Fraternities suspended until further notice

The fraternity presidents, the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC), and at least one delegate from every organization voted unanimously to agree to the suspension of all six fraternities on campus on Tuesday, February 21, at a typical weekly meeting. The other option? Individually completing the organizational misconduct processes for each infraction.

“We wanted to think about it as a pause,” said Meghan Harte Weyant, AVP for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. “We’re not looking to get rid of fraternities; we’re not looking to kick chapters off campus, to kick chapters out of their houses. We’re not looking to suspend new member classes.”

Weyant clarified that the need for the suspension was a response to student issues throughout the semester. There have been issues with all six fraternities on campus: Chi Psi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and X-Club.

“At this point, we have allegations of alcohol, drug use, violence,” said Weyant. There are also allegations of hazing, but Title IX is not related to the current suspension. At some point during the semester, students were hospitalized.

“I’m worried about high-risk behavior that puts students at risk of injury and death. Things like that happened,” said Weyant. “Over the course of the semester there have been students who have been medically transported as a part of student life and as a part of fraternity life. Those are the kinds of high-risk behavior that give us pause.”

Though she said that she did have several confirmations of transports by Emergency Medical Services, Weyant was clear: “I have no police reports.”

Incidents have occurred throughout the semester, with several being reported the weekend before Weyant’s email was sent out late last Tuesday evening.

For the first week, the fraternities were asked to freeze all activities.

“Our first order of business is asking chapters what is critical to the success of their brotherhood, so that they can have privileges reinstated at the rate of which those things are important to their chapters,” said Jazmine Rodriguez, Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

This plan obviously has some issues, considering the fact that many of the fraternities live in one house, and they have close relationships with one another. Weyant has asked fraternity brothers to use the “honor system” about what constitutes a meeting during this time, since their interaction is difficult to monitor.

As part of the suspension, Greek Week (scheduled for the end of March) has been cancelled. The sororities were not consulted about the decision to suspend fraternity life beforehand.

“It’s already a time we had set aside to focus on the Greek community,” said Weyant. “We don’t know yet what exactly that will entail, and I don’t even think social activities or fun activities during the course of that week are out of the picture. We want our focus right now to be on a series of summits around re-centering fraternity life, and I hope we have the support of sorority life and Panhellenic to re-center our FSL mission with the mission of the college.”

As of Tuesday, the Student Government Association was still discussing whether or not the annual Lipsync competition would be held as scheduled. Intramurals will not be affected, since students sign up for those events as individuals.

In the wake of the email on Tuesday, news coverage of the event spread fast. Last Wednesday, reporters were pacing up and down Holt, asking students questions. Outlets that covered the suspension include WKMG Orlando, WESH Orlando, and The Orlando Sentinel.

President Cornwell commented on the future of Greek life by bringing it back to the college’s mission.

“For everything we do I ask, is this aligned with our mission?  Does this department or program advance our core purpose of providing a liberal education for global citizenship and responsible leadership?  If the answer is ‘yes’ then we have to work continuously to improve the extent to which the program positively contributes to our students’ educations. The future of Greek life on campus is entirely a function of how well the Greek system can align with and contribute to our mission.”

There is no timeline or specific date indicating that the suspension will be entirely lifted.

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