University of Maryland Suspends Greek Life Activities on Campus

istock image: David Tran
istock image: David Tran

On March 1, 2024, The University of Maryland ordered all fraternities and sororities to immediately suspend all activities indefinitely amid misconduct allegations. The ban was subsequently lifted on March 15, with five unnamed chapters remaining suspended. The five chapters are reportedly under investigation. 

A formal letter was sent to students and families by the Division of Student Affairs alleging that multiple chapters on campus had violated and threatened “the safety and well-being of members in the University community.” The letter also stated that a meeting had been held with chapters informing them of multiple allegations of misconduct received by the committee – chapters were warned that further violations would result in a cease of activities.

Further allegations were made after the meeting with the chapters, resulting in the formal notification to chapter presidents. Presidents were instructed to inform their members that absolutely no communication with new and prospective members would be permitted during the suspension period. 

The letter from March 1 also stated that a formal investigation had been launched, keeping cooperation with chapter leadership at a minimum. The university did not publicly state any specific allegations or instances of misconduct that prompted the decision.

Lucy Taylor, a former UMD sorority member and host of the Snapped podcast – a podcast recounting and detailing the dangers of some Greek life associations – believes that the suspension is not effective. 

“The more the university tries to regulate these organizations, the more secret they become and the less students will report- no one wants to be the reason their frat gets kicked off campus,” said Taylor. “So, when something inevitably goes wrong (someone slips and falls, or drinks too much) students hesitate to call an ambulance out of fear that this will be the action that gets their frat kicked off campus.”

The decision came a week after a similar ban took place at the University of Virginia after an alleged hazing incident on Feb. 21 in which a student was injured and subsequently hospitalized. 

Senior Jeeva Padmanabhan shared his thoughts on the UMD order. 

“I would say I’m very much deterred from engaging in any of the fraternities at UMD,” said Padmanabhan. “Some of the rumors I’ve heard about hazing that’s occurred are concerning, to say the least… For them to cut all of the activities at once must mean that it’s getting to be a really widespread issue.”

Following the end of the suspension being lifted, the Vice President of Student Affairs, Patty Perillo, sent an email to provide reasoning as to why the ban was placed in the first place. The email stated that “concerning hazing behaviors” and “harmful alcohol-related activities” threatened the overall safety of the community. 

The lift comes after an advocacy organization called the Fraternity Forward Coalition accused investigators of violating due process through the use of illegal methods, including unlawful searches of student phones.

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