FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.- The University of Arkansas has suspended fraternities’ social activities for the rest of the fall semester after a student attending a party at Phi Delta Theta was hospitalized with alcohol poisoning.
The university’s Greek Life Office suspended the activities in response to the hospitalization and allegations that three Arkansas basketball players sexually assaulted a student after a party at the Phi Gamma Delta house.
“We certainly wanted to send a strong message to our Greek community to let them know that we’re taking this seriously,” said Parice Bowser, director of Greek Life. “And we want to be proactive so that we can avoid situations like this in the future.”
Fraternities won’t be allowed to hold social activities on or off campus or in cooperation with sororities, Bowser said. Sororities and historically Black organizations will still be allowed to hold events. Bowser said she could not recall a similar campuswide ban in the university’s recent history.
Phi Delta Theta and university officials will conduct separate investigations into allegations that hazing took place at a Nov. 12 “big brother-little brother” event held by the fraternity’s Fayetteville chapter at its house on Stadium Drive, said Bob Biggs, executive vice president of Phi Delta Theta’s international organization.
A potential new member was hospitalized early the next morning with a blood alcohol level of 0.68, Biggs said. A university police report identified that student as Nicholas Brown, 18.
Brown was hospitalized for two days, Biggs said. He has since recovered and returned to class.
“Thank goodness for the person who saw him and realized he needed medical attention,” Biggs said.
Phi Delta Theta expects to complete its investigation soon, he said. The chapter and the 100 students who attended the party could face sanctions including suspension and removal of its charter, he said.
“Pledges are typically minors,” Biggs said. “If you’re not of age, our message is don’t drink. Period.”
At Phi Gamma Delta- where three athletes were accused of rape but never charged – the chapter had an exemption that allowed of-age students to possess alcohol, but now that chapter must be alcohol-free, said Bill Martin, director of the national Phi Gamma Delta organization.