5 Greek life chapters placed on interim suspension

By Rebecca Johnson, News Editor

Five Greek life chapters — Chi Omega, Kappa Delta, Pi Kappa Alpha, Alpha Tau Omega and Sigma Phi Epsilon — were placed on “Interim Suspension of Registration” on Wednesday. The two sororities and three fraternities allegedly violated the University’s Health and Safety Guidelines, the Student Code of Conduct and the Fraternity and Sorority Guidelines, according to University spokesperson Kevin Zwick.

Zwick did not comment on the specifics of why the groups faced an interim suspension, but said Pitt has received multiple reports of conduct violating University rules.

“Our policies and expectations have been made very clear to our students,” Zwick said. “We encourage all students to reflect on their involvement in our fraternity and sorority community and their organization’s commitment to a culture that values excellence and the well-being of its community members.”

Zwick added that an investigation is underway, and each chapter must “stop organizational operations until further notice.”

Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Phi Epsilon were previously under social probation, meaning they were barred from hosting activities “where alcohol is present, with non-members anywhere,” according to the Student Affairs website. Chi Omega, Kappa Delta and Alpha Tau Omega were in good standing with the University until Wednesday’s sanctions.

Representatives from Chi Omega, Kappa Delta, Pi Kappa Alpha, Alpha Tau Omega, Sigma Phi Epsilon did not respond to requests for comment.

Eleanor Streitwieser, the president of the Collegiate Panhellenic Association, said as the governing council for Greek life sororities, she is committed to holding chapters accountable to public health and safety guidelines.

“We stand with our chapters as they improve themselves and prioritize public health policy and public safety,” Streitwieser said.

Streitwieser along with Josh Wiener, the president of the Interfraternity Council, and Richard Norris, the president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, released a joint statement criticizing members of Greek life who break health guidelines.

“Upon returning to Oakland, we have noticed that there has been an alarming amount of partying and people not following those guidelines. To those who have ignored or disregarded these guidelines, we are incredibly disappointed and this behavior is unacceptable,” the statement said. “We ask you to be mindful of this simple truth: this is about more than just you.”

The statement also said that the councils would be barring in-person events with alcohol for the foreseeable future. They also required any in-person events without alcohol to follow social distancing guidelines and all participants wear masks. The in-person events without alcohol must be approved by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

This suspension comes on the same day that Vice Provost and Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner sent an email to students with a list of consequences for students who attend or host parties where social distancing isn’t possible or attendees aren’t wearing masks.

Bonner said student organizations that host a party or event can face “Interim Suspension of Registration” — the same sanction placed on the five Greek life organizations — and students hosting large parties can be suspended. Bonner added if the student organization has an active conduct history, the suspension may be extended.

“Your actions have consequences,” Bonner said. “If you want to experience campus life as well as in-person classes this semester, then support the health and well-being of the members of our community with your actions.”

Students living on-campus who attend large parties can have their housing suspended for the semester and students living off-campus can be switched to Persona Non Grata status, preventing them from entering University buildings or property.

A new code violation regarding health rules was recently added to the Student Code of Conduct. It said that a student who “fails to comply with guidance set forth by the University, federal, state and/or local authorities regarding public health and/or safety” may be sanctioned.

Student violations of the Student Code of Conduct can be reported online or emailed to Bonner. Violations by any member of the Pitt community can be reported through Environmental Health and Safety’s anonymous form or the RAVE Guardian mobile safety app.