‘No single or specific incident’ led to U. Md. suspension of fraternity, sorority activities

The University of Maryland said “no single or specific incident” prompted last Friday’s order to fraternities and sororities on campus to suspend social and recruitment activities, after receiving several reports of unsafe activities.

In a statement released Monday evening, the university said “Our decision to suspend new member and alcohol-related activities was made after careful consideration of reports, observations and data-driven analysis of behaviors that we felt posed a threat to the safety and well-being of some members of our community.”

The school has not specified what misconduct led to the suspension of Greek activities involving alcohol, as well as any communication with potential new members.

“No single or specific incident led to this decision. Our decision was made to prevent such a significant incident,” according to the university.

A letter sent Friday from university officials to fraternity and sorority presidents informing them of the suspension referred to “activities that have threatened the safety and well-being of members of the University community.”

The letter included in capital letters that members of the Greek organizations “are to have absolutely NO CONTACT with any new member or prospective new member,” during the investigation.

“Any attempts to coordinate responses, deceive investigators, or provide false information to University officials will be pursued for the appropriate disciplinary action,” according to the Friday letter to the sorority and fraternity groups.

The suspension applies to all organizations affiliated with the College Park campus’ Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council, which represent 21 fraternities and 16 sororities, respectively.

Monday’s statement suggested the school intends to hire or retain an outside group, while it continues to gather facts.

“We plan to engage an external resource to assist with an investigation that moves as quickly as possible, and we aim to stay in close coordination with chapter and council presidents, as well as national organizations and Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life advisors. We are also actively identifying the best ways to communicate with fraternity and sorority alumni now and in the future.”

The action at Maryland comes just days after the University of Virginia suspended its Kappa Sigma chapter after an alleged hazing incident Feb. 21.

The university’s Interfraternity Council also imposed a three-week suspension on all fraternity-sponsored social events “as a commitment to anti-hazing efforts and out of respect for the ongoing situation.”

News outlets reported the Kappa Sigma chapter at Virginia was suspended after a pledge who had been drinking heavily fell down a staircase and hit his head, leading to his hospitalization.

In Virginia, the 2021 death of Virginia Commonwealth University student Adam Oakes after a fraternity hazing incident resulted in passage of anti-hazing legislation and a nearly $1 million settlement payment from the university to Oakes’ family.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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