The Eta Prime chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity has been suspended by both its national organization and by Duke.
Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta announced the University’s suspension of the fraternity in an email to the student body Thursday. The email also addressed the recent controversy over the “Asia Prime”—later known as “International Relations”—party Kappa Sigma hosted Feb. 1. Students from the coalition that organized the protest against the party last Wednesday will meet with Moneta Monday to discuss their demands.
Although Moneta’s email makes reference to the party and protests and directly refers to its effect on the Asian community at Duke, he said in an interview Sunday that the fraternity was not suspended at Duke because of the party.
“[The suspension] has nothing to do with the Asian theme party,” Moneta said. “In my meeting with [Kappa Sigma leaders] we discovered other issues that are being investigated.”
Moneta said he was unable to elaborate on the nature of the issues that resulted in the chapter’s suspension due to confidentiality agreements. He explained that the Office of Student Conduct is administering an ongoing investigation of Kappa Sigma’s conduct.
Eta Prime president Luke Keohane, a senior, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
“The status of the Kappa Sigma fraternity will be subject to decisions made by their national organization in consultation with Duke,” the Thursday email reads. “Though the party itself was offensive and may not necessarily have violated the formal rules of the Duke Community Standard, the fraternity faces serious consequences.”
The Kappa Sigma national fraternity released a statement Wednesday explaining that it is investigating Eta Prime’s “social event” from Feb. 1, which allegedly violated the fraternity’s Code of Conduct.
“The Kappa Sigma fraternity finds that the actions which have been associated with the event are inappropriate and insensitive and Kappa Sigma does not condone such activity,” Kappa Sigma Executive Director Mitchell Wilson said in the release.
The student coalition formed in response to the party made demands of the administration at an organized protest last Wednesday. The measures included a requirement of 10 hours of community service for each member of the fraternity and the establishment of a Group Bias Task Force composed of leaders of student organizations representing groups that historically have been marginalized.
A Bias Analysis Task Force already exists within the Office of Student Affairs to respond to claims of bias-related incidents, Moneta noted, but it is currently composed only of University staff. Administrators made the decision months ago to bring students into the group, although Moneta said the coalition may have been unaware of that decision when they made their demands.
An application is open online for students to apply to the group, with one position for an undergraduate and one for a graduate student. No student applicants have been selected yet, Moneta said. The already-established Task Force may fulfill the requests made by the coalition if students are allowed to participate, he added.
“One of the questions we will raise with the coalition is if they still want a separate [task force],” Moneta said.
Senior Ting-Ting Zhou, president of Duke’s Asian Students Association and a leading member of the coalition that organized the protest, said that the meeting with Moneta and other administrators will be the first of many to come in the semester.
“[Monday] will mostly be presenting our arguments to the administration and helping them to understand why we are asking for [them],” Zhou said. “[We want to gauge] how feasible and realistic they are and how we can implement them.”
Zhou also said she and other members of the coalition have been meeting with Kappa Sigma members to come to conclusions on how to cooperate effectively and reach the resolutions that the coalition is searching for.
“We hope that with permission from the national organization, they will take on our demands,” Zhou said. “We want to work together as much as possible.”