A little less than a year into their experiment, students from the Nashville colony of the Kappa Sigma fraternity have decided to close the doors of their branch.
The decision came from the colony’s executive council following a meeting between Belmont officials and representatives from the national office on Dec. 2.
“We are no longer going to continue operations as a colony or a confirmed charter,” said Mike Crecca, the former grandmaster of ceremonies of the colony.
The colony’s council members decided to pull the plug on their organization after the representatives from the national office informed them that the meeting did not go very well.
“We simply pulled the plug for the safety of the members,” Crecca said.
The Dec. 2 meeting was called following the university taking disciplinary action against former colony president Peter Johnson. Johnson was held responsible when a freshman pledge was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning on Halloween.
Johnson has since transferred to the University of Tulsa and declined to comment for the story.
The national Kappa Sigma office sent Executive Director Mitchell Wilson and Director of Chapter Services Leo Brown to Belmont to discuss their policies of holding the head of the organization responsible for the actions of its members.
“We had a positive conversation and wish it worked out better,” Brown said.
In a statement to the Vision, Director of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity Neil Jamerson said both Belmont and the representatives from Kappa Sigma mutually respected each other’s views.
“It was agreed that both Belmont and Kappa Sigma hold our members to high ideals in order to positively develop them individually and collectively,” he said.
Although the university will not confirm whether a student has a conduct record, Jamerson said the university will address off-campus behavior that can create unsafe conditions.
“It would be both silly and irresponsible to turn a blind eye to those who create the conditions for these acts to occur,” Jamerson said in a statement.
Crecca and colony Vice President Torben MacCarter did not want anyone else held responsible for the actions of other students.
“We don’t want to absorb the risk of other students,” Crecca said.
Both were upset with how the university handled their organization and what they saw as a lack of communication and openness from the school.
“It would have been nice if they had a more open mind at the beginning. They were against us from day one,” Crecca said.
Freshman pledge Connor Ehman said the university treated them unfairly with their disciplinary actions.
“I was disappointed in the school’s response to something that was starting to become so constructive and positive,” he said.
Now that the organization is closing shop, the only thing left to do is tie up the financials.
“Essentially it is a checklist going through the ending steps and making sure everyone gets their money back and letting people know that we are not an organization anymore,” MacCarter said.
The hardest part for the five-person executive council was telling the other 60 members of their organization the dream was over.
“To watch it die in their eyes was very tough,” Crecca said.
While the members were upset, there was an understanding of the importance and maturity of the decision MacCarter said.
During their tenure, Kappa Sigma grew from a 35-student organization to 62 members strong, Crecca said.
With the dust settling and the money being divided out, the members of Kappa Sigma are not remorseful about their experience.
Crecca was proud of all the men he met and does not see his new friendships ending with the organization. The former members still plan to get involved with the on-campus activities and become more active within the school.
“Even though the letters aren’t there, the brotherhood is there,” Crecca said.