All social activities at Tufts fraternities and sororities have been voluntarily suspended for the remainder of the semester amid allegations of hazing and sexual misconduct, university officials confirmed Tuesday.
Greek life at the Somerville university came under fire early in the semester after an op-ed written by a student appeared in a campus magazine alleging “profoundly troubling behavior in our fraternity system,” according to administrators.
The university and Tufts Police launched “multiple investigations into severalGreek organizations” and issued cease-and-desist orders to four fraternities.
The university’s InterFraternity Council has also voluntarily suspended all recruitment efforts at all 13 fraternities and sororities throughout the spring of 2017. In addition,the eight fraternities are being required to participate in sexual misconduct prevention, an alcohol education session and training with a hazing prevention expert, according to a memo sent Friday to faculty and students.
“These preliminary steps do not preclude further appropriate action being taken by the University, but have been implemented as interim measures pending the outcome of the current investigations,” it stated.
Administrators said they first learned of reports of hazing and sexual misconduct in the opinion article by Ben Kesslen titled “Abolish fraternities,” published Nov. 7 in the Tufts Observer. It chronicled the experience of a gay student rushing at one of the university’s “good” fraternities in January 2015.
At the top of the page is a warning that the op-ed includes “extreme sexual, physical, and gendered violence, explicit sexual content.”
Kesslen himself didn’t make it past the first night when he says pledges were made to watch two women engage in sex acts and participate in sex acts, and drink alcohol until they vomited.
“I’m sure everyone reading this has a story or a rumor they have heard about a Tufts fraternity, one they don’t want to believe,” Kesslen wrote. “I think it’s time we start believing the rumors, we start acknowledging the fact that fraternities’ presence on this campus cannot be justified.”
The university launched an investigation the next day, administrators said.
“The conduct described in the article is deeply disturbing and violates our policies, the university’s values, and, potentially, a variety of laws including those against hazing and sexual misconduct,” administrators said in a Nov. 8 statement.