Sigma Nu fraternity sticks to strong academics policy

After falling short of the desired GPA this fall, Sigma Nu will ban house drinking.

Vadim Lavrusik

The only things Sigma Nu fraternity members will crack open in their house this semester are books.

The 48-member local fraternity won’t host any parties or allow drinking at its house this semester after failing to meet the desired house grade point average fall semester.

The Sigma Nu national fraternity requires all of its chapters to achieve a higher average GPA than the all-men’s and all-fraternities’ average GPAs on campus. If a chapter’s average falls below both, members aren’t allowed to drink alcohol in their house.

According to Chad Ellsworth, University adviser to the greek community, the local chapter received a 2.84 house average fall semester, lower than both the all-men’s GPA (2.99) and the all-fraternity GPA (2.91).

Blaine Hust, president of Sigma Nu, said a combination of tough University courses last semester and “a lack of focus” contributed to the fraternity failing to meet the requirements.

“People kind of lost the balance that they should be having between grades and doing other things,” Hust said.

He said their house had one of the highest fraternity averages for the 2006 spring semester, with a 3.06.

“It is a wake-up call, and lets us know it’s not where we should be, not where we want to be,” he said.

The Interfraternity Council, the governing body for fraternities, mandates all chapters have above a 2.75 GPA to have alcohol and parties, which is not as harsh of a policy, he said.

Brad Beacham, executive director of the Sigma Nu national fraternity, said the low GPA surprised him because it is a nationally recognized chapter of Sigma Nu for its academics.

“We want our members to be students first; they’re at college for that purpose and the fraternity should support and complement that (idea),” he said.

He said he is confident the men will improve their GPAs for spring semester.

The University requires all students to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0, which is also required for a person to graduate.

If students don’t receive a 2.0 GPA for a semester or for their cumulative GPA, the University places them on academic probation until they raise their cumulative or semester GPA to at least a 2.0.

The University suspends students on academic probation who fail to receive a GPA above 2.0.

Jerry Rinehart, vice provost for student affairs, said the University doesn’t have any special academic rules for the greek community.

However, Rinehart said according to the University Greek Partnership Statement, the fraternities and sororities have a goal to be above the all-men’s and all-women’s GPAs at the University.

If they don’t meet the goal, he said he sends them a letter of encouragement, but there are no separate penalties because each chapter has its own rules and expectations regarding academics.