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University of Maryland bans fraternity and sorority events with alcohol

The University of Maryland sent a letter to 37 groups, informing them of the suspension following ‘activities that have threatened the safety and well-being of members of the University community’ (iStock/Getty Images)
The University of Maryland sent a letter to 37 groups, informing them of the suspension following ‘activities that have threatened the safety and well-being of members of the University community’ (iStock/Getty Images)

The University of Maryland has ordered sororities and fraternities on its campus to stop holding social events that involve alcohol, following reports of hazing, but the move has sparked outrage amongst the groups.

The college sent a letter to 37 groups on Friday, informing them of the suspension following “activities that have threatened the safety and well-being of members of the University community”.

The letter also took direct aim at any “new member” activities, where so-called hazing can take place. This involves new members taking part in strenuous or humiliating activities on behalf of existing members.

In a statement on Monday, the North American Interfraternity Conference said it did not support the move.

“NIC members stand ready to hold the few involved in misconduct accountable while advocating for students who uphold fraternal expectations and provide thousands of young men a positive fraternity experience,” the statement said.

“Since our members’ top priority is health and safety, we oppose system-wide actions which research shows disincentivizes future reporting and fosters a culture of mistrust among students and administrators.”

The university, however, argues that the suspension was ordered after “careful consideration of reports, observations and data-driven analysis of behaviours”, which they said posed a threat to some members of the college community.

“No single or specific incident led to this decision. Our decision was made to prevent such a significant incident,” a spokesperson told The Independent.

The spokesperson added that UMD is planning to bring in an external resource to help with its investigation, while also figuring out the best ways to communicate with fraternity and sorority alumni.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 students are members of the affected groups, however, not all of the university’s fraternities and sororities are impacted.

The move by UMD comes after multiple fraternities at the University of Virginia voluntarily suspended recruitment activities, following allegations that one student had been injured because of hazing.

The student fell backwards down a flight of stairs in the house where he was pledging and was knocked unconscious.

No such incident has been officially reported at UMD.