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Eastern Illinois fraternity appeals ban over barn party turned violent

Published: Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013 10:51 a.m. CDT

CHARLESTON (MCT) — Eastern Illinois University's Phi Beta Sigma fraternity is appealing its suspension stemming from violence that broke out during a barn party on Sept. 15.

Phi Beta Sigma created an online petition called "Appeal of Suspension of Phi Beta Sigma" using The Petition Site, and directed it to Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs at Eastern.

Nadler was unavailable for comment Wednesday regarding the matter and according to Vicki Shaw-Woodard, coordinator of public information at Eastern, officials at the university can't talk about the matter because it's considered "a pending student disciplinary procedure."

Members of the fraternity are appealing the findings of a hearing by Eastern's Student Standards board on Oct. 16. At that time, the university suspended the fraternity for five years, required members to complete 300 hours of community service, pay a $2,000 fine, and requested that the fraternity move out of Eastern's Greek Court, according to the petition.

"On the grounds of the sanction being inappropriate for the violation, we are formally appealing the findings of the hearing," the petition states.

Through the online petition members of the fraternity also asked that Dajon Sherman, president of the fraternity, and Jajuan Jefferies be reinstated as students in good standing and that an apology be issued to Phi Beta Sigma.

The suspension of the Phi Beta Sigma came about after a barn party shooting at 2:24 a.m. Sept. 15 that left three attendees hospitalized. The gathering, which allegedly had several hundred and perhaps as many as 1,000 attendees, was hosted by Phi Beta Sigma and was promoted by G.O.M.A.B. Productions out of the Chicago area.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing by the Charleston Police Department and so far two men have been arrested for resisting a peace officer as a result of the incident.

Eastern's student code of conduct states that a written appeal of the process or decision of a suspension can be submitted to Eastern's vice president for student affairs within seven calendar days of the decision letter.

Eastern President Bill Perry confirmed that a written appeal from the fraternity was filed.

"If there is a violation of the code of conduct we need to go through that process and we are doing that right now," Perry said.

Perry added that he couldn't comment on the issue further because the process is "confidential and ongoing."

(c)2013 the Herald & Review (Decatur, Ill.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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