March 21, 2017

University suspends Phi Gamma Delta fraternity until 2020

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has suspended its chapter of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity until May 2020, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Juan N. Franco said today.

The suspension follows a university investigation that uncovered a pattern of behavior and a series of instances within the fraternity in violation of the Student Code of Conduct, Franco said. The behavior included reckless alcohol use, hazing and inappropriate sexually based behavior, including a pattern of sexually harassing conduct. 

The conduct occurred in multiple incidents at various points in time over the course of recent academic terms. While not the focal point of the suspension, comments made by Fiji members Jan. 21 outside the fraternity house during a women’s march were consistent with the pattern of sexually harassing conduct evident in multiple other incidents.

“We have completed a thorough investigation and review, and we have found a clear pattern of conduct that is inconsistent with expectations for a student organization at our university,” Franco said. “We have taken appropriate action to address the chapter’s culture and ensure the safety of our students.”

The suspension means the university no longer recognizes Phi Gamma Delta, also known as Fiji, as a greek organization at Nebraska. It has revoked the chapter’s affiliation with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Beginning May 10, freshmen pledges will not be permitted to live in its chapter house at 1425 R St.

According to the agreement between the university and the fraternity, Fiji can petition for reinstatement in 2019. This is contingent upon the fraternity taking steps toward lasting reform, including a review of membership, increased oversight, education and other requirements, Franco said. 

If the chapter does return to active status in 2019, it would be on a probationary period for an additional two years. The chapter house would not be allowed to be university-approved housing until 2020. The fraternity also will be required to undergo education on alcohol and drugs, sexual misconduct and prevention, hazing prevention and women’s issues.

“The members of the chapter have expressed their commitment to the changes and progress necessary to regain recognition from the university,” said Bill Martin, executive director of Phi Gamma Delta International Fraternity, speaking on behalf of the chapter and the fraternity. “We all appreciate the opportunity to cooperate with the university to fashion a meaningful rehabilitation plan to accomplish this.”

The university had previously placed Phi Gamma Delta on interim suspension Feb. 7 amid a preliminary investigation.

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