Sigma Rho Lambda is not gone. It is still a group. The fraternity still has an identity on campus. Its letters and its members’ lifelong bond will always have meaning.
To the men of Sig Rho, their fraternity was a way to socialize, it was “a solid group of friends for life.” For some, the friendship was even the thing that kept them at Ursinus.
However, Sig Rho is no longer an active fraternity at Ursinus. Currently, the official state of Sig Rho is that its charter is suspended for three years. This means that the frat cannot rush a new class until 2021. By the time the fraternity would be able to rush a new class, all of the current members will have graduated. Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Deborah Nolan, reports that the suspension is due to “a number of school policy violations.”
As a result of policy violations at social events prior to the suspension, the administration had ongoing conversations with Sig Rho, in which they discussed risk reduction strategies and encouraged a cultural shift. Last year, the Student Activities and Services Committee recommended a three year reset for Sig Rho to give the frat the opportunity to “make cultural changes in the group to lead down a more positive path.” The committee determined that this would be the best way to “move forward in a way that would be productive. . . to create a successful future. . . create new values and organizational structure.” Dean Nolan believes that three years will give the fraternity “ample time to reset.”
When asked about Sig Rho, President Blomberg stated that he “respects the judiciary actions” of the Student Activities and Services Committee.
Dean Nolan recognizes that Sig Rho has a “long, rich tradition” on the Ursinus campus and that the fraternity has made a “longstanding contribution to community.” She adds that she has “a tremendous respect for the men” of Sig Rho and what they did to try to honor the 90 years of their fraternity at Ursinus. She welcomes their return and hopes that in the future, they can be leaders in protecting and upholding the mission of Ursinus.
Brittani Schnable ’19 said that the men of Sig Rho were “genuine guys who truly cared about other people.” She adds that they were “always willing” to help others and that “they took care of people.” She remembers their suite in Reimert, suite 110, as a safe space on many a Friday and Saturday. One thing that was special about Sig Rho was that “everyone was welcome in their suite,” said Schnable.
In response to the suspension, Schnable points out that in regards to risks at social events, “sports teams do not get the same repercussions. They are not held to same standard as Greeks.”
What does Sig Rho’s suspension mean for other Greek organizations on campus?
Dean Nolan encourages all groups to engage with the administration. When asked about Greek life in the future, President Blomberg reported that he recognizes how Greek life represents the “social impact of things bigger than ourselves.”
After the three year suspension and once they are alumni, the alumni of Sig Rho do plan to come back and reconstitute the fraternity.