Why Did Rutgers Ban Fraternity & Sorority Parties Until The End Of The Semester?

Given the fact that six fraternities and one sorority are currently facing disciplinary action, activities at all 86 fraternities and sororities at Rutgers University have been banned for the rest of the semester. The school said in a statement that the temporary ban is due to alcohol-related incidents, such as the alcohol poisoning-related death of 19-year-old Caitlyn Kovacs, who was taken to the hospital following a Delta Kappa Epsilon party. Just one month later, a similar incident followed at Sigma Phi Epsilon, when a member was taken to the hospital following a fraternity party in which he was dangerously intoxicated.

Both incidents occurred last semester in the fall and has already resulted in the suspension of Delta Kappa Epsilon and the indefinite suspension of the Rutgers chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon. Additionally, the Omega Phi Beta sorority has also been suspended recently due to potential alcohol-related issues. Rutgers spokesperson E.J. Miranda says that this pause in Greek activities is an important time for the university to reassess the many fraternities and sororities at its campus as well as campus life in general. Miranda told NJ.com:

[The university] is taking this step out of caution and concern and will use this time to continue and reinforce its dialogue with the leadership of the university’s 86 recognized fraternities and sororities about Greek life at Rutgers and their responsibilities to the campus community at large
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Fraternities and sororities are allowed to host end-of-the-year events typically known as formals, though the formals must be held off campus, and alcohol must be served by third-party sources. Additional off-campus events will also be allowed, though Rutgers hasn't specified which ones or how many. According to Erin Kearns, president of the college's Panhellenic Association, which oversees the school's sororities, so far there has been no opposition voiced against the ban. Kearns told NJ.com that fighting a temporary ban like this simply isn't worth it. She says, "It kind of became the idea of what are we willing to risk our community for? Is it really worth it for the last three weeks of our semester?"

Despite the many high-profile incidents plaguing sororities and fraternities around the country, Greek enrollment remains high, according to NJ.com. According to the National Panhellenic Conference, which represents 26 sororities around the world, there is approximately 353,345 members in their sororities as of 2014. The North-American Interfraternity Conference, which represents 74 fraternities around the country, boasts 273,529 members. Fraternity and sorority membership makes up just 10 percent of Rutgers students, or around 4,500 undergrads.

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