University of Iowa sanctions four Greek chapters for violating COVID-19 guidelines

The University of Iowa to date has received 256 reports campus-wide of violations of its COVID-19 guidelines. Thirty-six students were found to be in violation, and 114 are pending review.

Pictured+on+Aug.+27%2C+2020%2C+is+a+student+walking+through+campus+to+their+classes+during+the+first+week+of+school+at+the+University+of+Iowa.+Although+school+looks+different+this+year%2C+students+are+still+on+campus+attending+some+in-person+classes.+%28Grace+Smith%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29

Grace Smith

Pictured on Aug. 27, 2020, is a student walking through campus to their classes during the first week of school at the University of Iowa. Although school looks different this year, students are still on campus attending some in-person classes. (Grace Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Sarah Watson, Executive Editor


Four University of Iowa Greek chapters were placed on interim suspension since the beginning of the semester following allegations that chapters violated the student agreement related to COVID-19.

“The instances being investigated included allegations that the chapters violated the Student Agreement related to COVID-19. Specifically, members of chapters were seen in pictures without face coverings and without social distancing,” Assistant Dean and Director in the Office of Student Accountability Angela Ibrahim Olin wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan.

Pi Beta Phi, Gamma Phi Beta, Delta Gamma, and Alpha Phi were found responsible for violating the COVID-19 student agreement. Alpha Xi Delta was reported, but was found not responsible for violations. Sanctions from the Pan Hellenic Council required the chapters to post an apology on social media platforms directed to the Fraternity Student Life community and potential new members, co-sponsor a multi-chapter campaign surrounding COVID-19 awareness, and create and implement a PPE drive for a local organization.

The chapters are no longer under interim suspension, Ibrahim Olin wrote in the email, but came during Greek Life’s two-week long virtual recruitment at the UI. According to sections of letters sent from the Office of Student Accountability to the greek chapters, during the interim suspension, the chapter was suspended from Fraternity and Sorority Life programming, homecoming, and couldn’t reserve space in academic buildings unless authorized by the FSL staff or Office of Student Accountability.

“As a result of the interim suspension, at this time the chapter may not participate in any FSL-related or PHC-sponsored meetings and programs, social events of any nature, Recreational Services intramurals, Homecoming activities, or other related events. In addition, the chapter may not reserve space in the IMU or academic buildings, or reserve outdoor space on campus unless authorized by a member of the Fraternity & Sorority Life staff or Office of Student Accountability staff,” according to language on interim suspensions.

In total, the UI has received 256 reports campus-wide of COVID-19 violations since the beginning of the semester as a part of the UI’s efforts to curb off-campus behavior risking the spread of the coronavirus. Of those, 36 students were found to be in violation, and 114 cases are pending review.

At the beginning of the semester, students were required to sign a COVID-19 student agreement, which stipulated that students must keep six feet of distance, wear face coverings, and should not attend large gatherings without masks. Students failing to socially distance was the most common complaint cited by the UI — 109 students were reported, the UI found 15 students in violation, and 12 received a reprimand from the UI. The university also kept track of complaints of failure to wear a face covering, failure to follow guest policy, and failure to follow quarantine/isolation expectations. Students are required to self-isolate until 10 days after the positive test or start of COVID-19 symptoms, their symptoms have improved, and they are fever-free for 72 hours, according to the UI student agreement.

Consequences of violating the UI’s COVID-19 guidelines could result in suspension or cancellation of housing contracts after repeated offenses, though the UI has not done either, Ibrahim Olin wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan. The UI is asking students to report complaints via an online form.

Other universities have removed students from campus. Drake University in Des Moines, kicked at least 14 students off campus for allegedly violating the school’s COVID-19 guidelines.

Seven students received written warnings, which is kept as a record of the student’s violation in the Office of Student Accountability and 29 students received a “disciplinary reprimand” from the UI. A policy violation following a disciplinary reprimand “could result in the imposition of more serious sanctions,” a campus-wide email Friday stated.

“This virus will be impactful on our community, both on and off-campus. While there have been specific expectations in place about student behavior on campus, I wanted to remind you that the Code of Student Life, and the policies therein, extends to areas off-campus where the university has a clear and distinct interest,” Ibrahim Olin wrote in an Aug. 15 letter.

The Division of Student Life updated student group guidelines Aug.27,  which sent all student engagement and student organization events virtual, and would suspend activities if found to be in violation. Those regulations also applied to Fraternity and Sorority Life on campus.

Here is a breakdown of the UI’s complaint reports:

Failure to social distance: 109 reports

  • 15 students were found in violation of university policy
  • 12 received a disciplinary reprimand*
  • Three received a written warning
  • 29 students were cleared of having violated policy
  • 65 complaints are pending review

Failure to wear a face covering: 106 reports

  • 14 students were found in violation of university policy
  • 12 received a disciplinary reprimand
  • Two received a written warning
  • 64 students were cleared of having violated policy
  • 28 complaints are pending review

Failure to follow guest policy expectations: 35 reports

  • Four students were found in violation of university policy
  • Three received disciplinary reprimands
  • One received a written warning
  • 12 students were cleared of having violated policy
  • 19 complaints are pending review

Failure to follow quarantine/isolation expectations: six reports

  • Three students were found in violation of university policy
  • Two received disciplinary reprimands
  • One received a written warning
  • One was cleared of having violated policy
  • Two complaints are pending review
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