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Communication key for MU as some fraternities make a return

MU seeks better communication with Greek groups

COLUMBIA, Mo. - University of Missouri leaders will be in close contact with fraternities seeking to come back to campus after their suspensions end.

Seven fraternities have either ended their Columbia-based chapters or been booted as a student organization by the school in the last several years. Many of them are for an indefinite amount of time, while others will have their self-imposed bans lifted this year.

Representatives from Delta Upsilon will be on MU's campus this semester in an effort to set up another chapter, a spokeswoman with DU told ABC 17 News. Ashley Martin said in an email that DU would be in contact with university throughout the process.

"Our staff will be focused on member recruitment and laying the foundation for the new group," Martin said.

Rules at the university may be much different than they were when DU dissolved its chapter in 2016 amid numerous conduct issues. A task force of students, faculty and Greek advisors submitted recommendations to the school administration on ways to change the culture of its Greek experience. School spokesman Christian Basi said the changes are geared toward making it a "safe and academically supportive" environment.

"We will certainly be working with [returning Greek organizations] to make sure that, if they do come back, that they adhere to all of the new policies and changes," Basi said in an interview earlier this month.

Some fraternities criticized the way MU handled previous investigations into misconduct. Leaders from Kappa Alpha Order said they misunderstood how the school was handling its punishment for hazing in the fall of 2016. The director of Sigma Pi said he regretted the stance MU took in banning the fraternity from ever coming back to campus as a student organization.

Records from the last school year show some university leaders working closely with the national fraternity to find a resolution to investigations. In one hazing case at Beta Theta Pi, director Austin Marple came from the national office's in Ohio to work alongside the school's investigation. Two people were hurt in one night at the house in December. Sophomores brought some freshmen into the basement of the house to "joust," where one freshman gets on another's back, charges toward the opposing pair and "wrestle to try and push the other off the back of the freshman that he is sitting on," according to notes ABC 17 News obtained. 

While many members interviewed described it as a "rogue" incident, and those that "jousted" volunteered to do so, the school cited Beta Theta Pi for hazing, and placed it on probation until Feb. 2019.

Fraternity spokesman Justin Warren did not make any leaders available for interview, but told ABC 17 News the partnership with MU was valuable.

"In Beta’s experience, administrators were very accessible, which helped greatly in crafting a comprehensive response that mobilized resources both nationally and locally, and ultimately helped our chapter become a better member of the Mizzou Greek community," Warren said.



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