BLOOMSBURG, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Effective Thursday, Bloomsburg University is terminating its fraternity and sorority life (FSL) programs and cutting ties with all national and local FSL organizations currently affiliated with the university, according to university spokesperson Thomas McGuire.
Bloomsburg University’s fraternities and sororities have been in hot water over the years. But Thursday that comes to an end and now the university is taking action.
“Effective immediately, Bloomsburg University is terminating its fraternity and sorority life program. We’re also severing ties with all national and local FSL organizations that are currently affiliated with the university,” McGuire explained.
May 13, 2021, the day Bloomsburg University Greek life came to an end. This leaves us with one question, why now?
“There is an ongoing investigation at this point. Anytime that occurs per university protocol for the death of a student. Due to the ongoing investigation, we cannot comment any further on that,” McGuire said.
We asked if he was referring to Justin King, a university freshman who died after a fraternity rush party back in 2019.
“Well, we had a student pass away this past weekend,” McGuire told us.
“Was this student’s death related to a fraternity or sorority? Is that the reason this decision came today?” We asked him.
“Again, there is an ongoing investigation, so we cannot comment on anything of that nature,” McGuire said.
Though there are many questions left unanswered due to the investigation, we reached out to Bloomsburg Police but they were not able to provide any answers at this time.
The decision comes just months after a wrongful death lawsuit was filed in state court.
According to the lawsuit, Justin King was invited to a fraternity rush party in September 2019 at a sorority house, despite university rules stating freshmen must earn at least 12 credits before they can be recruited to a fraternity or sorority.
The lawsuit was filed and claims King became intoxicated at a fraternity rush event in the sorority house and fell to his death. His body was found the next morning.
“We are disappointed by the University’s decision to end support of fraternity and sorority life without meaningful dialogue or collaboration. We believe students are best served, and held accountable, through collaboration between host institutions, inter/national fraternities and advisors.
Fraternities are a flourishing part of the community on hundreds of campuses across the United States and provide structure, rules of conduct and discipline for members. As research shows, fraternity members benefit from engagement significantly more than non-members, particularly in first-year students, and report higher levels of positive mental health along with lower rates of depression and anxiety which is important during the current pandemic.
Fraternities can, and do, operate successfully without university affiliation while continuing to hold individuals accountable to health and safety standards. We are committed to working with all stakeholders to improve the campus culture while also respecting the desire of students to form associations on their terms that align with institution and organization core values.”Todd Shelton | North American Interfraternity Conference