EDUCATION

Sigma Phi Epsilon at Virginia Tech disbanded for misconduct

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Tech chapter of a national fraternity that had recently moved into a $5.1 million on-campus facility has been disbanded for misconduct.

The Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter at Virginia Tech had an "ongoing history of alcohol and hazing violations" and that the problems weren't being addressed by members of the chapter, university spokesman Mark Owczarski told The Roanoke Times.

"We're dealing with the well-being of students, and that's paramount," Owczarski said. He declined to detail the violations.

The fraternity's Executive Director Brian Warren confirmed that the organization has closed the Virginia Tech chapter. While he did not give specific reasons, the group hinted at long-standing problems.

"For the past two years, fraternity staff members and local volunteers have been working to effect change, with little response from undergraduate members," Warren wrote in a statement.

According to a letter sent by chapter alumni, they already plan to work to re-establish the fraternity. Owczarski said under current procedures, it could take up to two years to do so.

This "is not the end for our chapter. We will not allow a small group of irresponsible brothers to ruin Virginia Kappa's legacy," the letter stated. It was signed by fraternity alumni, including former Virginia Tech Board of Visitors Rector John Lawson.

"In the immediate future, we will begin to prepare for the chapter's return to campus and strengthen our network of alumni support," the letter stated. "We must ensure our investment in the chapter house is protected for future brothers by completing our capital fundraising campaign and honoring the financial commitments we have made to Virginia Tech."

Those commitments include raising one-third of the $5.1 million construction costs and donating it to the Tech Foundation.

The house was the first Greek facility built under a new cost-sharing agreement available to fraternities and sororities wishing to have a housing facility on campus.

The school's housing and residence life department has begun work on a plan to convert the facility to a themed "living-learning" community that will be made available to non-Greek students.

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