MSU faculty, students explain sorority and fraternity code of conduct

GALLATIN COUNTY

POSTED: 6:49 PM Sep 18 2013
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Following up on a story we've been covering all week. Two alleged sex assaults at fraternities near MSU's campus. We wanted to get a better idea about rules and guidelines fraternities and sororities must follow. The university suspended two fraternities this week after two alleged rapes.

MSU student Jacob Maldonado explained why he became a member of Kappa Sigma.

"We're trying to be the best people we can," Maldonado says.

It's why he says he's upset about the stigma he believes folks have of Greek life.

"That's not why we're here. We're not anything to do with partying, you see hazing," says Maldonado.

It's a stigma Maldonado tells us is perpetuated by the actions of a select few individuals, like those suspected in the alleged sexual assaults last weekend.

"It's put into a light that this is common at houses when it's completely not and they're humongous ramifications for every house that I've ever heard of that has these problems," explains Maldonado.

We sat down with two more greek life participants.

They both tell us their individual chapters have their own set of bylaws.

"We have zero tolerance for any type of violation of campus rules or rules within our own house," says Alpha Gamma Rho member Lane Nordlund.

The students explain those rules and the houses themselves are often overseen by a chapter adviser, an alumni board, a standards committee and the fraternity or sorority's international or national headquarters.

They explain, in extreme cases, failure to uphold one's obligations can result in a revoked membership. It's taken very seriously and neither student has ever witnessed such consequences.

Students tell us each fraternity and sorority has their own set of guidelines they must follow but explain they all look to the university's code of conduct.

"It explains the rights and responsibilities students have when they attend MSU," says MSU Dean of Students Matt Caires.

We sat down with Caires. He showed us the MSU code of conduct and explains there are a number of policies outlined in the book, from drugs and alcohol to sexual misconduct.

"When you violate the various policies, what are the consequences associated with it? Anywhere from disciplinary reprimand all the way to the university saying you're expelled and criminally trespassed from campus," explains Caires.

But Caires tells us, it's not just student behavior, it's also student organization behavior.

"The student as part of an organization collectively have violated a policy, then we discipline the organization and fraternities, in part, it's hard to claim the organization doesn't have some level of responsibility when a violation occurs on their property," says Caires.

Caires explains their investigation into the two fraternities has only just begun. If there's enough evidence, Caires tells us charges under the code of conduct will be brought against the students and or fraternities.