Fraternities and Sororities Across United States Face Suspension: Greek Organizations Charged with Placing Members, Pledges in Danger During Pandemic
Fraternities and sororities at colleges and universities across the United States are facing sanctions and even suspension for placing their members and pledges in danger during the COVID-19 pandemic. The University of Tennessee is one of multiple institutions of higher learning at which Greek organizations are facing sanctions and suspension for jeopardizing the health and welfare of their members and pledges.
A number of fraternities at the University of Tennessee were called out by the school’s Chancellor for hosting secret parties, gatherings against school policy that failed to adhere to standards of social distancing and the use of face coverings. In addition, these fraternities were providing their brothers with strategies to take school mandated coronavirus tests and avoid reporting positive results to the university.
As of mid-September, the University of Tennessee reported nearly 800 active COVID-19 cases and more than 2,400 students in quarantine. The number of students being placed in quarantine was growing so rapidly that the university was forced to secure a hotel to house infected students.
University health officials have concluded that to a very significant degree, fraternities violating university policies associated with the pandemic have become the proverbial ground zero for the spread of COVID-19, not only among members of Greek organizations but not the student body at large. The Chancellor made it abundantly clear that all options are now on the table to curtail the spread of COVID-19 at the university, including sanctioning and suspending the charters of Greek organizations affiliated with the school.
As noted at the start of this discussion about fraternities and sororities placing their members and pledges in harm’s way during the pandemic, the University of Tennessee is far from alone. Up north from UT, Michigan State University faces a major COVID-19 outbreak. According to university officials as well as the local county health department, MSU fraternities are playing what is described as an “outsized role” in the significant coronavirus outbreak on campus.
Upwards to 700 of the 900-plus identified cases of COVID-19 in the county where MSU is located involve students at the university. The university currently is experiencing a 33 percent positive test rate, which is many times above what is considered a level reasonably safe to permit on-campus, in-person learning (which typically is pegged at 5 percent of lower). A considerable number of these cases at the university are connected to fraternity and sorority social gatherings.
23 fraternities and sororities at MSU are now under quarantine. At the present time, discussion is underway to strip fraternities of their registered student organization status at MSU. The university has identified parties and other social gatherings that violate COVID-19 safety directives as well as existing policies of the school.
The stark reality is that students are becoming ill as a direct result of fraternities and sororities that are violating the policies of different universities and national Greek organizations. These are protocols designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The 2020 rush of pledges at fraternities and sororities across the United States has been somewhat muted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This does not mean that rush activities are not occurring at colleges and universities across the United States. Where rush occurs, so there is likely to be hazing. Considering the types of activities associated with hazing, pledges (as well as full members) of fraternities and sororities are apt to be at a significantly greater risk of injury (and even death) this year when it comes to rush activities and hazing.
If you’re college or university student who believes that he or she has been exposed to COVID-19 because of the misconduct of a fraternity or sorority, or if you’ve been somehow injured by hazing, The Doan Law Firm is here for you. You can schedule a consultation with an experienced fraternity hazing injury lawyer at our firm right now by calling (800) 349-0000.
A nationwide law practice, The Doan Law Firm has 40 offices across the country, from north to south, from east to west. We can also schedule a virtual case evaluation with you online. There is no charge for an initial consultation.
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