The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and the Student Affairs Office have recently released social guidelines to be followed for the 2021 school year. Lehigh’s Interfraternity Council and Panhellinic chapters were placed on “pause” back in 2020 with a goal of developing safer policies. (Leslie Regan/ B&W Staff)

BREAKING: All IFC, Panhel chapters put on indefinite “pause”


Lehigh’s Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic chapters have been placed on an indefinite “pause” effective immediately, suspending all new member activities, according to an email sent from President John Simon and Vice President for Student Affairs Ric Hall on Jan. 28. 

The email, addressing current and aspiring members of Lehigh’s Greek community, highlights a “deep concern” regarding the safety and well-being of students involved in Greek organizations, and those aspiring to be.   

Simon and Hall noted reports from parents, new members and anonymous sources sharing incidents of “excessive alcohol consumption, drug use and hazing.”

Despite implementing the 10-point Greek plan last spring, behavior has only worsened over the past few weeks, according to the email.

This indicates “a blatant disregard for the rules and a disrespect for those groups and organizations who do abide by them,” Simon and Hall said in the email.

The “pause” would last until the Panhellenic, Interfraternity Council and Cultural Greek Council communities orchestrate a plan highlighting ways that significant changes will positively impact Lehigh’s Greek community, referencing alcohol, hazing, recruitment and new member education practices. 

Members of Greek organizations and new members are prohibited from contacting each other, chapter events other than chapter business are not allowed, and houses, including individual rooms, must be dry, according to the email.

Simon and Hall also said they are aware that membership may affect housing decisions.

Within the past two weeks, three fraternities have been disciplined. Lehigh’s chapter of Phi Kappa Theta was dissolved on Jan. 20, Theta Xi was suspended from conducting any events on Jan. 24, and Delta Chi was temporarily suspended on Jan. 27 pending an LUPD investigation of drugs and alcohol in their house, according to university conduct records. 

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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  1. Kicked of and Ticked Off on

    Move the drinking and drugs off campus…a wonderful idea for those allegedly concerned about the “safety” of the students. Classic NIMBY nonsense that will result in putting the most vulnerable students in more dangerous situations. It’s practically a guarantee fatal DUIs and ODs will increase after Greek life is abolished by Simon and his cronies. But as long as it’s not “on campus,” the admins can sleep at night. SAD!

    • I'm With LU This Time on

      This disturbing comment is proof positive as to why the administration has no choice but to suspend activities. Those who engage in unsafe/dangerous behaviors and subject others, as a condition of acceptance, to do the same are ruining it for others. This is not an overreaction on the school’s part. They are trying to work with you, giving you second and even third chances. But the reality is they push and you guys push back even harder. Kids on college campuses are dying, becoming sick, assaulting/being assaulted due to extreme alcohol and drug use that is part and parcel of Greek Life. Grow up. You and your brothers/sisters are not invincible – nor are your classmates who are being forced to do things they do not feel comfortable doing. Read the news: Lafayette, Penn State and many others. It’s not fake.

      • The reality: kids on college campuses are dying, becoming sick, assaulting/becoming assaulted; there is peer pressure to conform to the majority; students engage in “unsafe” behaviors.

        The assertion: each of these is happening -because of- alcohol, drug use, and peer pressure stemming predominantly from a single source: those wacky fraternities/sororities/sports teams/theater cliques/The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads…Bueller…

        Fallacies in question:
        (1.) False Cause and Attribution–teenagers with newfound freedom living away from home for the first time ever test their own limits and society’s boundaries, and may develop an unstable sense of self from doing so. Fraternities are communal social organizations that are best known to the public for their social efforts. Ergo, the alcohol, drugs, and peer pressure that cause these injuries in colleges across the United States must all stem from fraternal organizations, currently about 20% of the student body disproportionately influencing the other %80 as they react helplessly. Even at the colleges and universities that don’t have Greek life, yet still have these exact issues.

        (2.) “Think of the Children!”:

  2. Robert L Michaels on

    What a joke. I read the list of “unsafe/dangerous behaviors.” A “picture of a student using a piece of bread as an eyepatch”? Planing on “going out for two weeks straight.” Very dangerous indeed. My children have both decided to forgo Lehigh and I can’t blame them. Not much going on socially for college kids in Bethlehem with no greek life. My alumni contribution is on also on an indefinite “pause”.

    • I'm With LU This Time on

      This is FAR from a joke. New members and parents are not complaining because of a piece of bread. Take a closer look at what goes on in a frat (maybe yours if it’s still there) during hazing; investigate the fallout from some of these behaviors, and then get back to us. Lehigh does not need any more dismissive and unconcerned parents in its community, even alumns. Good luck to your kids wherever they end up – hope they are safe.

      • Then why did they list the bread-as-eyepatch danger at all? Fear of gluten contamination?

        Oh, and your “Good luck to your kids…hope they are safe” couldn’t be less sincere. Thanks, Church Lady. Thanks for your genuine concern for the safety of others, and not just the exclusion of those who disagree with you from your chosen haunt. Nice.

    • Amy Charles '89 on

      And you’re a surgeon? Great, now I’ve got something else to check for before I have surgery.

