IOWA CITY, Iowa — Oct 11, 2018, 10:46 AM ET

University of Iowa suspends 9 fraternities, citing alcohol

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Nine University of Iowa fraternities have been suspended for violating a moratorium on alcohol at fraternity and sorority parties, university officials said.

Pi Kappa Alpha; Beta Theta Pi; Pi Kappi Phi; Acacia; Sigma Pi; Phi Delta Theta; Sigma Phi Epsilon; Sigma Alpha Epsilon; and Delta Chi were suspended Wednesday pending further investigation. The drinking moratorium was enacted in 2017 after a student died at a fraternity event in Missouri.

University vice president Melissa Shivers said "the blatant and systemic failure to curb holding dangerous open events with alcohol, including tailgates, will stop." At a news conference Wednesday, Shivers didn't describe any specific events or incidents that led to the suspensions.

"It's disappointing, but I also recognize that students are students and this is a learning laboratory for them," Shivers said. "And it's our opportunity to be able to help educate them, but also to provide them with tools they need to help make better decisions."

The suspensions mean the chapters cannot participate in some organization-sponsored meetings, programs, social events, intramural sports or homecoming activities.

Jason R. Pierce-Vasquez, president of the Interfraternity Council, said the abruptness of the decision isn't constructive and undermines the chapters' work. He said some chapters have had to cancel events regarding mental health or philanthropy fundraisers.

"There's a lot of different aspects of the suspensions that are slightly unreasonable," said Pierce-Vasquez, who belongs to Beta Theta Pi, which is on the suspension list. "It's very frustrating because we are trying to do good."

The university plans to form a "Fraternity and Sorority Life Strategic Plan 2020." A committee behind the plan will make recommendations by December on how to ensure the "continued cultivation of excellence within the University of Iowa Fraternity and Sorority Life community."

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  • Thomas Jackson

    A firm response -- until you realize that shutting down nine entire fraternity chapters for alcohol usage, when you wouldn't shut down a dorm (with hundreds of times more police calls and alcohol complaints per capita) nor shut down the entire pep band or an entire team for alcohol use, well, it's just selective enforcement against an easy target. Fraternities aren't the problem.

  • bjh

    Nice job Associated Press. Article about Iowa with a picture of the Iowa State campus. Iowa City, Ames, whatever. They're both in some place called Iowa wherever that is

  • Kat Eckhart

    First of all, college drinking in excess is not new and has been going on for decades. The reality is that social media and instant internet news has brought the problem to everyone's door step. This is not limited to Fraternities, for example there is mention of the young man who died at an out of state fraternity formal but there is and was no mention in the media about the young student who died at UI just weeks before until the tragic death at the fraternity event hit the media, only then was the other students alcohol related death mentioned in the media. UI is also one of the only a few colleges set in a city that allows 18-20 year old's into the bars, until 10 pm..... then police start sweeping the bars and ticketing the underage students for underage drinking and being in the bars after 10..... apparently their money making scheme is more important to the city (made up of a large percentage of UI students) than to curb underage drinking. As far as the suspended Fraternities go.... let's face it they are organizations run by young 18-21 year old's with absolutely no responsible adult individual monitoring their activity. I find it typical that the Fraternity president is quoted as saying this should have been handled internally....What just because they are in a Frat? Non-fraternity UI students don't get that consideration..... fraternity members are still students and student issues are handled by the university. Bottom line is dangerous alcohol consumption is a problem.... fraternity member or not....

  • Amber

    This story contains multiple errors. The picture included is not even of The University of Iowa, which is incredibly misleading. Dr. Shivers' title is Vice President of Student Life. The fraternities are temporarily suspended, and three other fraternities were suspended a week or two ago. Suspended implies finality, but they are still being investigated and the status is temporary as of now. Currently, 12 fraternities at The University of Iowa stand temporarily suspended. The 2020 Fraternity and Sorority Life Strategic Plan Committee has already been formed and meeting for a while now. This is poor journalism and these errors need to be corrected immediately.

  • scott graham

    Good idea. For everyone. Why fraternities need to be formally associated with universities escapes me. They're exclusive social clubs not student organizations.

    Their houses are for the most part off campus and they get no funds from universities so they have no need to obey university rules. And universities should stop having to take responsibility for the actions if these groups as if the administrations are some kind of nannies for young adults.

    And their illegal activities should be handled by the police like everyone else.

  • AG99

    "It's very frustrating because we are trying to do good."

    There is no try, only do.

  • PetuniaL

    I guess there were no good pictures of the University of Iowa campus so an Iowa State one was used. Or it could be that whoever selected the picture doesn't have a clue that these are actually two separate institutions. All it required was a little effort.

  • MidwestKris

    Interestingly, the article is about the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA. The picture, however, is of the Memorial Union at Iowa State University, in Ames, IA....

  • GoBucksMan

    So,...let's take a look at this article:
    University vice president Melissa Shivers said, "The blatant and systemic failure to curb holding dangerous open events with alcohol, including tailgates, will stop." (Apparently not, even after the moratorium was enacted.)

    "It's disappointing, but I also recognize that students are students and this is a learning laboratory for them," Shivers said. "And it's our opportunity to be able to help educate them, but also to provide them with tools they need to help make better decisions." (Good. Then, since (I presume) they must be of a legal age to drink (21?), they are ADULT students, and as such, must realize that "mommy and daddy" aren't there any more to help hold their hand through when they get in trouble, and that they should be grateful it wasn't worse. SUCK IT UP.)

    “…said [Jason] Pierce-Vasquez, [president of the Interfraternity Council] who belongs to Beta Theta Pi, which is on the suspension list.” It's very frustrating because we are trying to do good." (Keep trying.)

  • CaptnBlynd

    Smart enough to go to university, too stupid to obey clear rules.

  • Bongs&Thongs

    I will give Iowa a bit of props for not being complete hypocrites since they seem to be a dying breed amongst University's who still refuse to serve booze at their stadium

  • McDuff

    Lame. At least the brothers from Tappa Kegga Beer weren't busted.

  • Nick

    Dismantle all fraternities. They cause far more harm than good to society.

  • F D

    Punish everyone for the actions of a few.

  • FasterBadger

    Banning alcohol from fraternity events sounds like a futile effort.