Radford University suspends fraternity, along with 8 members, for COVID-19 violations

Theta Chi’s Iota Zeta chapter allegedly held large gatherings, mocked public health guidance

RADFORD, Va. – Leaders at Radford University suspended a fraternity, along with eight of its members, for what university leaders said are COVID-19 violations related to “endangering conduct by hosting off-campus gatherings.”

Theta Chi’s Iota Zeta chapter is suspended from the university on an interim basis, effective immediately, university leaders announced Thursday.

University leaders said the fraternity admitted to hosting gatherings and is also suspected of “ridiculing” people who follow public health guidance and wear face coverings.

Some fraternity members were also allegedly advising other members and those attending their gatherings to not seek testing or to only do so outside of the local area in an effort to hide potential positive cases, according to university leaders.

The eight students who were suspended will have due process through the university’s Office of Student Standards and Conduct. University leaders contacted the national Theta Chi office about Iota Zeta’s actions, which could result in more sanctions on the national level.

Read the full statement from Radford University below:

“Today, Radford University announced the interim suspension of Theta Chi Fraternity – Iota Zeta Chapter. The interim suspension stems from COVID-19 related violations, including endangering conduct by hosting off-campus gatherings. In addition to the chapter’s interim suspension, eight members, who are Radford students, have been placed on interim suspension.

Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. said, “As a University, we have been very clear with individual students and all organizations that we have a no tolerance policy for the blatant disregard of public health guidelines and University expectations, as well as the safety and well-being of our broader community. This fraternity has admitted to hosting gatherings, but is also suspected of ridiculing those who follow public health guidance, such as wearing face coverings, and misleading Radford University and public health officials. It has been reported that the local organization is allegedly advising its members and those attending their gatherings to not seek testing or to only do so outside of the local area in an effort to hide potential positive cases. This behavior is not reflective of our Highlander values and not consistent with the caring and responsible nature of the Radford family.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Susan P. Trageser, Ed.D. added, “There is a direct link between the recent increase in confirmed cases and off-campus gatherings, which clearly demonstrates the dangerous nature and potential consequence for this type of irresponsible activity. This reckless behavior is especially troubling given prior action by Radford University’s Panhellenic Council, Interfraternity Council, and National Pan-Hellenic Executive Boards to declare their unified commitment for operating in a safe and responsible manner. I am confident that the careless actions of Theta Chi Fraternity – Iota Zeta Chapter are not the norm across our Greek Life organizations, which have pledged to uphold their prior commitment.”

The local chapter was founded on November 17, 2001 and was previously in good standing. Due to the interim suspension, the local chapter must cease all operations and will be afforded a conduct conference or hearing as soon as it is practicable. The individual students will also have due process through the Office of Student Standards and Conduct. The University has notified the national office regarding the specific actions of the local chapter and the eight members. Through the national process, they may be subject to additional disciplinary actions and related sanctions.”

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