Suspensions lifted on 13 USC fraternities; president wants rush examined

All 13 University of South Carolina fraternity chapters suspended from recruiting new members because of possible alcohol violations will be able to issue bids to new members as of Friday, a school spokesman said Thursday.

Still, USC president Harries Pastides said the school ought to examine ways to handle rush differently.

“We need to look seriously at deep institutional change,” Pastides told The State Thursday. “You don’t want to gut the best thing about fraternal life. You don’t want to just throw cold water over all of it. But we need to look at rush, in particular. We need to see if rushing is the best way to evaluate potential members or might there be an alternative to rush.”

Pastides did not suggest any changes and said any discussions would include fraternity and sorority leaders. USC already has a committee examining student conduct, including Greek life.

After meetings with the USC Fraternity Council over the weekend, six of the suspended chapters were allowed to invite new members to join Monday, the regularly scheduled bid day, university spokesman Wes Hickman said.

The other seven chapters can issue bids Friday, he said.

Some chapters face hearings before the Greek Conduct Board. Hickman did not have the number or names of the fraternities.

Rush events are supposed to be alcohol-free. The 13 chapters were suspended after allegations that alcohol was present at rush activities.

The chapters suspended were: Alpha Epsilon Pi; Alpha Tau Omega; Chi Psi; Delta Kappa Epsilon; Kappa Alpha Order; Lambda Chi Alpha; Phi Gamma Delta; Phi Kappa Sigma; Phi Sigma Kappa; Sigma Alpha Epsilon; Sigma Chi; Tau Kappa Epsilon and Theta Chi.

Just six fraternity chapters actively recruiting new members were not sanctioned.

USC has stepped up its sanctions of fraternities for rules violations after incidents in recent years.

The school halted new member recruitment temporarily at all fraternities in 2011 after seven chapters were cited for alcohol violations. Last school year, three USC fraternity chapters were closed because of alcohol and hazing violations, including one after the death of a pledge.

All but one of the university’s 17 largest fraternity chapters listed in the spring have been cited for alcohol, drug or hazing violations since 2011, according to an analysis by The State of school records.

More than half of the state Senate backed a proposal this spring to form a statewide task force to examine student conduct on college campuses after pledge fatalities in South Carolina, including the death of Clemson sophomore Tucker Hipps, and controversies elsewhere in the country.