"Series of events" led to university's Greek-wide suspension

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - An A-State official opened up Wednesday about the decision to suspend Greek Life events following an alleged rape at a fraternity house.

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Rick Stripling told Region 8 News it was not the alleged rape that prompted the decision, rather a series of events.

He said there has been a sexual assault incident and a fighting incident before the alleged rape happened.  Formal charges have been filed in at least one of those cases.

As a result, eight registered events have been canceled up until April 1 by Greek Life officials, leaving many students on campus feeling frustrated.

No one feels the frustration more than the event planners.

Stormy Clark is one of them. He serves as Social Chair of Tau Kappa Epsilon, an A-State fraternity.

"It's not an ideal decision," Clark said. "We plan all the events, formals, drop-ins. It takes time."

Clark said TKE is newly back on campus. Because of that, he said it is important for them to have all the social time they can get to stay on campus.

He, like many, are hoping they get this time back once the suspension period is over.

"It's going to hurt us," Clark said. "Not getting to do any social events, we aren't going to be able to put ourselves out there with the sororities like we would have been able to this month."

In the meantime, all Greek Life members are required to attend Social and Risk Reduction training in March.

"It's a time we can talk as adults, here's what we feel as a student body at Arkansas State University as a part of maturity and growth," Stripling said. "Our role as educators is to help them understand some of those things."

During the training, Stripling said administrators plan to revisit Greek Life standards, making sure members are fully aware of them.

Stripling said he is working with some of the groups on rescheduling larger events that the members have invested money towards.

Some Greek Life members told Region 8 News that one of the sororities had a formal planned this week. Many of the members already bought dresses, made hair appointments and scheduled a venue.

On Wednesday, the North American Interfraternity Conference also responded to the Greek-wide suspension.

The group released the following statement:

Student safety is our top priority. We strongly support accountability for violating shared expectations, but we oppose blanket actions that negatively impact students who are upholding the rules and taking care of each other. We look forward to working with the university to reduce risks and improve the fraternity community.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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