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Oregon State University has suspended the Kappa Sigma fraternity  for two years for student conduct code violations. (Amanda Cowan | Corvallis Gazette-Times)

Oregon State University has suspended a fraternity for the first time in more than 10 years.

Kappa Sigma, whose history on campus dates to 1905, began serving a two-year suspension Jan. 1, said Steve Clark, OSU vice president for university relations and marketing.

Kappa Sigma appealed the suspension, but its appeal was denied.

Clark declined to state the reason for the suspension, noting that the violations involved “repeat activities outside of the boundaries of the code of student conduct at Oregon State University.”

Clark did say the violations are “quite unrelated” to the issues that are part of the discussion in the Collaboration Corvallis project.

The project is a joint venture between the city and the university to examine and resolve neighborhood livability issues stemming from OSU enrollment growth.

The collaboration’s workgroups have heard from dozens of residents who have raised concerns about student behavior in the neighborhoods.

Kappa Sigma president Billy Anderson told the Gazette-Times that to his knowledge the suspension stemmed from an incident that occurred at the fraternity on St. Patrick’s Day weekend in 2012.

Police reports reviewed by the Gazette Times show that the police investigated a third-degree assault case at Kappa Sigma on March 18, 2012, but no information was available at presstime regarding the outcome of the case.

Corvallis police records also show that officers made 20 calls on the fraternity in 2012 but that just nine of the incidents were serious enough to require a report.

Included was a third-degree assault case June 8, a fight Oct. 13 and three visits in which officers gave out “special response notices,” for quality of life violations, on June 30, Sept. 20 and Oct. 6.

Police Chief Jon Sassaman said that 20 calls to one Greek house is “more than we hope to have happen” but added that the nine cases requiring a report qualified Kappa Sigma for “about average” in that area.

Clark said the Kappa Sigma suspension is “a rare occurrence” and that one involving the Greek system has not been taken at OSU in the past 10 or 12 years.

“It’s an extensive process,” said Clark of the student conduct investigation. “Matters of concern were raised and investigated. There was a formal review, facts were gathered and due diligence was done. The process is almost a judicial review.”

“The university did what they need to,” said Anderson, who added that in his view the fraternity has made major changes to address the problems.

“Over the last few months we have massively restructured our chapter by removing members that do not meet the fraternity’ standards on how gentlemen should carry themselves.

“We also have become a completely dry (alcohol-free) fraternity, and we hope to increase our membership with true gentlemen that will make the community proud.”

Clark said that Kappa Sigma can apply for reinstatement at the end of 2014. In the meantime the house can continue to operate as a fraternity, but the suspension prevents Kappa Sigma from using resources and facilities and participating in Greek life activities that are available to recognized houses.

“We fully intend to show the university the changes that we have already made in hopes that we may be reinstated prior to the suspension end date,” Anderson said.

Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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