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Police cars parked outside the Athens Police Department on Sept. 18, 2017. (FILE)

OU chapter of Sigma Pi fraternity receives cease and desist after student death

Ohio University has issued an immediate cease and desist for all organizational activities of the OU chapter of Sigma Pi following the death of a recent pledge and student on Monday.

Collin Wiant, 18, of Dublin, was found unresponsive in an off-campus apartment that is allegedly an unofficial annex of Sigma Pi’s Epsilon chapter, according to a statement from the university. He was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Wiant was a first-year student at OU and a recent pledge of the fraternity.

University Spokeswoman Carly Leatherwood said the administrative directive to the chapter was “as an abundance of caution” by the university.

On Tuesday, Martha Compton, director of the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility (CSSR), sent a notification of cease and desist to Elijah Wahib, the president of Sigma Pi at OU.

Compton said in the letter that CSSR “has received information which alleges that (the fraternity) has engaged in conduct that puts the health and safety of (its) members at risk and is not in compliance with the behavioral expectations set out in the (OU) Student Code of Conduct.”

The conditions of the cease and desist include that the group can not meet in any capacity, officially or unofficially. According to the letter, that includes organizational meetings, executive board meetings, organizational programming, social events, philanthropic events, recreational sports competitions, and any trip or travel. 

Chapter members may also not communicate via any means, including voice, email, text or any social media platform, without pre-approval from Compton. All chapter members will be notified of the directive, Compton said in the letter. 

The fraternity must also send Compton a full list of its members (including potential new members and pledges), anyone who was given a bid but is no longer in the process and the reason they left, and any big/little pairings between organization members by 5 p.m. Thursday.

If Compton does not receive the above information, both the organization and Wahib would be charged with failure to comply under the Student Code of Conduct.

CSSR has also initiated an investigation into the allegations that Sigma Pi engaged in dangerous conduct. Members of the organization may be required to appear before CSSR or other university staff, and the members are expected to cooperate with the investigation.

“As both your organization and the university share a common goal of student safety, and in order to protect the integrity of the investigation, we ask that members not discuss the topics covered in their meetings with each other,” Compton said in the letter. “This investigation will take some time, and we appreciate your patience and cooperation.”

On Monday at about 3 a.m., the Athens Police Department responded with an emergency squad to 45 Mill St. after receiving a report of an unresponsive man. Wiant was transported by Athens County EMS to OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Wiant’s death is being investigated by APD. The university is also cooperating with authorities for the investigation. APD Capt. Ralph Harvey said in a news release that more information will be released as appropriate and in coordination with the coroner’s office.

APD has notified Wiant’s family, and OU Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones has been in contact with the family. The university is also providing support to students and employees affected by Wiant’s death.

Sigma Pi has had a chapter at OU off and on since 1910, according to a previous Post report. The most recent recolonization of the fraternity chapter was in 2009, according to that report.


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