September 2, 2020

Update on Kappa Alpha decision

TO: Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, Families
FROM: Furman University

After careful deliberation, Furman University, in consultation with Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council leadership, has suspended recognition of the Kappa Alpha chapter for a period of no less than four years. The chapter has an opportunity to appeal this decision. The university has been in consultation with the Kappa Alpha Headquarters to outline what the suspension means as well as steps for its return after the suspension period concludes. Suspension of recognition is defined in Furman’s student handbook, which can be found here.

As the university informed the campus previously, Kappa Alpha hosted unauthorized parties at their former fraternity house on August 21 and 22. Furman’s student conduct code is clear that activities at unrecognized venues such as the former house will result in the consideration of suspension of recognition.  Fifty-nine individuals have come forward to share they were present at the house during the aforementioned dates, and of those in attendance, nearly 60% have tested positive for COVID-19. Individuals have been quarantined in keeping with Furman’s protocols. However, there were delays as contact tracers were initially not provided information about the events at the house and the individuals present. An outbreak that surpasses our ability to quarantine is one trigger that could cause us to go fully remote, and this matter quickly became an issue of wellbeing for our entire community.

The suspension follows Furman’s standard of progressive discipline. Kappa Alpha recently ended a probationary period at the end of the Spring 2020 term due to a conduct incident in Spring 2019. During that probationary period the chapter lost social privileges, participated in risk management trainings, engaged with headquarters’ consultant staff, and conducted a membership recommitment to the values and expectations of membership in Kappa Alpha in order to maintain membership. Individuals involved in the 2019 incident were in attendance at the most recent incident.

While the university appreciates the bonds that fraternal membership forms, any activities that put the health and safety of students at risk will not be tolerated. Individuals associated with the suspended chapter understand they must cease all organizational activity and the individual repercussions for failure to do so. Organizational activity is defined by Furman as any activity, on- or off-campus, sponsored or endorsed by the suspended chapter or any activity a reasonable person would associate with the suspended chapter. While the organizational climate did not meet Furman’s conduct expectations, these men will remain a part of our community after the conduct matters are concluded. We ask that they be treated with respect.

Furman University posts student organization conduct violations online at furman.edu/orgreport. For questions or concerns, please contact studentlife@furman.edu.