Ohio State University suspends fraternity activities
The Ohio State University suspended the activities of almost all of its fraternities Thursday, citing a large number of ongoing investigations into hazing and alcohol — making it the latest US school to take action against Greek student organizations in the wake of troubling incidents.
Of the 37 fraternities that are part of the Interfraternity Council, 11 have been under investigation since the start of the school year for possible violations of the student code of conduct, Ohio State said. The majority of the cases involve “hazing and/or alcohol,” a statement said.
“This is an unacceptably high number, and the university will not tolerate behavior that puts the health and safety of students at risk,” read a message sent to fraternity chapter presidents by the school’s director of Greek life, Ryan Lovell.
“As a result … I am hereby suspending all social, recruitment and new member activities for Interfraternity Council chapters until further notice, effective immediately.”
Ohio State said the move was not based on any specific case, but instead on the high number of investigations.
The head of the Interfraternity Council at Ohio State said it would work with the school to find “tangible solutions to the problems that exist within our community.”
Ohio State, in Columbus, is one of the nation’s largest universities, with more than 45,000 undergraduate students.
It is the latest school to clamp down on Greek letter organizations following incidents of hazing, misconduct, and even deaths of students.
Texas State University
Earlier this week, Texas State University moved to suspend all fraternity and sorority activities after a 20-year-old fraternity pledge died following an off-campus social event.
Police said friends discovered Matthew Ellis, a pledge for the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, unresponsive at an apartment complex Monday morning; he was declared dead an hour later. A preliminary investigation indicated alcohol may have been a factor in his death, police said.
University President Denise Trauth suspended all activities of Greek fraternity and sorority chapters at the university. Trauth also ordered a review of the Greek life on campus that would propose recommendations for reinstating the chapters.
The Texas State chapter of Phi Kappa Psi had been suspended by the national fraternity for “unrelated matters” last week, according to a statement from Phi Kappa Psi executive director Mark Guidi.
Other fraternity incidents
— The University of Michigan is investigating fraternities there after learning the school’s Interfraternity Council suspended all chapters at the Ann Arbor school last week, according to CNN affiliate WDIV.
The council said it made the decision because some members of its community had failed to live up to its standards of conduct. But The Michigan Daily, the campus newspaper, said the decision came after allegations of sexual misconduct, hazing, and drug and alcohol use.
— Last week, Florida State University suspended all fraternity and sorority activity in the wake of a fraternity pledge’s death. Andrew Coffey, 20, was found unresponsive the morning after attending a party.
— An 18-year-old freshman pledge at Louisiana State University died in September after a night of heavy drinking at the Phi Delta Theta house, police said. Maxwell Gruver passed out on a couch and by the time fraternity members checked on him in the morning, his pulse was weak. He died at a hospital. Phi Delta Theta’s national office suspended the chapter following Gruver’s death.
— At Penn State, sophomore Tim Piazza, 19, died after his first night pledging a fraternity in February. Surveillance footage played in court showed Piazza falling repeatedly, including down a set of stairs, following an event that involved heavy drinking.
After his fall, a dying Piazza was placed on a couch for hours as fellow fraternity brothers searched on Google about head injuries, hid evidence and pushed back against those who wanted to call for help, according to prosecutors. Authorities weren’t called until the next morning, as fraternity members “literally delayed getting him help,” prosecutors said.
Twenty-six fraternity members are charged with various offenses related to Piazza’s death, including involuntary manslaughter, assault and hazing.