USC announces five fraternities on interim or modified suspension

The university did not disclose the names of the fraternities and reasons for suspension.

Sigma Nu fraternity at USC

In an email to the USC community on Jan. 18, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Charles F. Zukoski announced that four additional fraternities in the Interfraternity Council (IFC) have been placed on suspension. Three were placed on interim suspension, and one was placed on modified suspension.

This brings the total number of IFC fraternities on suspension to five of the sixteen total. Sigma Nu has been on interim suspension since accusations of sexual assault in the fall semester.

According to the “Conduct & Judicial” tab on the Fraternity and Sorority Leadership development website, the four fraternities on interim suspension are Chi Phi, Delta Tau Delta, Phi Kappa Tau and Sigma Nu and the fraternity on modified suspension is Kappa Sigma.

The four fraternities on interim suspension will be unable to resume any social or recruitment activities. The one fraternity on modified suspension will be able to conduct recruitment activities, but cannot host social gatherings.

They will remain on suspension, pending the outcome of investigations by USC’s Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity and Title IX (EEO-TIX).

The university did not release the names of the fraternities in the email to the community and has not made the reasons for suspension public.

In an interview with Annenberg Media, Monique Allard, interim vice president for student affairs and co-chair of the working group on Interfraternity Council (IFC) Culture, Prevention, and Accountability, said the university would not disclose the reasons for suspension or the individuals involved.

“We don’t typically comment on issues around student conduct if there is an active student conduct case or investigation,” said Allard.

The working group that Allard co-chairs was created in response to the sexual assault allegations made against the Sigma Nu fraternity in Nov. 2021 and consists of student representatives from organizations like IFC, the Panhellenic Council, and the Undergraduate Student Government. The university came under scrutiny from the community for its lack of transparency and the “troubling delay” of communicating the sexual assault allegations to the public.

The aim of the group was to create “strategies for improving the culture, enhancing accountability, and addressing systemic challenges within IFC chapters.”

The group expected initial recommendations on Dec. 17. However, no communication was given from the group to the university community until the Jan. 17 email, which also announced the number of suspended fraternities.

Allard would not disclose why the fraternities were under investigation and did not indicate whether or not the investigations would be made public once concluded.

The university did not communicate the suspension of the fraternities to the community until the release of the working group recommendations. It is unclear when these fraternities went on suspension and what they have been suspended for.

This isn’t the first time that the university has not communicated suspension and related fraternity matters to the USC community.

Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity was quietly dismissed from IFC in April 2021 for “hazing and health and safety violations of university conduct code.” The university did not communicate the suspension and “loss of recognition” to the community.

IFC recruitment will begin on Jan. 20, where the 11 eligible fraternities will be recruiting new members through a hybrid schedule. The IFC working group requires recruitment events to be “alcohol-free,” however, many chapters have been known to host unsupervised “dirty rush” events outside of the official IFC recruitment schedule.

“We expect all individuals and organizations to follow the university policies and guidelines,” said Allard. “We are going to be vigilant and will hold folks accountable if they do not follow the policies and guidelines.”

Included in the recommendations for the group are increased security guidelines, which will require chapters to place security officers at the stairs or hallways leading to bedrooms, instead of just at entrances.

Additionally, there will be unannounced visits to social gatherings each week will to “observe, connect, and support the chapters.”

Allard said that the working group will rely on the community to help it enforce the policies and guidelines set for IFC.

“We rely on the community to keep us informed,” said Allard. “If folks see anything of concern, we encourage them to report the information.”

Allard did not specify where the community should report these violations and did not indicate that the working group had its own reporting system.

If eligible chapters meet the conditions set by the working group, they will be allowed to host social gatherings as early as Feb. 3, starting with two events a month.