UI rejects the appeals of 6 fraternities on alcohol-related violations

Six out of 10 fraternities placed on suspension or probation were rejected in their appeals of these decisions.


Wyatt Dlouhy

The Old Capitol building is seen in 2018.

Kayli Reese, News Editor

Around two months after the University of Iowa sanctioned several fraternities following allegations of alcohol-policy violations, the university rejected six fraternities’ appeals of the imposed sanctions.

The fraternities who appealed these decisions were Beta Theta Pi, Delta Chi, Pi Kappa Alpha, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Sigma Nu.

Hayley Bruce, UI media-relations manager, said in an email to The Daily Iowan that Angie Reams, interim associate vice president and dean of students, made this decision on Jan. 25. Based on the appeals letters, Bruce said, the decisions were all upheld.

In December, the UI revoked the registered student-organization statuses of fraternities Delta Chi, Sigma Nu, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Kappa Sigma. This decision was made after a two-month investigation on violations of the UI’s alcohol moratorium on the greek community.

Six other fraternities, including Beta Theta Pi, Pi Kappa Alpha, and Pi Kappa Phi, were placed on probation during the same time. Probations are in place until this fall 2019.

“The University of Iowa is very proud of the fraternity and sorority system, but we have high expectations,” said Melissa Shivers, UI vice president for Student Life and interim chief diversity officer, told reporters in December 2018 following that decision. “We’re responsible for students’ health, safety, and well-being, and that’s something we will not compromise.”

RELATED: 4 UI fraternities lose registered student org status, 6 on probation 

In Delta Chi’s appeals letter, the fraternity said there is no proof the fraternity purchased alcohol and provided a location for tailgates, noting no arrests were made during events in question. The letter also said the ban on student organizations hosting event with alcohol is “broad and vague.”

The appeals letter ending by saying that “The December 13, 2018 decision relies upon facts not taken under oath, hearsay, statements from unidentified persons, and statements from individuals who may have been intoxicated.”

Beta Theta Pi said in its appeals letter that this offense would be the chapter’s first since the moratorium took effect and felt the sanction was “unreasonable,” as the reason for the sanction was neither explained or supported.

The Pi Kappa Alpha appeals letter said the fraternity shouldn’t be held accountable to allegations of tailgating and beverage drugging allegations. The tailgate allegations were based upon two interviews, the letter said: one from a Sigma Chi member, and one from an unidentified source. It also denied a reported drugging to the Iowa City police that occurred at a party that the chapter said did not happen.

In that letter, the fraternity called into question the probation severity, listing off why the conditions of the probation were unreasonable and “actually have very little to do with changing the behavior that led to the incident.”

Some conditions mentioned included making an Alumni Advisory Board, having the chapter house be alcohol-free, and monthly meetings on creating a positive culture change.

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon appeals letter cited factual issues, including dates on which tailgates were held and a lack of fairness as reasons for the appeal. According to the letter, there was no mention of the chapter’s 2012 suspension in the investigation or decision.

Sigma Nu was denied an appeal-deadline extension after filing a Freedom of Information Act request on details of the investigation, the appeals letter said. While certain individuals may have violated UI policies, the letter said, Sigma Nu does not support those actions and should not be held accountable for the decisions of individuals.

The letter also stated the decision was made with a lack of evidence, including information on tailgates and social events, and it claimed the decision was based on unreliable witnesses and opinions.

Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified the fraternity Pi Kappa Phi as “Phi Kappa Phi,” which is an honor society, not a fraternity. The DI regrets this error.