Ohio University suspends 15 fraternities over elevated hazing allegations

File of Ohio University campus (Photo courtesy of FOX 8 affiliate)

ATHENS, Ohio — Ohio University has suspended all Interfraternity Council (IFC) fraternities on campus in response to elevated hazing allegations.

Vice President for Student Affairs Jason Pina and Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones have immediately suspended all 15 IFC organizations from engaging in all chapter events, meetings, and activities until further notice, the university said in a press release Thursday.

The suspension is effective immediately.

OU says the decision comes from a place of “growing concern” over elevated hazing allegations.

Last spring, Sigma Pi was expelled from the university as a result of hazing. Then, earlier this week university officials placed two IFC chapters on a cease and desist from Community Standards and Student Responsibility (CSSR) after receiving allegations that they were hazing new members.

Wednesday officials were notified of hazing allegations that encompassed five more chapters.  The school says they will be receiving cease and desist orders from CSSR within the next few days.

“These troubling allegations, which will be thoroughly investigated, indicate a potentially escalating systemic culture within our IFC organizations, and Ohio University will not put at risk the health and safety of our students,” Hall-Jones wrote in a letter addressed to fraternity presidents.

She says this “proactive step” to suspend all chapters is being taken so the IFC community can “pause to reflect and create actionable strategies  for the future.”

The letter states that each chapter is expected to develop a plan and implementation timeline to ensure their organization’s culture aligns with the expectations of their national organization, OU’s Sorority and Fraternity community values and the University’s Student Code of Conduct.

OU says failure to comply with the terms of this suspension could result in disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct, including individual charges, if applicable.

Meanwhile, the North American Interfraternity Conference says they do not agree with the university’s choice to suspend all chapters.

Judson Horras, President and CEO of the North American Interfraternity Conference provided FOX 8 with the following statement:

“Hazing is a serious societal issue, and we strongly believe in holding individuals accountable. However, Ohio University’s suspension that impacts students not accused of misconduct is not the right approach to address this critical issue. It disincentivizes students who are following the rules.

We implore the university to bring all parties to the table to seek a path forward that places the highest priority on the health and safety of students, while respecting the rights of those that live up to the standards of fraternal excellence.”

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