Following the facts

The University of Wyoming Police Department broke up a party on Fraternity Row earlier this month, issuing 21 underage-consumption-of-alcohol citations, arresting four individuals, citing one student each for interference and citing another student for permitting house parties where minors are present.

The party bust at the Alpha chapter of the Sigma Phi Epsilon house on the UW campus has spawned both an internal investigation by the fraternity chapter and a school-wide investigation by the university.

Vice President for Student Affairs Sean Blackburn said he did not know how many students were being interviewed about the incident, but said UW would continue to contact students as more information came to light.

“Whenever we look into a matter, we go wherever the facts lead us to. So, if somebody says so-and-so might know something, we try to track down so-and-so,” he said. “We just follow the facts and the details as they play out.”

Blackburn said he would not speculate about where the ongoing investigation might lead, or what punishments might stem from it.

Sigma Phi Epsilon Chapter President Skyler Everitts said all fraternity members involved in planning the party were punished, two were expelled, two were suspended and one resigned.

Everitts said other members present at the party — but not involved in its planning — have also been interviewed by the standards board, the fraternity’s judicial branch.

“We held over 20 standards hearings,” he said. “Every person seen was issued some kind of punishment, whether that was community service, mandatory (Alcohol Wellness Alternatives Research and Education) referrals or apology letters.”

Everitts said the local chapter was in contact with the national Sigma Phi Epsilon organization to ensure chapter leadership is taking all necessary actions.

He added while he does expect UW to take some punitive action against the fraternity at the conclusion of its investigation, he does not expect the national organization to close down the chapter, given no leading members approved or attended the party and were in fact out of town at a wedding on the night the party occurred.

“In our case, it was a few individuals who acted without the authority of the executive board, judicial board or any part of the house and basically threw a party that was (not allowed) by any part of the organization,” he said.

Not all party attendees were members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, Everitts said, so the university’s investigation involved far more students.

“The university has interviewed over 40 individuals,” he said.

Everitts said the party was planned by members of the fraternity frustrated by the chapter’s recent moves to enact dry legislation — rules banning the consumption of alcohol in common areas and, eventually, in private rooms within the fraternity house.

“Our organization was actually in the process of becoming dry,” Everitts said. “As of now, we are the only house to have dry legislation in place on this campus.”

The chapter’s legislation mirrors the national Sigma Phi Epsilon organization’s decision to make all of its houses nationwide dry.

Everitts said his chapter sped up the timeline for going dry established by the national organization so that all private domiciles — or rooms within the house — would be dry by June 1. The chapter has already banned alcohol in its common areas and alcohol is not permitted in private domiciles until the completion of its internal investigation.

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