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Pi Kappa Alpha Suspended After Hosting Large Social

Penn State has suspended Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity after it held a large social on Saturday, August 22 that violated university guidelines.

According to a news release, Penn State observed at least 70 students in attendance at the reported social, including at least three dozen individuals who didn’t live at the house. Penn State said its monitors were refused entry by the chapter.

Penn State added it has suspended the chapter executive who “refused to comply with the directives for the University monitors.” The university said it will proceed with conduct investigations to determine what actions it will potentially take against the organization and its members.

“We’re all in this together, so when one of us, or a group, behaves in ways that threaten all of us, we must act, and we must act quickly,” Damon Sims, Penn State vice president for Student Affairs, said. “Social gatherings are among the very best ways to spread the virus, and refusing to comply with the public health mandates, even when directed to do so by University officials, will not be tolerated.”

Penn State will require all members of Pi Kappa Alpha’s house to get tested for the coronavirus on Sunday, August 23 to determine if they’ve been exposed to the virus. The university also expects students who were in attendance to get tested.

Fraternity members’ mandatory testing will take place in a tent outside the Biobehavioral Health Building on the HUB Lawn side of the building. Failure to follow up with testing could result in additional disciplinary sanctions, Penn State warned.

Penn State added it is setting up another temporary coronavirus testing tent near East Halls, where a large gathering was reported earlier this week.

Sims said no disciplinary action will be taken against students who attended Pi Kappa Alpha’s party or the East Halls gathering as long as they are tested for the virus.

“The University has clearly stated the consequences for significant violations of University expectations may, or are likely to, include suspension or expulsion from the University,” Penn State said in its release. “Recognized student organizations also may lose privileges or face loss of University recognition for failure to comply.” 

Penn State has already initiated student conduct proceedings for Pi Kappa Alpha’s executives. The university also said a conduct process has begun for a student believed to have helped organize the East Halls gathering.

“Among the last things I want to do is suspend students or student organizations,” Sims said. “But the very last thing I want to do is allow a small subset of our University population to send all of us home because it chose to ignore the requirements each of us must abide, and we will do all we reasonably can to avoid that outcome.”

Earlier this week, Penn State placed Phi Kappa Psi fraternity on interim suspension after it held a guideline-violating social of its own.

Back in July, Penn State’s Interfraternity Council unanimously passed a social moratorium that banned organized socials until further notice.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

By day, Matt is a senior majoring in journalism. By night, he's Onward State's managing editor. He's a huge Philadelphia sports fan, fantasy football lover, and washed-up drummer hailing from Collegeville, Pa. The quickest way to his heart is Margherita pizza and "Arrested Development" quotes. Follow him on Twitter @mattdisanto_ if you hate yourself or email Matt at [email protected] if you hate him.

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