Feb 132012
Authors: Erin Udell

After an alcohol-related hazing incident late last semester, CSU’s chapter of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority has been placed on disciplinary probation, leading the fraternity vice president Beth Black to say she is “very disappointed” in the members responsible.

“…A few members made poor choices that are not aligned with the guiding principles of Kappa Kappa Gamma,” Black said in an email to the Collegian. “Kappa Kappa Gamma values our long-standing relationship with Colorado State University and will be providing extra support to our chapter as they address their disciplinary sanctions.”

According to CSU Dean of Students Jody Donovan, the Nov. 5 incident was reported after a new member of the sorority was encouraged to drink by a group of older members at an initiation event, which occurred off-site from the Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter facility.

“She (the new member) returned to her residence hall very intoxicated and was very ill,” she said. “As she was being cared for, information came out about what happened during initiation, including activities that involved alcohol.”

In response, the university decided to forbid the sorority from hosting certain social events and recruiting new members until spring 2013.

Donovan also said the new member was left in a fraternity house before other members picked her up and took her to her residence hall. The fraternity will see disciplinary action, with their penalty being decided by a hearing officer within CSU’s Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services.

“In this instance, it wasn’t an entire house activity,” Donovan added. “It was a group of (Kappa Kappa Gamma) members.”

For Kappa Kappa Gamma’s chapter president and CSU student Arianna Zabriskie, the sanctions set forth by CSU have led to a general feeling of teamwork and sisterhood throughout the sorority.

“We each joined Kappa to be part of a family that lasts a lifetime, to be sisters with women who inspire you to be better…” Zabriskie said in an email to the Collegian. “We are so excited to show the university and each other that we will come out of this situation stronger than ever.”

Though Donovan said the sorority hasn’t had an infraction or policy violation through CSU in five years, the university looked into the history of the organization and found a pattern of alcohol-related concerns.

“We wanted to look at the full picture,” Donovan said. “I think the concern was to look at the culture of this particular organization and that they needed to do some major work. We didn’t want (them) to bring in new members before the culture has changed.”

And while, according to Donovan, members attempted to appeal the sanction banning them from recruitment in early December, a university panel recommended that CSU uphold the original decision.

“They’re not throwing their hands up in the air and saying, ‘We give up,’” Donovan said, adding that the reaction she has seen from the sorority on national, regional and local levels show they are committed to taking a step back to look at their values.

According to Sonja Jensen, the director of CSU Greek Life, being banned from recruitment can lead to several issues, which would not allow a chapter to “operate at 100 percent.”

“These are membership organizations,” Jensen said of sororities and fraternities. “Any time you have a loss of members, there’s going to be a hole or gap in various pieces.

“Sophomores lose the ability to be mentors to new members, juniors don’t get to experience the leadership qualities they usually get to, and seniors lose the ability to be role models,” Jensen said before adding that the CSU Greek community is working hard to support Kappa Kappa Gamma in light of the recent decisions.

News Editor Erin Udell can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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