Pending Investigation Threatens Derby Day at Ole Miss

    The Sigma Chi House at Ole Miss/ Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

    Alleged second alcohol violation against host Sigma Chi may result in cancellation of Derby Day activities on the Ole Miss campus

    By Christina Huck, senior journalism major, Meek School of Journalism and New Media

    Email Christina Huck at cfhuck@go.olemiss.edu

    The University of Mississippi’s annual Derby Day event may be a hatless affair on campus this year.

    Following an alleged second violation of university alcohol policy while on probation, Ole Miss social fraternity Sigma Chi, which hosts Derby Day, is under investigation by the Dean of Students’ office –– one that could result in cancellation of all Derby Day activities scheduled for this week.

    In a telephone conversation with a student reporter on Tuesday, Ole Miss Dean of Students Thomas J. “Sparky” Reardon declined to provide HottyToddy.com with details on the issue. “Since it is an ongoing investigation, I cannot comment on the matter,” Reardon said.

    Last year, Sigma Chi was flagged with their first strike over alcohol at their annual spring party –– Ground Hog Day. The fraternity’s second strike was registered recently, when alcohol was allegedly found at Sigma Chi while the fraternity was still on probation for its first infraction.

    Both the first and second infractions of university alcohol policy were discussed at a meeting of sorority philanthropy chairs held on Monday night. Ole Miss student Madison Harvey, a philanthropy chair in attendance at the meeting, told a reporter that they were briefed on the two strikes and the pending investigation by Sigma Chi President Buckner Corso, who ran the meeting with the fraternity’s advisor.

    Once an organization receives its first strike, either due to alcohol or drugs, there are several rules and regulations that the organization must follow once put on probation, according to the University of Mississippi’s two-strike policy, titled “Minimum Sanctions for Alcohol and Other Drug Violations,” published on the university website. The policy is also outlined in the University Policy Directory and the M-Book.

    Among those are: an alcohol/ drug education program, related fines or fees, community service, probation for the remainder of the semester and the two following semesters.

    If that organization receives their second offense while on probation, suspension of social activities takes place immediately and remains in effect for at least one complete semester following the suspension’s effective date.

    “They are supposed to be meeting this Thursday,” said Mary Garret, the Sigma Chi House Director. “We hope that they let the girls dance on Saturday.”

    If the fraternity is found guilty, the philanthropy event will be canceled.

    Derby Day, a popular Greek event held each spring, encompasses a week of activities, including the hiding of a derby somewhere on the campus, with clues as to its location given out daily. The event also includes a penny drop, a coach selection on Wednesday (today) of Derby week, and Saturday games among the sororities, followed by a dance competition.

    The only event that is still occurring despite the investigation and outcome is a blood drive.

    Money raised through the event has traditionally gone to one or two Oxford and Lafayette County organizations.