Chapter standards and bylaws form the underlying structure for a successful Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter. High expectations for membership obligations, paired with comprehensive bylaws for the operations of the chapter, allow for sustainable operations that promote the ideal chapter experience. Click through the following links to learn more:
The Sigma Phi Epsilon Grand Chapter Bylaws and Administrative Policies and Procedures provide the basic structure for chapter operations and the minimum expectations for members and chapters. This document provides each chapter the authority to:
… enact bylaws for its government. These bylaws shall contain only those provisions necessary for local government and consistent with the Bylaws and Administrative Policies and Procedures of the Fraternity, and shall follow the outline recommended by the National Board of Directors.
Every member of Sigma Phi Epsilon commits himself to the Fraternity’s cardinal principles of Virtue, Diligence and Brotherly Love when he makes his oath of obligation. From this common bond, chapters build a fraternity experience aligned with these values.
This basis determines the expectations for individual members, and outlines their responsibility to contribute to bettering Sigma Phi Epsilon. While the expectations of individual members will vary from chapter to chapter, both brothers and the Fraternity as a whole succeed when all members are held to the highest standards and pushed to live a balanced life aligned with our values.
The chapter’s Standards Board is empowered to hold brothers accountable to these standards. That being said, it is important that every member of the chapter assist by holding brothers accountable to the expectations of membership.
Chapter standards fall into five categories:
- Housing (if applicable)
Sigma Phi Epsilon’s Grand Chapter Bylaws outline the minimum expectations for members in the areas of academics, finances, and conduct in the following sections:
Members are expected to maintain a 2.6 GPA for each academic term. Those brothers falling below this requirement for two consecutive semesters are subject to expulsion in accordance with their local chapter bylaws.
Source: Bylaws Article I Section 1
Members are expected to maintain a current account with the chapter. Those who are 30 days past due are suspended unless two-thirds of the chapter or AVC allows an extension. Those who are 60 days past due are expelled unless two-thirds of the chapter or AVC allows an extension.
Source: Administrative Policies and Procedures Section B #15 – 17
Members are subject to trial and punishment by the Standards Board for violating their membership obligations in one of the following ways:
- Offenses against statutory law, crimes, felonies and misdemeanors.
- Offenses against common law, not made crimes by any statute.
- Offenses against moral law, not punishable as crimes.
- Offenses against the charter, bylaws, administrative policies and procedures of the Fraternity.
- Offenses against the bylaws of any chapter.
- Offenses generally which involve violation of obligation.
- Misrepresentation of eligibility for initiation of himself or another member.
- Causing to be written or printed, or revealing in any manner whatsoever, any of the secret work of the Fraternity.
- Being knowledgeable of a member’s violation of any of the preceding and not reporting such.
Source: Administrative Policies and Procedures Section B #5
Every chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon is also empowered to set standards in the areas of involvement and housing.
Members are expected to be active participants in the chapter, campus, and community. Whether this is defined as minimum expectations for attendance at chapter events, involvement on campus, service-learning hours or progression through the challenges of the Balanced Man Program, chapters can set expectations that encourage brothers to stay involved to retain the benefits of membership.
If applicable, chapter leaders should work with their Alumni and Volunteer Corporation to establish the expectations for members as it relates to the house, above and beyond the expectations outlined in the lease. Housing standards set by chapters are often focused on the following expectations:
- The number of semesters/years a member must live in the chapter house.
- The amount owed for parlor fees by members living in and out of the facility.
- Consequences for damaging or destroying chapter house property.
- Expectations around the use of alcohol in the facility.
- Participation in cleaning and upkeep of the facility.
- Participation in the meal plan.
Enforcing chapter standards
Holding brothers accountable to the standards set by the chapter is critical to successful operations. Membership agreements and the activities of the Standards Board are the key drivers to enforcing chapter standards.
If chapter standards are clearly and regularly communicated to members, there should never be any question when a brother is held accountable for his behavior or performance.
A membership agreement is one way chapters can communicate standards to all members. The agreement should be concise and clearly outline the values of the chapter, along with expectations of members and consequences should members fail to meet the expectations. Asking members to review and sign an agreement each academic year ensures that all brothers are reminded of what they are expected to contribute to the Fraternity and the values they are expected to maintain.
Sample agreements for both housed and unhoused chapters are to the right in the Sample Chapter Standards Code document.
Standards Board trials
Members who violate chapter standards should be brought before the Standards Board for trial. The Standards Board is responsible for soliciting all perspectives and coming to a decision that aligns with the expectations of members, and does not conflict with the bylaws of the local or Grand Chapter.
The procedure for a Standards Board trial is outlined to the right. Beyond following the procedure outlined, it is critical that the Standards Board keep accurate minutes and notes from its trials, should the trial ever be called into question.
The Standard Board has at its disposal, the following penalties when a member has violated his membership obligations:
- Reprimand or censure.
- Imposition of a fine to a maximum of five hundred (500) dollars.
- Denial of specific privileges.
- Suspension for a definite time.
- Expulsion from the Fraternity.
*Note: A Standards Board trial is not held for members who have violated financial obligations.
In place of a penalty, the Standards Board may also decide to create benchmarks for a brother to complete, with the condition that a failure to do so would result in one of the penalties outlined above.
Expulsion is defined to be the permanent denial of the privileges and benefits of membership, including wearing or displaying the Fraternity insignia, attending undergraduate chapter functions and meetings, use of chapter facilities and otherwise identifying himself as a member of the Fraternity.
Suspension is defined to be the denial of all those privileges for a definite period of time.
When the Standards Board has expelled a member, he retains the right to appeal that decision to the entire chapter. The process for these appeals is contained in the Appeals Procedures document.
When a member is expelled, it is the duty of the chapter leaders to submit the appropriate expulsion paperwork to the Fraternity’s headquarters.