Evidence emerges of ongoing SigEp events

Photo credit: Roberta Macedo

The Miami Hurricane has received screenshots confirming the planning and cancellation of an event between Zeta Tau Alpha (Zeta), a sorority at the University of Miami, and UM’s former Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp) chapter.

The messages posted to the Zeta GroupMe chat by the sorority’s social chair, describes an off-campus birthday party for a male friend and explicitly states it is “not a closed event with any fraternity.”

However, in a successive message in the groupchat, another member of Zeta, cautions the sorority’s members who may be attending.

“Even though this isn’t necessarily a closed event with anyone, please be aware of how this may look from the outside if a sorority is hanging out with a frat that just got kicked off campus because of video footage about what they were doing,” the text read.

SigEp’s national headquarters revoked the chapter’s charter in early October, 2022, after a video emerged of members chanting about murdering and raping women before their signature “Adult Swim” event. The national headquarters also received anonymous reports of spiked drinks.

A final text posted to the Zeta group chat by the sorority’s risk manager, on behalf of Zeta’s president, announced the event’s cancellation once UM’s Dean of Students Office was made aware of the party.

“The deans have been made aware of the possible event tonight,” read the message. “Under no circumstances is anyone to go to the event tonight and if you do, you will be sent to judicial for membership review.”

Judicial is a body within Zeta, and many other Greek organizations, that administers punishment for members, including revoking one’s membership.

The two Zeta members who organized the event are currently being sent to “judicial” to receive their punishment.

“Because deans are involved this also means you could face expulsion,” the message from the risk manager continues. “This is an unauthorized group that is not recognized by the university and under no circumstances should any Zeta member attend.”

The message concludes with a list of potential repercussions for any Zeta member who chose to attend the event, including loss of membership, the Zeta chapter being shut down and expulsion from UM.

The event caught the attention of two members who sent anonymous reports to the school and a third who spoke with The Miami Hurricane, although she preferred to remain anonymous.

“I know a lot of girls that were against it that didn’t speak up, but, unfortunately, a lot of girls were interested too. To be honest, it’s embarrassing and disappointing,” the anonymous sophomore Zeta member said.

“It was kind of a sticky situation for execs because they probably didn’t know how to handle it until it got sent to the school,” she continued. “Our president and our exec are all super, super sweet people and have good morals overall.”

The communication between the school and Zeta is unclear. However, once the complaints were sent, the event was canceled.

“The Dean of Students Office received two anonymous complaints alleging the now closed fraternity was hosting an off-campus house party. The complaints were investigated but no additional evidence was uncovered to support the claims. There is no evidence supporting claims that any other organization has partnered with or been involved with planning social events with the closed chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon at this time,” UM said in a statement to The Miami Hurricane.

The anonymous Zeta source also shared rumors that SigEp has continued operating underground, allegedly hosting events with other sororities and is planning to run a “dirty rush” in the spring 2023 semester. a rushing process operated by a banned fraternity and unauthorized by the Dean of Students Office.

The Miami Hurricane has not been able to corroborate these claims beyond anonymous reports from Greek life members.

Another anonymous sophomore shared that her friend had attended SigEp events as recently as Dec. 1 or Dec. 2.

“There have been underground parties going on,” she said.

Given that SigEp is no longer an organization on campus, it is much more difficult to determine what constitutes a fraternity event.

According to “UM’s Greek Life Social Event Policies and Guidelines,” fraternities have to register parties (RPs) with the admin if the party is on campus. These events require two UM police officers, must be registered with UM at least two weeks from the event and are capped at eight a semester in addition to tailgates. The fraternity, the interfraternity council and the Dean of Students Office help coordinate the event.

None of the fraternity’s events will have the “Registered Party” (RP) label, used to identify university-sanctioned Greek life events. Yet, unregistered events, common throughout Greek Life, could continue in secret.

Unregistered events planned with sororities, such as the Zeta event, constitute SigEp activity as would a rushing process, although The Miami Hurricane does not have any proof of a rushing process.

However, there is no rule forbidding the former members of SigEp to gather casually, unless the gathering is under the SigEp name. The delineation between fraternity events, especially unregistered ones, and socializing is blurry, thus making it difficult to identify and punish any fraternity that chooses to operate “underground.”