CORONAVIRUS

Six University of Iowa Greek chapters on interim suspension following COVID complaints

Fraternity accused of inviting sororities to party

The Pentacrest on the campus of the University of Iowa including the Old Capitol Building (center), Macbride Hall (top l
The Pentacrest on the campus of the University of Iowa including the Old Capitol Building (center), Macbride Hall (top left), Jessup Hall (bottom left), Schaeffer Hall (top right), and MacLean Hall (bottom right) in an aerial photograph. (The Gazette/file photo)

IOWA CITY — Five sororities and one fraternity at the University of Iowa are on suspension for now while administrators investigate allegations they violated, in some cases, prohibitions against parties and alcohol or requirements of the campus’ COVID-19 student agreement.

A seventh Greek chapter was released a week ago from an interim suspension imposed after UI administrators received reports that 20 to 30 people had gathered at the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity late Sept. 24 and early Sept. 25 without masks or social distancing.

That fraternity, though no longer suspended, was instructed to conduct an educational program for members, run a drive for personal protective equipment and post on social media a message advocating masks and distancing.

“Although the house manager and house director are responsible for chapter house policy management, it would be beneficial for an executive officer to reside in the chapter house in the future,” according to Assistant Dean and Director of UI Student Accountability Angela Ibrahim-Olin’s letter to Pi Kappa Phi.

Reports of the suspensions comes as the campus Friday added another 18 cases of COVID-19 to its tally since Aug. 18 — bringing the semester total to 2,100 so far.

The UI, which has created a way the campus community to report violations of the COVID-19 student agreement, also on Friday reported 664 complaints of failure to socially distance, wear face coverings, follow guest policies or stay in quarantine or isolation.

Including the 256 complaints the UI reported Sept. 11 and the 452 complaints it reported Sept. 25, the campus has received a total of 1,372 this fall. Although it has cleared hundreds of students of any violation, the UI continues to investigate many of the accusations and has disciplined or warned in some way nearly 400.

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The alleged violations in the UI Greek system came after Gov. Kim Reynolds on Aug. 27 ordered bars near campus to close, allowing them to reopen Monday. Records released in response to a request from The Gazette show these allegations against the six chapters:

• The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity was accused of hosting parties Sept. 15 and 17 involving members and guests, “sorority women primarily.” Partygoers allegedly drank alcohol and didn’t “uphold aspects of the COVID-19 student agreement, including failing to wear face-coverings, and failing to appropriately socially distance during gatherings.”

• The Delta Delta Delta sorority reportedly invited sophomores and new members to attend a “chapter-to-chapter” social event Sept. 15 “with alcohol at a fraternity chapter house.”

• The Pi Beta Phi sorority reportedly invited sophomores and new members to attend a chapter-to-chapter social event Sept. 17 “with alcohol at a fraternity house.”

• Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority members on Sept. 25 reportedly “played a drinking game in the chapter house and later were part of a themed social event, with alcohol, at a fraternity house.”

• Alpha Kappa Delta Phi sorority members on Sept. 18 reportedly gathered with members of another sorority and didn’t wear face coverings or socially distance.

• Delta Phi Lambda Sorority members on Sept. 18 are accused of gathering with members of another sorority without face coverings or social distancing.

Findings from the Pi Kappa Phi investigation, recently closed, indicate 17 members live in the house and leaders sad they are proud of their response to protocols.

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“You believe they are, for the most part, following several internally defined safety measures that are working well, including the move-in process, each of the members having a single room, being allowed only one guest to visit (in their room — not common areas), and members respecting the need to quarantine when symptomatic or positive for COVID,” according to Ibrahim-Olin’s letter releasing the chapter from suspension.

In that letter, she reports fraternity members on the night in question had a “grill out.”

“At some point, about 15 women came over to the fraternity,” according to the letter. “This number surprised the chapter house residents, as the guest policy limits this many women coming over to the house and certainly not in the common areas of the house.

“This was a case of too many invitations to ‘come over’ being extended or friends bringing friends.”

No one reported seeing alcohol at the event, and Ibrahim-Olin ended the suspension so long as the fraternity meets deadlines for the assigned tasks.

It must completes the educational program by Nov. 11; completes a PPE drive by Nov. 20; and post the distancing and masking message online by Oct. 12.

Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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