A handful of students will be looking for new housing arrangements as the opening of UNC-Chapel Hill’s spring semester approaches. On Tuesday, Kappa Sigma’s landlord announced it is terminating the fraternity’s current lease in the wake of a large-scale drug ring that implicated members.
Who is the landlord, you ask?
It’s the fraternity itself.
UNC’s Kappa Sigma house is owned by the Alpha Mu Housing Foundation, a branch of Kappa Sigma’s national organization that was established when the group bought the house in 2001. The house is owned by the alumni corporation—and the president of the foundation decided to kick out all the students currently living there.
“Based on the very serious allegations against the Chapter and the actions of the University and Fraternity, the Foundation has no choice but to terminate the Lease, effective immediately,” foundation president Benjamin Cone III said in a statement distributed by Robert Brown Public Relations.
Two former members of Kappa Sigma have been indicted in a U.S. Department of Justice investigation that uncovered a lot of drugs circulating in Chapel Hill and at other North Carolina universities. The evidence against David Bayha and Jason Xu was cited in the summary of the ongoing investigation: according to a cooperating defendant, Bayha sold marijuana out of his room in the house, posted prices in the fraternity GroupMe, and sold an eighth to an undercover cop. Former member Jason Xu was identified by a different defendant as buying half an ounce of cocaine every two weeks during the 2017 and 2018 school years. He left the evidence on his iCloud account.
Alumni discussed what the news meant in the Alpha Mu- Kappa Sigma Facebook group, concluding that it was a proactive decision based on the current investigation. The UNC chapter of Kappa Sigma is still active, according to the national organization’s website.
Kappa Sigma was already the worst-positioned of the three fraternities caught in the drug ring; it’s the youngest fraternity, established in 1893, versus Phi Gam and Beta’s pre-Civil War footholds. The chapter’s alumni are also less connected; while UNC’s Beta chapter has a Bank of America CEO, and a former NC governor was a member at Phi Gam, Kappa Sigma’s national organization does not list any notable Tar Heel alumni.
The Kappa Sigma house is also the cheapest of the three properties: Zillow estimates it costs $1.3 million, which is worth considerably less than Phi Gam’s $1.8 million house, or Beta’s $2.1 million digs. All three houses are owned by their organizations, although the Kappa Sigma house was purchased decades after the other two.
Phi Gamma Delta was also suspended by its national chapter but the members haven’t been kicked out just yet. All three fraternities are still under suspension with the university but they have not had their charters revoked by the school or by their national organizations.
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