Five fraternities and one sorority have been placed on interim suspension and will be investigated by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville for breaking COVID-19 guidelines.
The following organizations have been placed on interim suspension:
- Alpha Tau Omega
- Sigma Alpha Epsilon
- Delta Tau Delta
- Pi Kappa Alpha
- Kappa Alpha
- Chi Omega
On Wednesday, Chancellor Donde Plowman and Vice Chancellor for Student Life Frank Cuevas said the university had received “reports that they held or organized gatherings in a manner that endangered the health, safety or welfare of others.”
“These organizations did not comply with the Student Code of Conduct and the university’s COVID-19 health and safety directives for events on and off campus,” the message said. “These organizations are not permitted to host social events, either virtually or in person, while under investigation. They are not permitted to host any group meetings in person, even if those events are not social in nature.”
Student conduct process
As vice chancellor, Cuevas can impose interim actions before the student conduct process is complete, UT spokesperson Tyra Haag said. Those actions, in this case an interim suspension with gathering restrictions, will remain in place until the conduct process is complete and sanctions are in place, Haag said.
The announcement comes days after the university announced it had taken disciplinary action against four students — three for throwing a party that did not comply with COVID-19 guidelines and one for leaving isolation when they had tested positive for COVID-19.
“The majority of our students are taking precautions to protect other people and preserve the on-campus experience,” Plowman and Cuevas wrote. “We will continue to work together as Volunteers to protect our community.”
Plowman has repeatedly said she will not tolerate students breaking COVID-19 guidelines, including hosting parties off campus that do not follow social distancing or mask guidelines. People who host parties could face suspension from the university, which means “delaying your graduation by up to a year, at minimum,” Plowman said on Tuesday.
Last week, the university traced a cluster of COVID-19 cases to an off-campus party thrown on Laurel Avenue. A cluster is defined as five or more positive COVID-19 cases or 20 people in self-isolation stemming from one event.
As of Wednesday, there are 131 active COVID-19 cases at UT Knoxville. Of those, 124 are students and seven are employees. There are also 543 people in self-isolation.