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University of Maryland hires consulting firm to help investigation into fraternities, sororities

University of Maryland hires consulting firm to help investigation into fraternities, sororities
University of Maryland hires consulting firm to help investigation into fraternities, sororities 00:42

BALTIMORE - The University of Maryland has hired a consulting firm to support its investigation into its on-campus Greek life in College Park.

The university suspended all social activities and new intake processes for its 21 fraternities and 16 sororities pending an investigation into what the school called "unsafe activities."

In a new letter to on-campus Greek members, the Division of Student Affairs informed students the consulting firm would begin interviewing them in connection to the investigation.

The university also said that no single or specific act led to this investigation and its decision to suspend activities was made in an "effort to help prevent a significant incident."

"We recognize that this has been a difficult time for many of you as we paused some fraternity and sorority events," the university said in its letter. "We have prioritized communications with you and you can find all of the updated information on the DFSL website. We have also met with Chapter and Council presidents. We have communicated with national organizational leadership, families, Chapter Advisors, the House Corporations, and alumni. We are deeply invested in doing all we can to keep you informed, while doing our due diligence to start the next phase of this process, which is upon us and the reason for this letter."  

WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren last week spoke with a University of Maryland sorority member who called for abolishing the Greek system.

"I just felt the only way to take control over what happened to me was to break that silence and speak up about what happened to me. That's the power behind me too," Lucy Taylor said. "When you speak up others do too."

Taylor told WJZ her sisterhood turned into a nightmare and she left Greek life in 2017. She then launched The Snapped Podcast in 2020, which had been downloaded more than 700,000 times.

"All chapters haze," Taylor alleged. "Hazing is an open secret on all college campuses including the University of Maryland, and it's just about who gets caught, so that then creates this culture of secrecy where no one wants to report."

Taylor is calling on the school to be transparent about why they shut down all social activities involving alcohol and all recruitment starting last week. 

Some fraternities pushed back against the University of Maryland's suspension of Greek organizations on the College Park campus.

They say the move to ban recruiting and any social activities involving alcohol unfairly targets fraternities and sororities following the rules.

"It is disheartening that our fraternity chapter, which is not in violation of campus policy, is being subjected to punishment without due process," said the president of Theta Chi.   

Three years ago,19-year-old Adam Oakes died of alcohol poisoning while pledging a fraternity at Virginia Commonwealth University.

His father supports the University of Maryland's move until the school can ensure everyone's safety. 

"We just want the kids to love one another and care for each other and don't harm each other," Eric Oakes said. "It's ridiculous the things they're doing, acting like making someone drink an entire bottle of whiskey is going to make you closer to brotherhood." 

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