KU issues cease-and-desist orders, 14-day public health bans to two fraternities seen partying ahead of fall semester

photo by: Associated Press

Sidewalks are empty around Strong Hall in the middle of the University of Kansas campus In Lawrence, Kan., Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Classes are not being held while moving online due to coronavirus concerns. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Two fraternities at the University of Kansas have received cease-and-desist orders from KU Chancellor Douglas Girod after images and videos circulated on social media over the past week of large groups gathered outside without masks or social distancing.

Girod announced the orders in a campus email just before 10 p.m. Sunday, and mere hours after the Journal-World reported that officials had not responded to multiple requests for comment on the partying.

The message explicitly stated that Kappa Sigma and Phi Kappa Psi hosted activities that violated both Douglas County and university policies.

“We will not tolerate selfish and irresponsible behavior that puts the health and safety of our community at risk,” Girod said. “That disrespects staff, faculty, and students who have worked to prepare our campuses for reopening; that jeopardizes the long-term viability of the university; and that recklessly disregards the authorities of the university, city, and county.”

Girod again reiterated that students found to be in violation of KU’s COVID-19 policies could face penalties up to suspension from the university — but did not address any specific punishments for the two fraternities beyond the cease-and-desist orders and public health bans.

“I know most of our students are doing the right thing,” Girod said in the message. “But we will not accept noncompliance with health and safety protocols on-campus related to masks, physical distancing and large gatherings. Any student who does not follow university regulations may face student conduct action, including the removal of privileges to come to campus and possible suspension. Additionally, disregard for state or county guidelines could lead to civil or criminal penalties. These disciplinary actions and penalties can follow you throughout your academic career and impact your applications for graduate school or your first job after graduation.”

Public health guidance, Girod said, doesn’t take much effort, and he again called on students to “rise to the occasion.”

“Though this pandemic is impossibly complicated, the expectations of you are not,” he said, listing the importance of mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing and several other steps. “These actions don’t take great effort. They are only a matter of will.”

KU’s fall semester begins Monday.


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