Sorority returns following suspension

Sigma Gamma Rho suspended following hazing incident in spring semester 1996.

After a five-year absence, Sigma Gamma Rho has returned to Ball State.

Last spring, the chapter inducted its first inductee, senior Howeeda Graham, since spring, 1996, when the chapter was suspended due to hazing. However, Graham is looking forward to starting again on a clean slate.

"We want to send out a positive image," Graham said. "I think we'll be an asset to the university as they will be to us. I think it will have a good comeback at Ball State."

Representatives of the National Panhellenic Council, along with then-Dean of Students Donald Mikesell and members of the sorority's regional executive board, ruled last spring that all of the sorority's inductees since the chapter's suspension were illegitimate.

Graham said the sorority's return to Ball State was something that was needed.

"It's almost a must," Graham said. "Any organization that is trying to reflect a positive image needs to come to Ball State."

The sorority, which celebrated its 79th anniversary Nov. 12, held an informational meeting last spring for students who were interested in the organization. Few attended the meeting, because signs were posted around campus saying it was canceled. While Graham does not know who posted the signs or why, she said the motivation to start anew has not faded away.

"The motivation was already there, because the sorority had been absent for so long," Graham said. "With anything, when someone tries to tear you down, it only makes you stronger."

Robert Turning, Assistant Director of Student Organizations and Activites and adviser for the National Panhellenic council, said he is looking forward to the sorority becoming an addition to the campus.

"I think it's going to be great for the NPHC," Turning said. "I think (Graham) will be a great influence on whatever women join the organization, and she will have our full support."

Joniqua Moore, graduate assistant to the NPHC, said it is a step up for bringing more multiculturalism.

"Bringing more minority greeks on this campus brings more diversity," Moore said. "It's never too many until you have all the organizations."

Graham said while the sorority is not hosting a week of events this year, it will continue to do local and nationwide community service projects it has regularly done.

Turning said he feels the outlook for the sorority is positive.

"My hope is that Sigma Gamma Rho will provide an example as far as striking a good balance between community service, social events, academics and personal development of its members," Turning said.


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