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Sorority banned at Lehigh University after ‘reprehensible’ scavenger hunt involving drugs, alcohol and sexual activity

A sorority at the Lehigh University in Pennsylvania has been banned from campus for two years, until May 2020, for “reprehensible” scavenger hunt involving drugs, alcohol and sexual activity. Alpha Chi Omega’s Theta Chi chapter lost its recognition due to the hunt it organized in December 2017 where the participants were asked to perform certain tasks that involved use of drugs and alcohol, sexual activity as well as ingesting food and other liquids for which the participants received points.

The sorority was suspended the same month following reports of the hunt and supporting evidence. According to a disciplinary committee set up to investigate the matter, the hunt had been going on for years. Following the alleged incident on Dec. 12, 2017, the chapter was placed on interim suspension and was ordered to desist from all activities.

Sorority failed to meet and uphold University standards

In a statement issued by the Lehigh University, it stated that it “expects all students to uphold community standards” and that the alleged event “failed to meet these standards.” In a disciplinary hearing held on March 5, 2018, the University Committee on Discipline charged the sorority with hazing violations. According to the disciplinary committee, the sorority was involved in creating situations both on and off campus that involved “morally questionable quests” such as treasure hunts and scavenger hunts.

According to the report presented by the University’s discipline committee, there was credible information that the event had been going on for years and that the entire chapter along with its leadership was aware of the activities. The report also stated that the University’s disciplinary panel is “deeply concerned about the escalated nature of the content of this year’s list” and is also skeptical that the escalation would not continue.

Though the chapter cooperated and turned over evidence, an investigation by the national organization of Alpha Chi Omega resulted in probationary terms for the chapter and additional individual punishments. While Alpha Chi Omega can appeal, by the time the sorority will be allowed to resume its activities at the University, the students involved in the alleged incident would have graduated.

In July 2017, the University had dissolved a fraternity, Kappa Sigma following an April 2017 party that hosted more than 40 underage drinkers. The suspension followed a string of alcohol-related injuries and hospitalizations. Kappa Sigma is disbanded till July 2019. Following the suspension, the University temporarily suspended Phi Kappa Theta and Delta Chi, and issued warnings to Alpha Tau Omega and Kappa Alpha.

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