Trouble in SigEp house

Dorothy Wickens

As the housing selection process began to unfold this term, so did a conflict involving the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and two of its now ex-members. The fraternity — who was reapplying for formal group housing this spring — needed to fill all the spots in their house for their application to even be reviewed. In order to do this, President Mike Toycen asked for the contracts of Will Muessig and Brad Camp, two SigEps bound by their membership to fill the house, and signed them up without their permission. Muessig and Camp, who did not intend to live in the house next year, were unable to use their contracts again to select the rooms that had wanted to live in.
In meetings with Nancy Truesdell and Amy Uecke, Dean and Associate Dean of Students, the two students were told that they could not get their contracts back until two other students were found to take their places. Toycen eventually recruited two new members, but did not do so until the day of singles selection, one day too late for either Muessig or Camp to select the quads they had wanted.
Muessig said he was hesitant to hand over his contract to Toycen, but had asked repeatedly if that meant he was being signed up to live in the house. Toycen told him he was not. Muessig admitted that he should not have given over his contract, but also said, “Toycen lied to our faces.”
Toycen, who understood the formal group housing application process, knew that the administration had been particularly stringent in years past due to the recent housing crunch. Members of SigEp are required to fill the house if there are ever any empty spots. Toycen said that although Muessig had indicated that he wanted to live outside of the house, he “was still a member of the house at the time that housing selection came up, so I had no choice but to turn in his housing contract. I am not blaming Will, but had he deactivated earlier, this would not have been such a problem that it was.”
Muessig believes that the whole issue is just a symptom of a bigger problem. When SigEp had troubles filling the house last year, Muessig and others joined the fraternity to live in the house, not out of any desire to be a member.
Toycen believes their difficulties lie in its year round recruiting system. They have had troubles recruiting new members in the past, and although Toycen believes that SigEp is improving, this year was no exception. “The problem was in SigEp — we misjudged how many members we needed to recruit in order to be healthy and ensure people could get the living arrangements they wanted,” said Toycen.
Dean Truesdell believes that formal groups that function like this have missed the point of formal group housing. “Formal groups should want to live together.[there] should never be these struggles to fill the roster,” Truesdell stated.
Truesdell also said in regards to Muessig and Camp’s situations that students are not allowed to select in formal group housing and then half an hour later get their contracts back and select in regular housing. Rules like these are there to be fair to other students. The housing system relies on students being fair to one another, and the “rules are set up to discourage it [manipulating the system], but it’s not a perfect system,” she said.
In his meeting with Dean Truesdell, Muessig said he was encouraged to take Toycen to Judicial Board and to urge the formal group housing committee to reconsider their compact. Muessig and Camp, who have both now deactivated, have decided to do neither of these things, but they hope that students will be aware of this. Camp noted, “Will and I don’t want it to happen again.