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Kappa Alpha Theta Files Suit Against the University of Maryland

Category: Fraternity

On Thursday, April 4, 2024, six current students and Gamma Mu Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta initiated legal action against University of Maryland administrators.

On March 1, the university’s administration suspended all new member activities and social events for campus Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Association member organizations following undocumented and vague allegations of misconduct and concerns for student safety. There was also a No Contact Order issued, which banned IFC and Panhellenic members from having any contact with any new member or potential new member (PNM)—including biological siblings, roommates, classmates, coworkers, etc. Following this decision, National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) leadership attempted to partner with university officials to understand the situation, but the administration failed to provide answers. Even now, the university’s administration has failed to communicate transparently about the alleged incidents of misconduct and denied students their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Additionally, IFC and Panhellenic students were required to participate in mandatory interrogation by hired attorneys or potentially face disciplinary action, all while still not knowing the context of the inciting incidents.

On March 5, the university’s administration modified the No Contact Order, but continued to prohibit conversation between members and new members regarding chapter business and activities. This was happening at a time when almost all initiations had been postponed due to the university’s suspension of activities, and housing contracts were to be signed for the 2024-2025 academic year.

On March 8, the administration shared that “no single or specific incident led to the decision” to suspend social activities and new member recruitment activities.

On March 15, the administration reinstated activities for all 16 campus Panhellenic organizations based on zero allegations of misconduct concerning any of the 16.

As one can imagine, it has been a stressful time for the Panhellenic community and our beloved Gamma Mu Chapter members. Amid the stressful investigation that ultimately cleared all 16 Panhellenic groups of any wrongdoing, these members were deprived of their core support systems. It’s imperative that we stand together to protect students’ rights and wellbeing and discourage this broad action from happening at other campuses.

Chief Executive Officer Jenni Broughton Schmaltz, Gamma/Butler, said, “Our members shared with me their fears, sense of confusion, and the exhausting stress caused by the University of Maryland’s administration’s actions. I do not believe our chapter was alone in those feelings. The negative impact on our chapter and our members was completely unnecessary, as after 15 days, the university cleared every sorority of wrongdoing.”

Kappa Alpha Theta is proud to be the one of the 16 groups on Maryland’s campus bringing forward this litigation on behalf of Gamma Mu Chapter and this strong, committed membership. Just like the way Theta was founded in 1870, this organization will always stand for fairness, equity, and respect. Gamma Mu Chapter is an essential piece of Theta’s story, and the full, unwavering support of Theta sisterhood is behind it.

Theta is grateful to NPC for the support and partnership in this monumental endeavor and is proud to be a member of an organization that continues to lead on advocacy efforts to pass federal legislation that would prevent university actions like this in the future. You can stay up to date with our action against the University of Maryland on the NPC website.