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IU gave your student group a cease and desist notice. What now?


Junior Alpha Sigma Alpha member Megan Rectanus reaches out to students during the Student Involvement Fair Tuesday afternoon in Dunn Meadow. Cease and desist orders are given by the Office of Student Conduct to student organizations when there is suspected activity occurring that violates one of the IU’s rules including hazing and sexual misconduct. It is a hold on all activity for the organization receiving the order, meaning it can’t hold meetings or organize events. Andrew Williams

The Office of Student Conduct gives cease and desist orders to student organizations when there is suspended activity occurring that violates one of the IU's rules, including rules about hazing and sexual misconduct.

It is a hold on all activity for the organization receiving the order, meaning it can’t have meetings or organize events.

Libby Spotts, associate dean and director of student conduct, said she feels the cease and desist measure is not necessarily a punishment but more of a safeguard.

“It’s not actually a punishment, it’s an administrative tool that we use when we believe there may be an immediate threat of harm to students or to an organization,” Spotts said.

Zachary Shirley, director of sorority and fraternity life, said the measure is a slow stop to an organization while a investigation is being conducted.

“Essentially it’s an interim measure placed on certain aspects of organization operations,” Shirley said.

Spotts said the protocol is used because in organizations, such as some fraternities and sororities, members live together. It would be counterproductive to put everyone on interim suspension because it would cause more problems than it would solve, Spotts said.

“Continue going to class, continue living together if you do live on campus, but you can’t meet as an organization or hold recruitment,” Spotts said.

After a cease and desist has been given, an investigation begins regarding the allegations. After the investigation has been conducted, if there is no evidence of a threat of harm or conduct violation, the hold is removed, but the second outcome is more serious, Spotts said.

If there is enough evidence to suggest there was or is a threat of harm, charges are placed by the Office of Student Conduct, Spotts said. The organization is then notified of the charges and given the report.

A hearing is then conducted in which the organization is allowed to respond to the allegations it is being charged with. 

Chuck Carney, director of media relations, said the measure is used to ensure the safety of students and participants during the organization’s events.

“It’s something being done so that we’re keeping people safe,” Carney said. “If we’re not keeping people safe and making sure they can pursue the education they’ve come here to pursue, then we’re not doing what we should be doing.”

Spotts said with Greek organizations, there are added steps for notification if a cease and desist has been placed. The chapter president, Fraternity and Sorority Life division and national headquarters are among the notified parties.

Shirley said the cease and desist is not an action that will always lead to suspension or expulsion of a group. Rather, he said it is meant to be a pause in student activity while the student organization is investigated, so any concerns can be addressed.

“Let’s stop and pause and see what is occurring,” Shirley said.

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