The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has suspended its chapter of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity until at least December 2018. The suspension follows an investigation that uncovered a pattern of behavior within the fraternity in repeated violation of the university’s Student Code of Conduct, and is based upon discussion and agreement with the fraternity’s national organization.
The university had placed Phi Kappa Psi on interim suspension in 2016 amid claims of member misconduct. The final decision comes after the university, working closely with the Indiana-based national Phi Kappa Psi organization, subsequently found evidence that clearly supported the initial claims.
As a result, Phi Kappa Psi will immediately suspend all activities and it is no longer recognized as a greek organization at the university.
“Promoting an environment of respect and care among our students is of utmost importance,” said Juan N. Franco, vice chancellor for student affairs. “While it is unfortunate that this action has to be taken, it is an appropriate action.”
In December, the university learned of a series of likely violations involving problematic alcohol use in the chapter house and at off-campus parties. Concerns about members’ treatment of its pledge class at the time, as well as Phi Kappa Psi members conducting property damage to other greek chapter houses at Nebraska, also were brought to the university’s attention.
The university immediately placed the chapter on interim suspension, revoking the chapter house’s university-approved housing status and removing freshmen from the house.
The university and Phi Kappa Psi’s national organization have established a path for the chapter’s eventual return. The chapter will be permitted to re-colonize in January 2018 and to request to re-charter with the university no sooner than Dec. 1, 2018. No current members of Phi Kappa Psi, if they remain enrolled at Nebraska at that point, will be allowed to participate in the process or associate with the chapter in the future.
Additionally, the chapter’s house at 1548 S St. will remain unoccupied by the fraternity until such time as the chapter is re-chartered. Re-chartering would not occur until at least August 2019, at which point only upper-class members would be allowed to live in the house.
The earliest the chapter would be permitted to apply for reinstatement as a university-approved housing facility – meaning freshmen could again live in the house – is May 2020.
In the interim, Phi Kappa Psi’s national organization and University of Nebraska-Lincoln chapter alumni will provide consistent guidance and oversight of the chapter’s re-colonization. A series of internal steps will be established to ensure a positive environment within the chapter, including a code of conduct for all new members upon re-colonization.
“Decisions to suspend a chapter are among the most difficult a fraternity’s leadership and staff must make; decisions which are not taken lightly. Nevertheless, when circumstances dictate and the best interests of the fraternity are at risk, suspension will be considered in partnership with the campus and the chapter’s alumni leadership,” said James D’Imperio, director of standards for the national Phi Kappa Psi organization. “Phi Kappa Psi’s leadership and staff are foremost committed to educating, leading and inspiring our undergraduate and alumni members to make positive and constructive decisions.”
Phi Kappa Psi’s chapter at Nebraska began in 1895. In that time, it has initiated 2,036 men, D’Imperio said.