Inquiry into the Phi Gamma Delta suspension continues; allegations pending

Brittney Matthews | Photo Editor

By Sarah Pinkerton | Staff Writer

After the suspension of Phi Gamma Delta on Aug. 26, 20 individual interim student suspensions have followed.

Lori Fogleman, assistant vice president for media and public relations, said that due to privacy laws, the specifics of the investigation and disciplinary student outcomes are unable to be discussed.

“Since day one, we have said that it is going to take all of us working together and taking personal responsibility for the prevention of COVID-19,” Fogleman said. “Unfortunately, when students will not follow the community standards that we’ve set forth to keep COVID-19 at bay, we’ve said we would take action, and we have.”

Matt Burchett, director of Student Activities, also said that the fraternity is under a temporary suspension of activities and further inquiry into allegations of misconduct are pending.

“The temporary suspensions were enacted in coordination from the Department of Student Activities and the national leadership of Phi Gamma Delta,” Burchett said. “The suspensions will be evaluated once the inquiry is completed.”

Suspension of student organizations is defined as the “termination of the student organization’s status at the University for a specified period of time. This will allow the organization time away from campus to conduct a systematic reorganization in an effort to address its deficiencies” according to the Student Organization Policy & Procedure Guide.

Depending on the outcome of the inquiry, a reactivation request from Phi Gamma Delta may be submitted to Burchett.

“A reactivation request will only be necessary if they are suspended for a period of two or more years or if the Student Organization Judicial Board requests a reactivation process,” Burchett said.

Dr. Kevin Jackson, vice president of Student Life, spoke at the 2020 virtual Fall Staff Forum (47:39 to 50:07) regarding the topic of student behavior during COVID-19 and the guidelines that students have been following.

“The vast, vast majority of our students are committed to do what we’re asking them to do to help keep this campus safe and this community safe,” Jackson said. “So I want to celebrate that.”

Jackson said he appreciates that students are stepping up to comply with the rules.

“Now, we have an occasional student who, for whatever reason, isn’t as committed, and so we’ll move into the compliance phase when that happens, and we will do so in a way that is educational and grace-oriented,” Jackson said. “But the message there is, again, our students are really stepping up, and we appreciate that.”

Rob Caudill, executive director of Phi Gamma Delta Nationals, said they are continuing to work with the university to learn more surrounding the allegations against the chapter on campus and will follow up appropriately once an investigation is completed.

“The International Fraternity expects, and has included in its Risk Management Policy, that its chapters and members comply with all regulations and guidelines set forth by their college or university, local governmental and state or provincial authorities regarding public health,” Caudill said. “This includes, but is not limited to, COVID-19 related regulations and guidelines. Chapters or members in violation of those guidelines may be subject to disciplinary action.”