Sigma Chi returns to Chico State after five years


Chris Laverrite inside of the Sigma Chi chapter house. Photo credit: Keelie Lewis

Correction: A previous version of this article carried a quote from Sigma Nu representative and chapter president, Blake Emery which was not verified. We have removed this quote due to conflict of facts by request of the party. 

After a five-year disaffiliation with the university, one of the oldest and largest fraternities in the nation will be returning to campus.

Sigma Chi, established in 1992 at Chico State, was voted back onto the InterFraternity (IFC) Council, Oct. 3 with a 10-1-0 vote. The organization terminated its relationship with the university in 2013 after allegations of brewing beer in the chapter house resulted in a two-year suspension. The chapter chose to disassociate themselves with Chico State rather than accept the sanctions.

The chapter was founded at Chico State in 1992. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson
The Sigma Chi house is located on Ivy Street near Riley’s Bar. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

Although, the 11 fraternities on the IFC Council began discussing the idea of reinstatement, approximately a month prior to the vote, Sigma Chi had shown interest in returning since fall of 2017 according to Program Coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, Abbie Page.

Page explained one of the challenges the university faced with monitoring Sigma Chi over the last five years.

“Our number one priority is student safety and when we have organizations operating off-campus we do not have any contact with them and cannot ensure their safety,” Page said.

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Program Coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, Abbie Page, believes adding to Sigma Chi to the InterFraternity Council will be beneficial to both students and the university. Image courtesy of Chantal Narez

The reinstatement process requires the chapter to submit specific materials, such as bylaws, new member policies and their stance on hazing along with various other documents for the committee to review.

The committee consists of university administration, Fraternity and Sorority Affairs staff and representatives from IFC. All materials submitted are evaluated resulting in a recommendation given to the voting members of IFC.

During the discussion prior to the vote, a handful of council members brought up concerns of how Sigma Chi would be monitored going forward.

Page went into detail on the various ways they would be supervised, which includes a review of each active member by Sigma Chi’s national headquarters, weekly meetings with herself and Davis Millard, assistant program coordinator for Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and a final evaluation after the probation period ends in May of 2019.

“This is not a you’re reinstated today, best of luck carry on,” Page said. “They are being watched from day one and they know this because everything moving forward is contingent on their behavior.”

The official colors of Sigma Chi are blue and old gold. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson
Sigma Chi was established in 1855 and originates from Ohio. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

Even though the probationary status recognizes the fraternity primarily for business purposes, they can still participate in philanthropies and community service.

After a couple months of good standing, they may gain the opportunity to host socials and the option to rush a line in the spring.

Chris Taverrite, chapter president for Sigma Chi, acknowledged Emery’s perspective, but offered his rationale on why the current chapter members shouldn’t be compared to those associated with the suspension.

“I understand that viewpoint, but at the same time none of the guys that were in that chapter are still around here now,” Taverrite said. “We have an entirely different base of brothers. We are also a different chapter. I think our terms of reengagement now should reflect here now and not who was here in the past.”

None of the 67 current actives were affiliated with the fraternity at the time of their disassociation with the university five years ago.

Chris Laverrite outside of the Sigma Chi chapter house. Photo credit: Keelie Lewis

IFC Council President and third year student, Trevor Guthrie, did not speak on the reasoning behind Sigma Nu’s decision but did admit his astonishment.

“I was surprised that an organization even voted no because of the transparency we had with everybody and all the work that went into it,” Guthrie said. “We tried to amplify the individual chapter’s voices and take into account their concerns.”

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Trevor Guthrie has been president of the InterFraternity Council since January 2018. Image courtesy of Sharleen Lowry Krater

Page suggested a lack of understanding on their part regarding the type of oversight and support the Fraternity and Sorority staff would provide to the chapter.

“Maybe they had a more difficult time seeing the advantages than the other chapters did,” Page said. “Whereas our team, since we had such a long time to evaluate everything and think about how it could play out, it was primarily only a positive thing for us.”

Taverrite does not expect any issues to arise during the probationary period and envisions members gracefully affiliating themselves with the community once again.

“Our future is entirely in our hands as long as we control our actions everything is going to be fine, Taverrite said. “I have no doubt in my mind that the men in our chapter are going to make great choices and promote the well-being of our organization.”

Ultimately, Page views the addition of an organization to the campus as a positive for the student experience.

“By having 12 different fraternities now we have 12 options for students to find something they can identify with and establish their own sense of belonging at Chico,” Page said.

Fraternity and Sorority Affairs can be reached at Bell Memorial Union 220 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Mathew Miranda can be reached at [email protected] or @MathewMiranda24 on Twitter