Alpha Chi Omega sorority recognition suspended through at least spring 2021

March 14, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As a result of a student conduct investigation into allegations of hazing regarding the Penn State chapter of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, the Alpha Chi Omega national organization has revoked the charter of the chapter for no less than three years. The University, in concert with the national's action, is revoking the chapter's recognition, and will proceed through the disciplinary process for various individual students involved.

In late January 2018, the Office of Student Conduct received a report of misconduct related to new member hazing that allegedly occurred in fall of 2016. The Office of Student Conduct immediately suspended the chapter’s new member process and launched an investigation. The investigation uncovered concerning behaviors that were communicated to the national organization.

The Office of Student Conduct notified the national office as soon as the interim suspension was issued, and again at the end of the investigation. As a result, the national office also conducted its own investigation and decisively communicated the immediate closure of their chapter at Penn State.

“Safety is and will remain the top priority. We applaud the national organization for taking the necessary action and partnering with us,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims. “It is imperative to note that the university and the national would not have been able to hold individuals or the collective group accountable if a report had not been made.”

Hazing is illegal and is not acceptable behavior for any student group at Penn State. When Penn State is alerted to allegations of hazing, the University takes immediate action to investigate and impose significant sanctions, including application of the student conduct process where appropriate. The university remain resolved to focus on student safety and well-being, and will continue to hold accountable any individuals or student organizations that put others in danger. The university is aggressively advocating for changes to current hazing laws, in partnership with legislators at the state and federal level.

The loss of recognition means that Alpha Chi Omega no longer enjoys the privileges associated with recognized student organizations at Penn State. These privileges include participation in THON, Homecoming, intramurals, and other University-sanctioned activities; use of University facilities; and access to student-fee funding.

As part of more than a dozen new measures announced on Aug. 21, 2017, to provide enhanced support to the University’s Greek-letter community and promote student safety, Greek organizations must comply with strict social policies. Social policies, which are aimed at preventing underage and excessive drinking include: maximum of 10 social functions per chapter, per semester; alcohol can only be served by a third-party vendor or RAMP trained servers; and only beer and wine may be served, kegs not permitted.

Penn State has created a team of employees who monitor the social activities of Greek-life organizations. When misbehavior is discovered, or otherwise is reported to the University, any disciplinary action that results is managed by the University’s Office of Student Conduct. Revocation of recognition is the most serious consequence the University can impose on student organizations.

These processes are aimed at curbing the misuse of alcohol, hazing, sexual assault, and overly large disruptive gatherings in the fraternity and sorority community. The combination of more than a dozen new measures is unprecedented in its scope, and is intended to re-establish safety as the foremost priority among these organizations, which have traditionally been self-governing. The self-governance for Greek-letter organizations is being challenged across the country, as university after university experiences student injury and death resulting from activities within fraternities.

Last Updated March 14, 2018