UNL to Impose Sanctions on Fraternity Following Fire Safety Concerns

By  | 

Lincoln, NE-- Despite the state of Sigma Nu and their safety violations, the university believes they have a good system in place.

"We do a lot of checking already. What we try to do is prepare the students about liability issues and let them know about the consequences when they do these things," said Franco.

On Sunday, a fire alarm triggered at the fraternity house at 625 N. 16th St., that started an investigation. Fire inspectors found tampered fire alarms and smoke detectors in the house. In addition, alcohol played a factor that caused the university to suspend the fraternity through the spring.

Crews found a significant amount of clutter inside the fraternity and asked Lincoln Fire Inspectors to do an inspection.

Lincoln Fire Inspectors tell 10/11 News there were several violations of fire system safety standards. Smoke detectors and fire alarm warning devices had been removed or tampered with, hallways were impassable and several other smaller violations.

"Life safety could have been compromised had there been a fire in the condition the house was in," said Lincoln Fire and Rescue Fire Investigator, Rick Campos.

Several sources have said there were a number of areas inside the house, where garbage seemed to have been piled up inside, rather than tossed in the dumpster.

University Police Sergeant, Zach Byers said their office is investigating whether any criminal activity may have occurred.

UNL does what they can to keep a close eye on Greek Communities, but say they can't be everywhere at all times.

"We do have security force that is around weekly basis, and so we rely a lot on chapter leadership, on the advisers, and the fraternities all have house parents that live there."

In this situation, Franco says it was a holiday weekend and the fraternity's house mom was not there, but that is something UNL has no control over.

"Once the house in order such that young people can actually live in it, it's up to the chapter to decide. Upperclassmen can live there when they want. The house belongs to the corporation, and not the university."

Franco says students make mistakes, but this one incident at the fraternity does not represent the entire Greek community at UNL.

"We can't paint the whole Greek community with this one brush. Most chapters I'm proud of. Sometimes some chapters will do something they shouldn't. and that's what happened here."

"We are disappointed in having to impose sanctions on this house. But it is the proper action," Franco said.

The university is continuing its investigation and additional sanctions could be imposed and says its top priority is the safety and welfare of its students.

"We will continue to strive to ensure that our students have a safe environment in which to live, study and thrive," he said.