Correction: Wes Nichols is the acting president of Delta Sigma Phi, not chapter president as previously reported.
The Theta Chi chapter of Delta Sigma Phi faces an interim suspension pending a University of Georgia Police Department investigation of hazing allegations.
Stan Jackson, the director of student affairs communications and marketing initiatives at UGA, said the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs received a call from an anonymous person on Sept. 26.
“The complaint indicated [Delta Sigma Phi’s] alleged participation in a number of violations of the code of conduct related to hazing,” Jackson said. “Due to the seriousness of the allegations, the University verbally informed the fraternity that it was enacting the interim suspension policy effective immediately on Sept. 26, and then followed that up with a written notification on Sept. 28.”
Interim suspension, Jackson said, means the fraternity must cease all social, business and alumni events for the duration of the investigation.
Jimmy Williamson, the UGA Police Department chief of police, said UGAPD was made aware of the hazing allegations on Sept. 26 by an anonymous parent of a pledge and began their investigation at that time. He said they made contact with all of Delta Sigma Phi’s pledges in order to find out who the injured student was and conclude whether hazing occurred.
“[The pledges] were asked to report for a meeting and we interacted with them all at one time. We interviewed each pledge individually. While interviewing all the pledges, we were trying to find out who was injured because we had no idea who the injured party was,” Williamson said. “The mother didn’t want to give the name because she was afraid it would somehow identify her child. At that point in time, while doing interviews, it became known to us that there had been some events at the house where people were being blindfolded and taken down into a basement and being put into a large trashcan that was full of ice water.”
Williamson said, based on interviews with the pledges, new members were told to recite the history of Delta Sigma Phi while in the ice water and the faster they said it the faster they could get out of the water.
Williamson said they found the injured pledge, who said no hazing occurred.
“He stated to us that he had fallen and we’re trying to investigate whether those injuries occurred from an accidental fall or are they part of some of the hazing activities that appear to be going on over there,” Williamson said.
Wes Nichols, acting president of the Theta Chi chapter of Delta Sigma Phi, declined to comment.
Patrick Jessee, the executive director and CEO of Delta Sigma Phi, said in an email to the Red & Black that the national organization is treating these allegations “with the utmost seriousness, care and urgency.”
“Due to the report’s serious nature, Delta Sigma Phi is investigating the incident and has sent headquarters staff to campus,” said Patrick in the email. “At this time, our assessment does not show evidence to suggest any student is under imminent threat of physical violence. Delta Sigma Phi is seeking assistance from the University to gather more information. The fraternity, university and criminal investigations remain ongoing, and findings may result in chapter and individual accountability.”
Williamson said the investigation is on-going and UGAPD hopes to reach a conclusion soon.
“We’re still investigating,” he said. “We’re still talking to people, those who are willing to talk ... We’re trying to bring it to some conclusion as soon as we can.”
During the interim suspension, Delta Sigma Phi will be suspended from all activities until a conclusion can be reached.