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Lehigh University imposes new restrictions on Greek life

January 28, 2020 GMT

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — Lehigh University is imposing new restrictions on fraternities and sororities — amounting to a “pause” on their activities — following reports that earlier warnings about excessive alcohol use and other misconduct had gone unheeded by the groups at the eastern Pennsylvania university.

President John Simon said in an email sent Tuesday afternoon to “current and aspiring” fraternity and sorority members that new members cannot be recruited and social activities are being suspended. In addition, wine and beer won’t be allowed in the Greek houses or individual rooms, a ban that doesn’t apply to other campus residences.

Last year, the university announced a ban on hard liquor from on-campus housing as part of a crackdown on the organizations. Other measures included requiring live-in graduate assistants at all fraternity and sorority houses, and a student-run summit on Greek life to “demonstrate excellence and innovation.”

The action came after several of the 25 Greek organizations were placed on probation or otherwise sanctioned for hazing violations.

Simon said Tuesday that not only had the earlier warnings failed to result in addressing behavior that violated standards of conduct or even endangered students, such behavior “seems to have intensified over the past few weeks with recruitment and new member education.”

“We have received reports from parents, new members and anonymous sources centered around excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, and hazing,” he said. For those reasons, he said, the university was instituting a “pause” for Greek organization chapters.

Simon said the new rules will last until the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council and Cultural Greek Council “create a detailed and realistic plan for making significant changes” regarding alcohol use, hazing and recruitment that will “decrease risks to the health and safety of students.”