Ohio State suspends sorority, fraternity activities amid probes

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 17, 2017 10:50 AM

By Gina Cherelus

(Reuters) - Ohio State University has suspended all sorority and fraternity activities citing investigations into hazing and alcohol abuse involving some chapters, joining a growing list of U.S. schools that have taken similar steps.

The public university in Columbus, which has more than 45,000 undergraduate students, said in a statement sent to campus organizations on Thursday that 11 of its 37 Interfraternity Council (IFC) chapters have been the subject of such investigations this semester alone.

The university did not give details on any specific incidents.

Hazing and alcohol-related incidents have led to deaths in recent months at other universities.

"This is an unacceptably high number, and the university will not tolerate behavior that puts the health and safety of students at risk," Ryan Lovell, the school's senior director of Greek life, said in the statement.

"This proactive step is being taken so that the IFC community takes a pause to reflect and create individual, actionable strategies for the future," Lovell said.

The school expects each IFC chapter to develop a plan to ensure their behavior aligns with the student code of conduct, his statement said.

About 10 percent of men and 17 percent of women who attend Ohio State join Greek organizations, according to collegeboard.org, a non-profit organization that seeks to expand access to higher education.

On Tuesday, Texas State University in San Marco, Texas, said it suspended all fraternity and sorority activities after a 20-year-old Phi Kappa Psi fraternity pledge, 20, died following an off-campus event that involved alcohol.

Last week, Florida State University in Tallahassee suspended all fraternity and sorority activities after a 20-year-old Pi Kappa Phi pledge died following a party and a 20-year-old Phi Delta Theta fraternity member was arrested on suspicion of selling cocaine, the school said in a statement.

On Monday, a prosecutor filed new charges against 12 members of a Pennsylvania State University fraternity in connection with the death of a 19-year-old student in February after an alcohol-fueled initiation rite.

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Jeffrey Benkoe)