      Ric is right because of things like this, and because of how IFC serves to protect guys like the one in this story:

      You know, I know where my rapist is, too, because a few years ago I looked him up. And what his wife and kids look like, and what dissolved-and-reconstituted Lehigh fraternity he belongs to. I’m a little luckier than this writer; I know my rapist’s basically a sad old vanishing dude with an empty salesman’s life, and that his wife outclasses him by miles. Only thing wrong with her is that she sold herself short. There’s no reason for me to disturb her or her kids, and time’s serving him up everything he deserves. But if I said his name here, I’d be getting death and lawsuit threats from his fraternity brothers. Because that’s how fraternities operate. Protect each other regardless of the crime. It’s terrific training for business, but not for being a reasonable human being or member of society. It’s also why fraternities have to go around insisting on what gentlemen they are: it’s exactly what they’re not.

      (Can we please have someone try to derail the conversation by deflecting attention to drunk sorority girls? No? We’re not going to try that ridiculous distraction tactic? Okay, color me surprised.)

      I’m just laughing now at the memory of the Sammy president — you probably remember him, Robert? Bob? — after the Sammy brothers nearly killed a pledge with alcohol, how this guy kept telling me stories as I stood there, physically, in front of him, with a reporter’s pad and a pen, writing while he was talking, and he genuinely believed that I would never report what he was saying, because, damn it, the world was supposed to have his back, regardless of what he and his buddies had done. I was supposed to have his back, I was supposed to be a good girl and back him. Man, was he pissed when the stuff he said showed up in the B&W and there was fallout. The entitlement, you could strip paint off the walls with it.

      Yeah, I’m completely fine with ending secret societies at Lehigh. Trust me, your kids will be better off without, too.

      • Amy, rapists deserve to burn in public–either physically, or if not possible, socially destroyed before their employers, families, and friends by getting exposed for the self-serving psychopaths that they are. Those who knowingly–not “I can’t believe John would do that, having never seen that behavior myself, so I’ll reflexively defend my friend,” which is misplaced and naive loyalty but not malice–actively protect them deserve to burn with them as co-conspirators, even after the fact.

        The Boy Scouts housed pedophiles who preyed on children for generations. Olympic teams include athletes who are/have been savage wife and child beaters–not all of whom were demented beyond their own control by chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The Catholic Church. These organizations are infamous for the spectacular failures and hypocrisy of a god-awful minority–but that’s not what they exist -for-. Each of them exists to inspire noble ideals–self-betterment, excellence in body, mind, and spirit–which makes their failures all the more horrifying.

        Fraternities and sororities really are about inclusion, meaningful ritual, and mutual support at a time when a great many 18-year-olds are suddenly ripped not only from their familiar school routines, but from their hometown support networks and from their homes and families. A Big Brother or Big Sister to guide some of them through the academic, social, and personal challenges of it is a huge benefit to the ones who choose to follow that path. And, a debated 1 to 5% of human beings are psychopaths, narcissistic and lacking in impulse control to a monstrous degree. They will manipulate any organization they wheedle their way into for their own benefit, because that’s what they do. It doesn’t mean that these organizations mint them, and they very often strike the offender from their records, locally and internationally, and disown him. But that never appears in media, because it’s expected “dog bites man” news. But in the overwhelming majority of cases, that bastard does get booted, whether out of disgust and shame from the rest of his house or even just self-preservation, that membership is burned.

        • Amy Charles ‘89 on

          Wow, what a lot of hooey, Big Words.

          First, no, of course rapists don’t deserve to be burnt and destroyed and all that. That kind of ridiculous vengeance talk is part of the problem, especially when it’s linked to magic vagina talk. Rapists have committed a violent crime, and normal prosecution and sentencing without attacking the person reporting the rape is what normal, law-abiding societies do.

          Second, this garbage about 1-5% of the society being dangerous psychopaths running around committing all the crimes — come on. The stats are very clear on how common rape and other sexual assaults are. If it was just that tiny fraction doing all the work, these would be the busiest, most exhausted guys you ever saw. It’s very common and it’s more common when it’s sanctioned and encouraged within the guys’ social groups. As it is in fraternities, as is abundantly documented decade after decade, partly by the stupid fraternity brothers themselves.

          Third, can you explain please what this rhetoric is all about with 18-year-old dudes who shave being ripped from their mothers’ bosoms? They’re not that fragile without Mom. I’ve lived with 18-to-22-year-old boys. A lot of the moms have real trouble letting go, and learning to do laundry can apparently still be an issue, but the boys seem to do just fine. All they need to do is find a few friends, and if they’ve got reasonable social skills, this happens pretty readily in a dorm.

          Fraternities and sororities are secret societies that operate by rigidly enforced loyalty codes and, because of that, are petri dishes for doing the wrong thing. And they’re made that way on purpose. Do you know what kind of an organization really does the wonderful things you’re talking about? Student groups. Regular student groups. Open, transparent student groups that are usually to do with a shared interest. Theatre. International affairs. Journalism. Volunteerism. Religious and sports interests. Music. Etc.

          Tl;dr: plz.

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