Radford University suspends Theta Chi fraternity local chapter, eight members

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Radford University announced Thursday the interim suspension of the campus’ Iota Zeta Chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity and eight of its members.

The interim suspension stems from COVID-19 related violations, including endangering conduct by hosting off-campus gatherings.

In announcing the suspensions, RU President Brian O. Hemphill 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,” Hemphill said. “This behavior is not reflective of our Highlander values and is not consistent with the caring and responsible nature of the Radford family.”

Susan P. Trageser, the university’s vice-president for student affairs, said about the suspensions, “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, the 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,” Trageser said.

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 Theta Chi office regarding the specific actions of the local chapter and the eight suspended fraternity members. Through the national process, additional disciplinary actions and related sanctions may be handed out.