COLUMBUS, Ohio – Nearly all the Ohio State University fraternities whose activities were suspended in November, most for hazing and alcohol, have been cleared to resume recruitment events and, in many cases, social events.
The university suspended activities for the Interfraternity Council's 37 members after 11 chapters came under investigation early in the school year. One fraternity has been suspended for three years for hazing and other violations, and three chapters were put under disciplinary probation.
The university said it is working with fraternities to address high-risk behaviors by changing the culture within those groups. Chapters have regained clearance to resume activities by submitting school-approved plans for conducting activities safely, including committing to hazing prevention efforts and alcohol-free recruitment.
School officials are pleased with the response from fraternity chapters and the plans they submitted, said Dave Isaacs, spokesman for Ohio State's Office of Student Life.
"I think the vast majority of our fraternities recognize the need to change that culture and are eager to move forward," Isaacs said.
The outgoing president of the Interfraternity Council, Drew Cooper, has said student safety takes top priority.
"While culture change doesn't occur overnight, I am hopeful that the trajectory our community is on will result in improved student safety this semester and beyond," Cooper said in an email this week.
The suspension of fraternity activities at Ohio State occurred as a number of U.S. colleges re-examined Greek life after the deaths of several fraternity pledges last year.
Fraternity and sorority chapter activities at Texas State University remain suspended after a fraternity pledge died following an initiation ritual, and a committee including staff, students and alumni is reviewing the governance of Greek life on campus and considering whether to recommend changes.
Florida State University partially lifted its suspension of fraternities and sororities in January after changing policies to increase oversight and minimize risky behavior, though its ban on alcohol and social functions continues.
The Interfraternity Council at the University of Michigan allowed social events to resume in January after a suspension that followed allegations of sexual misconduct and hazing involving fraternity members. The council said it reviewed policies and practices in need of change and that "reforms" would occur on a chapter-by-chapter basis.
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