UVA tells frats to finish initiation process early as it investigates hazing

The University of Virginia. Photo:  Dan Addison/UVA Public Affairs The University of Virginia. Photo: Dan Addison/UVA Public Affairs

UVA has told its fraternities to finish their pledge process by Saturday or risk losing their official University recognition, telling the Inter-Fraternity Council’s 31 member groups it’s investigating at least one frat for “inappropriate behavior”—apparently hazing—according to a press release and letter sent out yesterday.

The press release says the order to wrap up pledging and initiate its new members is “designed to ensure student safety and is in accordance with best practices governing the length of time for new member orientation,” and “is not in response to allegations of criminal misconduct,” it references the University’s no-tolerance hazing policy, and says one fraternity is under investigation. 

NBC29 acquired a letter sent to pledges by Dean of Students Allen Groves that referenced “several independent reports of hazing activities and dangerous practices involving alcohol at multiple IFC fraternities,” and told the fraternities’ newest members to look out for their fellow classmates.

“Simply put, hazing has no place in the University experience,” Groves wrote. “As rising leaders and as University students, it is imperative that you recognize that hazing, related misconduct and the abuse of alcohol threatens not only your health and safety, but also your prospects for academic success at the University.”

Under pressure from Groves, fraternities and sororities banned hard liquor during recruiting week earlier this year after at least eight students were admitted to the hospital for alcohol-related complications, two of whom ended up on life support.

Thursday’s press release says UVA has “requested” its frats finish initiating members early, but it ends with this threat: “Should the fraternities choose not to agree to the University’s request to initiate new members by Saturday, the University will reevaluate renewal of the Fraternal Organization Agreement with such member groups, which permits fraternities to use University resources and participate in University-sponsored activities.”