Drugging allegations, misogynistic chanting: SigEp chapter closes immediately

Photo credit: Rachel Apodaca
Photo credit: Rachel Apodaca

Sigma Phi Epsilon Florida Gamma chapter (SigEp), a social fraternity established in 1949 at the University of Miami, will close its chapter effective immediately, following the fraternity’s National Headquarters’ review of an anonymous report of drugged drinks at a pool party. The anonymous report also describes a video of many members of the chapter chanting about murdering and raping women before hosting their “Adult Swim” party on Saturday, Oct. 1, at an off-campus house in Coral Gables.

The Miami Hurricane has obtained the video and other reports that corroborate these allegations.

“Me and my other friend had like white powder in our drinks,” said Abby, a SigEp party-goer who asked that she be referred to by her first name. “I hadn’t seen that before.”

Initially, Abby thought the white powder could have been foam from carbon dioxide cans that were sprayed at the party, but she wasn’t certain. Later, after the party, Abby heard from other female partygoers that they suspected they were roofied or knew someone who thought they were.

“They had never felt that sick or they didn’t think they drank that much to get to the point where they were throwing up a lot,” Abby said.

Mary, a member of Greek life who preferred to go by only her first name to avoid retribution from her sorority, described hearing similar accounts through her sorority’s group chat.

She described one text which recounted a female attendee discovering white powder in her drink after turning away from her cup. According to Mary, several other sorority members shared through their group chat that they experienced something similar and warned their sorority sisters to be careful.

Mary says she later heard about a female partygoer vomiting uncontrollably and having difficulty staying awake after consuming only a few drinks.

These accounts, along with the video taken of SigEp’s pre-party chant led the national fraternity to revoke the chapter’s charter.

The video, with the “Adult Swim” banner visible in the background, shows a crowd unanimously chanting a song about digging up a woman then having sex with her repeatedly. The anonymous report, sent to the SigEp’s National Headquarters, also includes a line about keeping the victim in a wooden box.

Heather Matthews, Chief Communication Officer of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, issued a statement regarding the fraternity’s decision.

“On Friday, the Sigma Phi Epsilon’s National Board of Directors unanimously decided to revoke the charter of the chapter at University of Miami. The National Headquarters received admissible information that SigEp members violated policy and engaged in actions that are not aligned with the values of this Fraternity,” Matthews said. “We expect SigEp chapters to provide their members and campus community a safe and supportive environment. That’s the cornerstone of a positive Fraternity and university experience, so we take that expectation seriously and hold our chapters to that standard.”

At the time of this article’s publication, UM’s Dean of Student Affairs website still recognizes the SigEp chapter “in good-standing.” However, in a statement to The Miami Hurricane, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely confirmed that the SigEp Florida Gamma chapter has officially closed.

“The University of Miami continually communicates a clear set of policies and expectations to all of our Greek organizations that are designed to encourage a safe, healthy and positive experience for UM students,” Whitley said. “The University received allegations the Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter violated university policy and participated in behavior that is inconsistent with the values and expectations of the university community and their national fraternity. We have partnered with Sigma Phi Epsilon for 73 years and we support their decision to close the chapter effective immediately.”

Because UM has pledged to apply its sexual misconduct policy to any situation involving students at UM in the United States, including off-campus locations, victims may pursue disciplinary action.

Students can file a report through the Dean of Students Office website or contact UM’s It’s On Us chapter for resources. The reporting process is confidential.

This is a developing story. Contact The Miami Hurricane at editor@themiamihurricane.com with any information you may have.