Vice president of student affairs reaches out to Kappa Sigma national office

Tyler Manning and Cortney Wood

After a student said he was expelled from his former fraternity, Kappa Sigma, for standing against sexual harassment, Keith Lamb, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, reached out to the national branch for information and clarification on policies.

“I visited with their national executive director about the membership decision that was detailed in The Wichitan last week and he assured me that as an organization they will look at that particular decision to make sure that due process was offered to the individual, and that they followed their policies and procedures as an organization,” Lamb said. “For the allegations themselves of misconduct — or any violation of the code of student conduct — that’s where individuals can go through student conduct.”

According to Avery Whaite, the student expelled from Kappa Sigma, he received an email from nationals that stated he can appeal to have his case reviewed by submitting a written appeal within the next 30 day, but his expulsion stands as of now.

The university made the decision to investigate the claim, Lamb and Mario Ramirez, interim director for student involvement, met to discuss their roles in the investigation. Lamb is responsible for direct contact with the national organization and any findings are to be given to Ramirez to handle with Kappa Sigma’s chapter on campus.

According to Ramirez, Lamb took the initiative to discuss with nationals so Ramirez could communicate any information to Kappa Sigma’s chapter on campus. As the assistant director for Greek life on campus, Ramirez supervises and provides administrative support for the Greek Life system.

With that, Ramirez said he works to ensure student organizations operate in accordance with university policies and are held accountable to those policies. According to him, the national organization’s leadership is reviewing activities of the chapter for adherence to their established protocols, values and expectations.

Ramirez’s responsibility are to facilitate activities concerning budgets for various Greek organizations, advise each of the councils, train members and advisees and to plan programs.

According to Lamb, if administration finds a violation of the code of student conduct, then the individuals responsible or alleged to be responsible, will go through the violation of student conduct process.

“If we find there is a reason to believe that there was an organizational impetus, then it could certainly go through conduct with Greek Life,” Lamb said. “On an individual membership decisions with Greek organization, generally the university isn’t involved in membership decisions, so that’s why we have visited with the national organization so that it is reviewed.”

While the incident is under investigation, if the allegations turn out to be true, Lamb said this would go against campus values and “certainly not something that Midwestern State condones.”

“That is not something that Midwestern State feels comfortable with or good about at all, and this is counter to our values as an institution, so we would not like it if indeed that is the reason [for Avery Whaite’s removal from Kappa Sigma],” Lamb said. “We will let nationals do their process and see if they find otherwise.”

The consequences for the allegations, if proven to be true, could result in significant ramifications such as a suspension of the fraternity’s charter.

Lamb said, “If that is found to be true that an individual is speaking up in the right way for the right things and then removed from the chapter for doing so, the university could certainly assert itself, and it could be anything from probation to suspension for the chapter just based on what we find. There is a pretty broad range of potential outcomes, but it is hard to say what that would be until we know exactly what happened.”

According to Lamb, though this type of situation is rare, it is not the first instance of a fraternity facing suspension; Kappa Alpha Order was suspended for hazing in the past.

“The last time I was directly involved in something like this was with Kappa Alpha Order. We found Kappa Alpha Order — now this is an example where it would have been a chapter that we found responsible — responsible for hazing incidents,” Lamb said. “We worked with their local and their national organization to suspend the chapter from campus for three years.”

Jessica Wollenberger, Sigma Kappa sorority member threatened with expulsion and mass communication senior, said she went through the sorority’s senior ceremony on April 29 and is set to go alum at the end of the semester.