Maryland Fraternity/Sorority Life and Title IX

Membership in a fraternity or sorority, also known as Greek life, is a major part of the college experience for thousands of college students. It is an unfortunate fact that these organizations and their members have a poor reputation for alcohol abuse, hazing, and sexual misconduct.

Whether or not these beliefs are founded, the leadership of many colleges are actively looking for ways to decrease the influence of Greek organizations on their campuses. One way that they can so do is to punish students who violate Title IX’s prohibitions of sex discrimination.

Title IX requires all schools to establish investigatory and disciplinary boards to deal with all allegations of sex discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence that affects their students. Your status as a member of a Greek organization cannot protect you from these allegations and may even serve as an impetus to make these charges stick. Call an experienced lawyer for more information about Maryland fraternity/sorority life and Title IX.

Greek Members as Students

Title IX requires schools that accept federal educational funding to take steps to prevent sexual harassment or violence against their students. This applies to any acts of discrimination or violence committed by members of the student body against any other. This applies both to incidents that occur on property owned by the school and all other locations.

As a result, the fact that an alleged incident occurred in a fraternity or sorority house has no bearing on a Title IX investigation. Further, Greek organizations have no ability to handle the matters internally and the fact that an incident may have taken place on their property does not shield these organizations from reporting an incident or providing evidence.

Additionally, a defendant’s or alleged victim’s status as a Greek member has no bearing whatsoever on the investigatory or disciplinary process. These students must follow the same codes of conduct as all other students. Maryland fraternity/sorority life, therefore, has little effect on Title IX accusations.

Potential Punishments for Members of Greek Organizations

The school boards that investigate and punish alleged violations of Title IX have broad powers to hand down penalties. These can range in severity from formal letters of censure to implementing a no-contact order between the defendant and the alleged victim, and even suspension or expulsion.

The board may also force a student to resign from any memberships in clubs or organizations. Greek organizations certainly fall under this category. Even if the school declines to issue this penalty, a Greek organization’s leadership may also expel a member from the group.

The fact that a defendant is a member of a fraternity or sorority or the fact that the incident occurred on their property may even give disciplinary boards a greater incentive to seek harsh penalties. Greek organizations do not enjoy a sterling reputation, and school leadership may be looking for an excuse to revoke a charter or future diminish their standing in the community. All in all, members of fraternities or sororities in Maryland who are facing Title IX allegations need to proceed with extra caution.

Maryland Fraternity/Sorority Membership Cannot Prevent a Title IX Investigation

Every student in colleges and universities has an obligation to adhere to that school’s code of conduct. This applies at all times and in all situations. Your status as a member of a fraternity or a sorority does nothing to change this fact. Even alleged incidents that happen off-campus or on Greek organization property may trigger a Title IX investigation.

These investigations have the power to force your expulsion from the Greek organization, to impart harsh academic penalties, and even to kick you out of school. An attorney may be able to help you exercise your rights during these investigations. Contact a lawyer today to learn more about Maryland fraternity/sorority life and Title IX.