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UNM suspends social activities for Greeks

Copyright © 2017 Albuquerque Journal

Greek life – at least most of the affiliated social activity – is temporarily on hold at the University of New Mexico.

With three UNM fraternities already in “emergency suspension” following allegations of hazing or alcohol policy violations, administrators have ordered a two-month halt to most social events within the university’s larger Greek system.

The “social restriction” continues through Feb. 19, according to a Dec. 8 memo to the fraternity and sorority chapters from Vice President of Student Affairs Eliseo “Cheo” Torres.

It’s an “unusual” situation, according to Ryan Lindquist, interim director of student activities, who estimated that UNM had not enacted such an activity “pause” in about a decade.

“We don’t like to see this, but we want to make sure our organizations are ensuring they are living up to their values established by their national headquarters and expectations that the University of New Mexico has for them,” he said.

The Dean of Students Office is investigating allegations against three separate fraternities for incidents this fall.

Lindquist said allegations against Pi Kappa Alpha involve alcohol violations, Phi Delta Theta faces a hazing allegation, and Phi Gamma Delta faces allegations of both.

He deferred to the Dean of Students Office for more details, and a university spokeswoman said Tuesday that the associated records would not be released except through a formal Inspection of Public Records Act request.

Journal emails sent to the Phi Delta Theta and Pi Kappa Alpha chapters were not immediately returned. A Phi Gamma Delta representative reached by phone Tuesday declined comment.

UNM has 22 chartered sororities and fraternities with about 900 total members. Only six have houses on campus; most are what Lindquist called “unhoused.”

The newly imposed restrictions prevent any of UNM’s Greek organizations from holding events – even off campus – that are open to anyone besides the individual chapter’s own members. They can still do community service projects, conduct operational business, recruit and participate in Greek Week – scheduled for mid-February. None of the approved activities can involve alcohol, Torres’ letter states.

UNM will work with the chapters and their advisers during the next two months to evaluate policies and procedures. The parties will likely review event forms and create a new initiation notification form for chapters to complete and submit to UNM, Lindquist said.

“We really want them to be introspective during this period to focus on self-governance and accountability, which should be at the heart of all of these organizations,” he said.

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