The University of Nevada, Reno, announced Tuesday, Dec. 20 that it has banned the Sigma Nu fraternity from campus for 15 years.
The University’s Office of Student Conduct said in a statement that they made this decision because of violations of the University Student Code of Conduct, the 2016 Relationship Agreement for the Recognition for Social Fraternities and Sororities and the University of Nevada, Reno Residence Based Alcohol Policy.
The University Student Code of Conduct states that the university has the right to investigate and address student conduct issues in incidents that happen in off-campus buildings of organizations that are related to the university.
“At the University of Nevada, Reno our goal is to educate students in a healthy, safe and secure environment,” a UNR said in that statement. “Our policies and Student Code of Conduct are clear: conduct that endangers the health or safety of any member or guest of the University cannot be tolerated.”
The decision follows the investigation into Sigma Nu by the Office of Student Conduct after a freshman pledge, Ryan Abele, sustained injuries from falling down stairs in the fraternity house that eventually caused him to lose his life in October.
Sigma Nu has 10 days to appeal or accept the decision. If they want to appeal it, they will have to request a hearing in front of the Student Conduct Hearing Board. They will remain in interim suspension until they have reached a conclusion.
The UNR Police Services investigated the incident when Abele was in the hospital and found there was not any foul play.
“We responded to the hospital after receiving a call from them that this young man had fallen down stairs,” said Assistant Chief Todd Renwick to the East Bay Times. “… We’ve looked into the incident, and it appears to just be an accident.”
Sigma Nu’s national office is also investigating the death of Abele and told UNR they will reach a decision about the Delta Xi chapter in January.
“The Fraternity’s investigation of the activities of the Delta Xi Chapter remains ongoing,” said Executive Director Brad Beacham in a statement released about UNR’s decision. “Upon completion of its investigation, the Fraternity will take whatever action may be appropriate. Sigma Nu Fraternity remains committed to its principles and to its mission of developing ethical leaders.”