University of Iowa suspends 9 fraternities, citing alcohol

October 11, 2018 GMT

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Nine University of Iowa fraternities have been suspended for violating a moratorium on alcohol at fraternity and sorority parties, university officials said.

Pi Kappa Alpha; Beta Theta Pi; Pi Kappi Phi; Acacia; Sigma Pi; Phi Delta Theta; Sigma Phi Epsilon; Sigma Alpha Epsilon; and Delta Chi were suspended Wednesday pending further investigation. The drinking moratorium was enacted in 2017 after a student died at a fraternity event in Missouri.

University vice president Melissa Shivers said “the blatant and systemic failure to curb holding dangerous open events with alcohol, including tailgates, will stop.” At a news conference Wednesday, Shivers didn’t describe any specific events or incidents that led to the suspensions.

“It’s disappointing, but I also recognize that students are students and this is a learning laboratory for them,” Shivers said. “And it’s our opportunity to be able to help educate them, but also to provide them with tools they need to help make better decisions.”

The suspensions mean the chapters cannot participate in some organization-sponsored meetings, programs, social events, intramural sports or homecoming activities.

Jason R. Pierce-Vasquez, president of the Interfraternity Council, said the abruptness of the decision isn’t constructive and undermines the chapters’ work. He said some chapters have had to cancel events regarding mental health or philanthropy fundraisers.

“There’s a lot of different aspects of the suspensions that are slightly unreasonable,” said Pierce-Vasquez, who belongs to Beta Theta Pi, which is on the suspension list. “It’s very frustrating because we are trying to do good.”

The university plans to form a “Fraternity and Sorority Life Strategic Plan 2020.” A committee behind the plan will make recommendations by December on how to ensure the “continued cultivation of excellence within the University of Iowa Fraternity and Sorority Life community.”