working with Miami University officials and student affairs for a couple of years to try to improve what they call a culture of behavior at the fraternity house," said Claire Wagner, a spokesperson for Miami University.

According to Wagner, there were nearly 30 members living in the house at 401 E. Sycamore Street in Oxford. Twenty-two of those members were sophomores who are required to live in university housing if not residing in fraternity housing.

Wagner said the university is working with the students to secure housing for the remaining month of the school year.

Monday, several moving trucks and personal vehicles were used to transfer members' goods out of the house.

Hazing, alcohol and drugs were problems for some chapter members. Wagner said the chapter had been on probation for a incident in spring of 2011.

"They went through a hearing with our office of ethics and student conflict resolution. It was last November that we put them on disciplinary probation."

Officials with the international fraternity also confirmed there was drug usage at fraternity functions within this school year. Sigma Chi Executive Director Michael Dunn said drug use at fraternity houses is a violation of fraternity policy and is discouraged.

In addition, Oxford police have been called to the house numerous times in the last year and a half. There were 15 calls to police in 2011. So far this year, there have been 17 calls. Not all of the calls involve criminal activity. However, one fraternity member was arrested when he became unruly after the suspension was announced.

"We arrested one gentleman Thursday night," said Oxford Police Chief Robert Holzworth. "Other than that, there have been no arrests and everyone at that location understands the rules and they are peacefully moving out to other locations."

The suspension of Sigma Chi at Miami does not mean the end of the Alpha chapter. Dunn said they don't have an exact timeframe for reforming the chapter. However, they will look at sometime after 2015, once the current members have all graduated.

The status of current members has been changed from undergraduate to alumni. That means they are not allowed to engage in any undergraduate activity.

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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