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Penn State Suspends Pi Kappa AlphaDue to the spread of the coronavirus, the University of Pennsylvania has mandated all undergraduate university housing, including all Penn-managed fraternity and sorority houses, are closed for the Fall semester. All classes will be taught online. There will be no in person classes.

In contrast, the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) began the Fall semester in August with dorms and fraternity/sorority chapter houses open. To protect Penn State students from COVID-19, the Penn State administration installed a policy dictating no social gatherings, and directed students to comply with a recent borough governmental ordinance that forbids more than 10 people to gather at a residence at any one time. Monitors have been hired by Penn State to report any failure by its students to obey these restrictions.

Monitors reported that Pi Kappa Alpha, on Saturday, August 22, 2020, was the scene of a social gathering of approximately 70 people, many not Pi Kappa Alpha members. When the monitors requested permission to enter the premises to see first-hand the activities inside the chapter house, they were denied admittance.

On August 23, 2020, the Penn State administration summarily suspended Pi Kappa Alpha. No disciplinary action was taken against anyone for participating in the gathering. However, all Pi Kappa Alpha executive board members were summarily suspended for refusing admittance to Penn State monitors. All Pi Kappa Alpha members are now required to be tested for COVID-19. Further disciplinary action against Pi Kappa Alpha and its members will depend on the findings of a formal investigation.

A summary suspension means Pi Kappa Alpha and the suspended members will not be permitted to participate in, attend, or organize any functions, activities, or events on the Penn State campus or related to Penn State off campus. If the outcome of the formal investigation results in the determination that there has been a significant violation of Penn State rules or existing law, further disciplinary action may follow, including suspension or expulsion from Penn State for participants and those summarily suspended.

Penn State Vice President of Student Affairs, Damon Sims, was quoted as saying, “…the university will not approve any social for any fraternity or sorority until we determine that our collective efforts to mitigate the virus are sufficiently successful to warrant relaxation of that prohibition (against large social gatherings)”. He further stated, “…refusing to comply with the public health mandates, even when directed (to comply) to do so by University officials, will not be tolerated”.

Assuming the University of Pennsylvania reopens the campus for the spring semester, it can be expected there will be new rules on campus to deal with the coronavirus. It can also be expected that these rules will be strictly enforced with dire consequences for anyone not in compliance.