In March, two females, ages 17 and 18, from Winslow, were found intoxicated in the house. They were taken in Orono and Old Town ambulances to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor to be treated for severe intoxication.
Now, the fraternity is wondering why, after an appeal to the Student Conduct Code Committee resulted in three of seven charges of violations against Sigma Nu being dropped — including the violation indicting them with providing the females with alcohol — the 5-year ban stands.
“They took away three of the seven findings but the penalty was still the same, which is kind of hard to see,” said Daniel Downey, president of the Delta Nu chapter of Sigma Nu.
“I presume the committee felt the bulk of issues for which they were found responsible were substantial enough to warrant the 5-year suspension,” said Dean of Students Robert Dana. “The appeal committee upheld the original sanction.”
On Tuesday, Downey said the chapter filed an official appeal of the decision with UMaine President Paul Ferguson this week.
“We hope that they lessen the sanctions,” Downey said. “We hope he looks at what the conduct committee saw and did and he’s like, ‘OK, you took away some of the findings, why isn’t the penalty reduced?’”
Dana said the appeal to the president is the third level of appeals, and at this stage it is more of a review of the procedural process than anything.
“It’s a review. What the president or his designee will do is review the case for the severity of sanction and for procedural irregularities,” Dana said. “Those are the only things that can be reviewed.”
In a letter written to The Maine Campus last week by Downey in response to an April 5 editorial in the student newspaper urging the fraternity to release information, brothers said they hired a private investigator “at a substantial cost.”
The letter said that the investigator helped assuage a written letter from the underage females thanking the fraternity brothers for helping them in their vulnerable state.
“We hired a private investigator who wrote our appeal and he made contact to the two girls from that night and [he] told [them] to tell us in writing that they were thankful for what we did and for potentially saving their lives,” Downey said. “We took care of them.”
Downey said he was unable to release the letter, citing the ongoing appeal with the president’s office as the reason, but wanted to release information on how the fraternity has handled the situation and the ongoing appeals process.
“A lot of our side has been hidden and we just wanted to get out there and explain what we’ve been going through,” Downey said.
Dana added that he couldn’t “speculate on what the committee might have seen or heard about or how they responded.
“The fraternity was already on deferred suspension for behavior similar to what they’ve been found responsible in this case.”