Could HBCUs Follow Trend of Colleges Banning Greek Life on Campus?

Last week, the University of Iowa became the latest university to suspend Greek fraternities on campus following reports of alcohol abuse and student code of conduct infractions. It is part of a growing wave of schools removing Greek life from campus in fear of hazing and substance abuse culture within the groups which can lead schools vulnerable to controversy and legal claims.

The action at Iowa follows several high profile fraternity bans in recent months at the University of Minnesota and the University of Missouri.

Five fraternities at West Virginia University were banned for 10 years after all disassociated with the school in light of what they deemed as harsh new rules regulating recruitment and conduct. In Tennessee, a bill was proposed to ban Greek fraternities and sororities from the state’s public campuses.

Several historically black Greek-letter organizations are intrinsically tied to HBCU campuses, and while none have been banned in recent years, suspending organizations on campus in the wake of hazing or misconduct reports is becoming more frequent at HBCUs.

Last month, Wiley College placed a moratorium on campus-based Greek chapters, citing a claim of hazing within one of the groups.

Morgan State University’s Alpha Iota Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. received two years of probation in 2013  when a student filed a claim against the chapter alleging its members of blocking his application because of his sexual orientation.

In 2009, Prairie View A&M University handed down a five-year disband order to the campus chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. following the death of student Donnie Wade.

Dillard University President and hazing expert Walter Kimbrough wrote for The Atlantic in 2014 about the differences between historically black and white fraternities. 

Black fraternities and sororities don’t share the same peripheral issues. A miniscule number own or even rent chapter houses due to very small numbers. The same is true with alcohol. Studies indicate less alcohol usage for example by Black college students, not so much because of less interest, but less disposable income to provide large quantities to guests at an event.

But there are different symptoms that indicate the same dark power or force exists in black groups, one that also creates tragic problems. It invades undergraduates who have been members of a group for a year or two, and miraculously overnight are the authorities on their group and how one should become a member. Their national leaders, scholars, lawyers, and experts, all who say don’t haze, have no credibility with these young geniuses.

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