Debates over allegations and the nature of “journalistic integrity” are resounding through Temple’s campus as a result of a front-page story published by the Temple News on April 26, 2001.
The story, headlined Students Allege Hazing, highlighted accusations made by two former pledges of the Sigma Pi International fraternity, which alleged that the fraternity has engaged in illegal acts of hazing.
The article has led to disgruntlement on the part of several fraternity members, and has also ignited an “administrative inquiry” by advising members of the Temple University Greek Association.
“Hazing is reprehensible, unacceptable and illegal, under the policy of Pennsylvania’s state law,” Kristl Wiernicki, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Greek Advisor said. “Temple’s policy tracts the definition, word for word. We take allegations of hazing very seriously.”
The fraternity, however, responded to the publication with animosity toward certain media practices.
“I think it’s a shame that the news or press of any caliber feel the need to focus on slanderous negativity to get the readers’ attention,” Paris Arnold, president of Sigma Pi said. “It hurts myself and the brotherhood I am a part of to have such vicious allegations publicized across Temple University campus. Where was the Temple News reporters when my fraternity or, for that matter, any fraternity did good on this campus?”
“If wearing a pledge pin and learning the history of Sigma Pi international is considered hazing, then we’re guilty. As for the allegations-completely false.” Paris Arnold Sigma Pi President.
In fact the previous two issues of the Temple News featured stories on the Delta Zeta sorority and the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and their philanthropic activities on campus.
While an administrative inquiry is being made into the allegations, no formal investigation is currently taking place by the Temple University Greek Association.
“[To] the best of my knowledge, neither of these former pledges made official complaints,” Wiernicki said.
She emphasized that any student wishing to make a complaint regarding questionable fraternity practices should report to the Campus Police, who could then initiate official investigative proceedings.
Paris Arnold, speaking on behalf of the fraternity, denies the allegations that were made.
“If wearing a pledge pin and learning the history of Sigma Pi international is considered hazing, then we’re guilty. As for the allegations-[they are] completely false.”
He also said that he was treated unfairly when questioned for the first article, which said that he declined comment in regard to the specific allegations made by the former pledge class members. Paris said that he would have commented, if he had been aware of the fact that the story was about his fraternity.
When asked, hypothetically, how he would respond to rumors of hazing within his fraternity, Arnold declined comment.
While Temple News attempted to contact Sigma Pi with follow-up questions, they declined answering further questions on May 1 regarding potential legal action that has been threatened by the fraternity. Sigma Pi could not be reached on Wednesday for further comment.