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‘Weighing the safety of many’: IU administration responds to disciplined greek chapters



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Several IU greek organizations have been suspended or put on cease and desist during the 2018-2019 school year. Sarah Zygmuntowski Buy Photos

Three greek chapters at IU were suspended and four were placed on cease and desist during the 2018-2019 school year, according to the student affairs document that lists all disciplined student organizations.

Six of the seven are chapters in the Interfraternity Council and one is in the IU Panhellenic Association.

The chapters suspended this school year are Delta Sigma Phi, Kappa Sigma and Delta Chi. The chapters placed on cease and desist this school year are Chi Omega, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Sigma Kappa and Sigma Alpha Mu.

Some greek life members feel the disciplinary actions taken against their chapters have been unfair.

A seven-page anonymous letter dated March 31 was sent by someone claiming to be a member of the greek community to the IDS. It addressed certain IU administrative organizations and individuals the writer felt were trying to eliminate greek life.

Kathy Adams Riester, associate vice provost for student affairs, was specifically addressed in the letter. Riester said she nor dean of students Dave O’ Guinn received the letter from any students but got a copy from a concerned parent.

After IU’s chapter of Delta Chi was suspended March 29, several chapter members contacted the IDS and asked to voice concerns on the fairness of the suspension. A member representing the chapter then did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The IDS also reached out to several members of Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Sigma Kappa and Sigma Alpha Mu, chapters put on cease and desist in 2019, for comment. All either did not respond or declined to be interviewed.

Interfraternity Council president Daniel Stein said he read the anonymous letter but does not agree with the premise that IU's administration is trying to eliminate greek life. He said all four greek councils have been working closely with administration to improve, including discussing possible changes to the Greek Agreement.

This school year is not much different compared to recent years in terms of the number of sanctioned greek chapters, said Libby Spotts, associate dean and director of student conduct.

“Folks might think there’s more, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true,” she said.

Cease and desist is not a sanction but rather an administrative tool, Spotts said. Organizations are placed on cease and desist to prevent anything dangerous from happening while potential concerns are investigated, she said.

Spotts said the administration only uses non-anonymous reports to warrant cease and desist, and most reports come from within the greek community.

“IU has the responsibility to act and make sure people aren’t harmed,” she said. “We’re weighing the safety of many.”

Organizations typically remain on cease and desist until an investigation is completed, meaning the hearing is finished or the case is dropped, Sarah Cohen, associate director of Sorority and Fraternity Life, wrote in an email.

Once an organization is no longer on cease and desist, it is removed from the student affairs documents, Cohen said. This means documents from previous school years will not include a list of organizations that were on cease and desist at the time.

Spotts said students are encouraged to get in contact with the office if they feel they have been treated unfairly or have any other concerns.

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