Ohio University ordered the Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity to immediately “cease and desist all organizational activities” on Tuesday, a day after a first-year student pledge from Dublin was found dead at an off-campus apartment believed to be an unofficial annex of the fraternity.
Collin L. Wiant, 18, was pronounced dead early Monday morning at OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital after being found unresponsive around 2:50 a.m. at the apartment on 45 Mill St. Wiant was a first-year student at OU who had recently pledged to the Sigma Pi Epsilon chapter.
Athens police are investigating the cause of the student’s death in coordination with the Athens County Coroner’s office. His family has been notified by police, who reported no identified dangers to the public from the department’s investigation.
OU’s Dean of Students was in contact with Wiant’s family and the university said it is cooperating with investigating authorities and offering grief counseling support to students and employees affected by his death. The university said in a press release that the apartment house where Wiant was found is allegedly an off-campus annex of Sigma Pi Epsilon.
On Tuesday, the university sent the fraternity a cease-and-desist letter concerning all activities and copied the Sigma Pi fraternity’s national office.
While an OU press release characterized the action “as an abundance of caution,” the letter to the fraternity was much stronger.
“The Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility has received information which alleges that your organization has engaged in conduct that puts the health and safety of your members at risk and its not in compliance with the behavioral expectations set out in the Student Code of Conduct,” according to the letter signed by director Martha Compton to Elijah Wahib, identified as president/sage of the chapter. “This letter serves as notification that the Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity has been assigned an administrative directive to immediately cease and desist all organization activities. This action is being taken because the alleged conducts puts the health and safety of Ohio University students at risk.”
No specific allegations of conduct are cited in the letter, which went on to emphasize that “the group is not to meet in any capacity, officially or unofficially.”
″...This also includes communication with and among the group by any means, including voice, email, text or any social media or platform,” Compton wrote. “I will notify all chapter members of this directive. To reiterate, I expect there to be no other communication with your members, unless it is pre-approved by me.”
Compton wrote that she also expects Wahib to supply her by email as soon as possible but by no later than 5 p.m. Thursday: “a full list of the fraternity’s membership, including any potential new members or pledges; a list of anyone who was given a (pledge) bid but is no longer in the process, the reason they are no longer in the process, and any documentation related to their removal or withdrawal from the process; and any and all big/little (brother) pairings among organization members.”
″...Failure to do so will result in both the organization as a whole and you as an individual being charged with Failure to Comply under the University’s Student Code of Conduct,” Compton told Wahib in the letter. That could result in both individual and organizational disciplinary action, she added later.
In addition, Compton said her office has initiated an investigation and members of the fraternity may be required to appear before the standards office or other university staff.
“We expect your and your members’ assistance and cooperation with this investigation,” the letter states, ”...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. This investigation will take some time, and we appreciate your patience and cooperation...”
Editor's clarification: A previous version of this story identified the fraternity as Sigma Pi’s Epsilon chapter.