With Homecoming Week days away for the University of Iowa, nine fraternities look to find themselves out of the celebrations after being temporarily suspended.
On Wednesday, UI’s Vice President for Student Life, Melissa Shivers, announced the temporary suspension of nine fraternities; Pi Kappa Alpha, Beta Theta Pi, Pi Kappa Phi, Acacia, Sigma Pi, Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Delta Chi.
“What we did today by issuing a temporary suspension for the nine fraternities here is our approach to starting to understand more about what is happening but also to be really clear about what our expectations are of our students and the type of community we want to create,” Shivers said.
Since 2017, a moratorium was put in place on the university for Greek life organizations that banned open parties with alcohol and out-of-state formal events. The moratorium followed the death of UI freshman Kamil Jackowski. Jackowski died in April of 2017 while at a fraternity formal at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Shivers said the nine fraternities were accused of violating the open party with alcohol conditions of the moratorium. Some of the allegations included hosting tailgate parties but Shivers did not go into further detail about the violations.
“I believe whole-heartedly in what fraternities and sororities can do on a college campus. However, there are ways we expect our students to engage and behave,” Shivers, a member of the fraternity and sorority organization herself, said.
The nine fraternities will remain on suspension while the university conducts an investigation into the allegations.
“Depending on the allegations and the violations of the code, what we would do would depend on those violations so I can’t tell you exactly what will happen but depending on what we learn, the violations could be different,” Shivers said.
In a letter to fraternity and sorority members, Shivers said any chapter that refuses to abide by the rules will not have a place on campus.
Shivers said there is no timetable for how long the investigations will take.
For the last decade, the university has been working on initiatives to lower alcohol consumption on campus. Shivers noted, despite the suspensions, the university has made progress but said there is still more work to do.
In 2020, the Strategic Planning Work Group is expected to roll out a Fraternity and Sorority Life Strategic Plan, which is currently being developed. The focus is on risk management, health and safety and will take a look at factors such as recruitment processes, on-campus housing options and peer accountability.
“It will help us, I think, to redefine what it means to be a fraternity and sorority member at the University of Iowa,” Shivers said. “So, we’re taking those steps to try and address the issues but, what I don’t want to do, is suggest that fraternities and sororities all across the country are horrible because I do not believe that is true.”