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Two weeks after a student was found dead in a fraternity house bedroom, Washington State University's fraternities and sororities on Monday night voluntarily banned all Greek social events well into next year in an attempt to tackle widespread alcohol abuse and injuries.
In a four-page statement, the university's Interfraternity and Panhellenic councils, which govern its fraternities and sororities, respectively, noted "a growing problem in regards to alcohol-related incidents in the Greek Community this semester" — including rapes, assaults and hospitalizations — due to "overuse of alcohol and/or drugs by Greek members."
The ban on "all social events hosted by fraternities and sororities on campus, regardless of the presence of alcohol," went into effect immediately Monday night, the councils said. It is scheduled to remain in place until the spring semester, which begins in April.
The Interfraternity Council confirmed Monday night that the statement, which was circulated on social media, was authentic. University President Kirk Schulz stressed Monday night that the decision was made by the Greek councils themselves, not by the university administration.
The ban comes exactly two weeks after Brock Danual Scott Lindberg, a 21-year-old junior, was found dead in a bedroom at the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house on Oct. 24, according to Pullman police. No cause of death has been released. The fraternity was suspended.
An 18-year-old woman told police she was raped at the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house in an alcohol-related incident Sept. 30, the Daily Evergreen student newspaper reported, quoting Pullman police. Two more rapes were reported in the area known as Greek row over the Halloween weekend, the newspaper reported.
"It is necessary to understand that although incidents like these may hurt the image of an individual chapter, they also greatly degrade the perception and credibility of Greek Life at Washington State University," the Greek councils said Monday night. "With the current negative reputation our community possesses, it is needless to say that the future of Greek Life at this institution is in jeopardy."
Colleges and universities across the country have been struggling to get a handle on crimes, injuries and deaths — many of them related to alcohol — involving Greek organizations:
- Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Southern Mississippi was suspended Monday after campus police received multiple reports of unspecified alcohol-related violations at a fraternity event on Saturday, NBC station WDAM of Hattiesburg reported.
- Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at Texas State University in San Marcos voluntarily suspended all operations last week after a student was found dead after a fraternity party at an off-campus ranch, NBC station KXAN of Austin reported.
- The University of California-Berkeley briefly banned all Greek parties last month after police received two reports of sexual assaults at fraternity functions. Police praised the university for "recognizing the problems that alcohol often contribute," NBC Bay Area reported.
- The charter of Sigma Nu fraternity at the College of Charleston in South Carolina was revoked last month after national fraternity officials raised concerns about drugs, alcohol and hazing violations. It was the third fraternity at the college to have been disciplined this semester, the Post and Courier newspaper reported.
- The charter of Alpha Phi sorority at the University of Rhode Island — which was already on probation — was revoked for five years last month for an unspecified "violation of school policy involving alcohol," The Associated Press reported.
- Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at Georgetown College in Kentucky was placed under severe restrictions on its activities in August after a student died when he tried to jump from a third-floor stairwell at the fraternity's house, NBC station WLEX of Lexington reported. Police said alcohol appeared to have been a factor.