Fraternities Suspended for Reported Large Off-Campus Parties Thrown in Pandemic

Two fraternities at a
Southwest Florida university were suspended after school officials say they
threw “off-campus large parties” in violation of the school’s policies during
the coronavirus pandemic.

NBC affiliate WBBH-TV reports that Florida Gulf Coast University made the decision to suspend both Sigma Chi and Phi Delta Theta, confirming the news in an email to the station late Monday night.

“At this stage we cannot determine whether
closure will be necessary for safety reasons.  Be assured, however, that
there will be serious consequences for those who choose to exercise very poor,
dangerous judgment,” school president Mike Martin wrote in the email.

In an email to
university faculty, officials say the fraternities threw the parties in “violation
of the University’s COVID-19 guidelines for crowd size, social distancing, and
face coverings.”

Both fraternities are prohibited from conducting operations and activities that include meetings and new member recruitment until the case moves through the Student Code of Conduct process.

Officials say the school could decide to return to online-only classes and close campus if the fraternities are found responsible.