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UVA shuts down new member activities for all fraternities following alleged hazing incident

Crystal Graham
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The University of Virginia issued a suspension of the Kappa Sigma fraternity due to an alleged hazing incident that left one student injured. As a result of the incident, UVA has now made the decision to suspend all new member and social events for all UVA fraternities for three weeks.

The University has not disclosed details of the incident. However, witnesses report that a second-year student pledging the Kappa Sigma fraternity on Rugby Road fell down stairs on Feb. 21 after heavy drinking and was unconscious after the fall. The injured student remains in the hospital, according to a parent who spoke on the condition of anonymity to The Washington Post.

The Daily Progress reported that a source said the student was “comatose.”

On Wednesday, the Inter-Fraternity Council governing board and all chapter presidents made the decision to implement a three-week suspension of all new member activities and social events effective immediately.

Spring break for students runs March 2-10.

The council said fraternities may resume activities on March 21.

All IFC chapters must also initiate new members quickly with a deadline of March 24.

The IFC statement also said that it “fully” supports the decision by UVA in regards to the immediate suspension of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

“The health and safety of our members and broader community is our foremost goal. The IFC promotes anti-hazing and risk management practices across all chapters to prevent incidents,” the statement read.

The IFC also said that it extends thoughts and prayers to the affected individual, their family and loved ones during this time.

UVA Vice President of and Chief Student Affairs Officer Kenyon Bonner issued a statement Thursday directed to UVA students.

“I am deeply concerned that one of our students has been seriously injured, and I am intent on taking every step I can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our entire student body,” said Bonner. “While the University Police Department investigation of alleged criminal conduct is ongoing, I want to be clear that the University of Virginia takes allegations of hazing seriously and acts quickly to investigate them and take disciplinary action where necessary.

“Our student organizations, including our fraternities and sororities, have long been an active and integral part of the University of Virginia community and student experience. As a former student leader, I understand the importance and value of a healthy and robust student organization community,” Bonner said. “But we must insist on prioritizing the well-being of students who choose to become part of these organizations, and ensure that any initiation activities are safe, healthy, and without exception, in compliance with University policies and Standards of Conduct.

“To be clear, hazing should never be part of these activities.”

Hazing resources

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.