Quarter of Pitt Greek life chapters now temporarily suspended after University crackdown

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Sarah Cutshall | Visual Editor

By Rebecca Johnson, News Editor

Pitt on Monday placed four Greek life chapters — Delta Chi, Pi Kappa Phi, Delta Delta Delta and Sigma Sigma Sigma — on “Interim Suspension of Registration.” The two sororities and two fraternities allegedly violated the University’s Health and Safety Guidelines and the Student Code of Conduct, 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 violations by individual students and chapters as a whole.

This round of suspensions follows two other sororities and three fraternities — Chi Omega, Kappa Delta, Pi Kappa Alpha, Alpha Tau Omega and Sigma Phi Epsilon — also being placed on interim suspension last week for allegedly violating health guidelines. In all, a quarter of all Pitt Greek life chapters active before the pandemic have been placed on an interim suspension in the last week.

Zwick said all students involved have been placed on interim persona non grata status and have been given interim housing suspension, barring individual students from entering campus and any Pitt buildings until an investigation is completed. The chapters must “cease all organizational operations,” he said.

“Our policies and expectations have been made very clear to our students. Your actions have consequences,” Zwick said. “If you want to experience campus life as well as in-person classes this semester, students must support the health and well-being of the members of our community with their actions.”

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

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

After the first round of suspensions, Eleanor Streitwieser, the president of the Collegiate Panhellenic Association, 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 that all participants wear masks. The in-person events without alcohol must be approved by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

Kenyon Bonner, vice provost and dean of students, sent an email last week 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 nine 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.

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