After reviewing an appeal filed by a Stanford University fraternity whose housing privileges were suspended in December following a sexual-harassment investigation, the university has decided to uphold its initial decision to suspend Sigma Alpha Epsilon's (SAE) on-campus housing for two years, according to a university statement.
Stanford handed down the suspension after an investigation conducted by outside counsel found the fraternity's members infringed upon the rights of female students "in a discriminatory manner," according to a university statement released in December.
The investigation found that an event hosted by the fraternity in May 2014, and the fraternity's "insufficient response to concerns about the event, created a hostile environment for female students in violation of the university's sexual harassment policy," the university statement reads.
According to the university, investigators found that members of a Stanford sorority attending the SAE event in spring 2014 were "subjected to highly offensive material" that contained graphic sexual content and offensive comments regarding domestic physical abuse of women. The investigation also found that house leadership missed multiple opportunities to prevent, stop or respond to the harassment, despite the fact that concerns were raised in advance of a similar SAE event that took place the previous year, the university said.
These actions all took place before a new university policy went into effect this fall that revokes a Greek organization's eligibility for on-campus housing indefinitely following one major of three minor violations of university policy or law.
Vice Provost for Student Affairs Greg Boardman, the appeal officer for the case, found no grounds for overturning the findings of the investigation, the university said. Boardman also noted that a separate Organization Conduct Board review found SAE responsible for alcohol and hazing policy violations.
SAE will lose its house at 1047 Campus Drive for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years, though members will be allowed to stay in the house through spring quarter of this year, an extension from the original suspension. During that time, the fraternity will be under alcohol and social suspensions that prohibit social events with guests, the university said.
"The extension of time in the house is being provided in recognition of the disruptions involved in mid-year re-housing of all the fraternity's members, the absence of misconduct complaints against the fraternity this academic year, and positive steps the fraternity is taking to demonstrate leadership as an organization," the university statement reads.
SAE will be eligible to apply to re-occupy the house in fall of 2017 after completing steps that include the development of a plan, to be reviewed by university officials, for successful chapter and house management, the university said.
SAE leadership declined to comment.
The most recent Stanford fraternity to be handed a similar housing suspension was Kappa Sigma, which the university initially slapped with a one-year suspension in 2011 after the fraternity was first placed on provisional alcohol and party suspension and then violated that suspension by hosting an unregistered event during New Student Orientation. Kappa Sigma also appealed the suspension, but Boardman, too, then upheld the decision. Kappa Sigma was reinstated into its house just nine months later after working to meet various criteria demanded by Residential Education.