A Message to the UVA Student Community

To
All Students
From
Vice President Kenyon R. Bonner, Student Affairs

Dear UVA Students,

I am writing to address the disturbing report of an alleged hazing incident involving a UVA student and Kappa Sigma Fraternity. As both a parent and member of this community, I am deeply concerned that one of our students has been seriously injured, and I am intent on taking every step I can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our entire student body.

While the University Police Department investigation of alleged criminal conduct is ongoing, I want to be clear that the University of Virginia takes allegations of hazing seriously and acts quickly to investigate them and take disciplinary action where necessary. When the University was made aware of this incident, we immediately suspended the Fraternal Organization Agreement (FOA) between Kappa Sigma and the University pending our investigation into the allegations. I am grateful for the student-run Inter-Fraternity Council’s (IFC) decision to implement a three-week suspension of all new member activities and social events for all IFC chapters effective immediately through March 20. As part of this decision, the IFC is requiring all its chapters to initiate new members between March 21 and March 24, shortening the new member period and ensuring initiation will occur as quickly as possible after the voluntary suspension period concludes.

I have also asked our Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life to partner with the Inter-Fraternity Council to review the FOA to ensure recruitment and new member activities effectively safeguard the safety, health, and well-being of students participating in IFC new member activities.

Our student organizations, including our fraternities and sororities, have long been an active and integral part of the University of Virginia community and student experience. As a former student leader, I understand the importance and value of a healthy and robust student organization community. But we must insist on prioritizing the well-being of students who choose to become part of these organizations, and ensure that any initiation activities are safe, healthy, and without exception, in compliance with University policies and Standards of Conduct. To be clear, hazing should never be part of these activities.

We are committed to ending hazing and substance abuse at UVA. The University of Virginia hosts the Gordie Center, an organization committed to eliminating hazing and substance abuse in the state and across the country, providing valuable resources to the UVA community through its website and programming. Prevention efforts also include mandatory in-person Hoos Against Hazing training for all potential new members of UVA student organizations that have a new member process, and incoming first-year and transfer students. All fraternity and sorority organizations are required to receive annual anti-hazing training. And finally, the Hoos Against Hazing website includes resources that provide information to parents and students about the risks of hazing, steps we can take to protect ourselves and others, and links for preventing and reporting hazing activities.

As many of you prepare to take time off for spring break, I ask that you reflect on your responsibility as a member of our UVA family to support a culture that reports suspected hazing, appropriately intervenes to disrupt harmful behavior, and respects the safety, dignity, and well-being of all community members. To report an incident of suspected hazing, please visit our Just Report It! website, call the Hazing Hotline at 434-243-HAZE (4293), or in cases of emergency, dial 911.

I wish you a healthy and restful spring break.

Sincerely,

Kenyon R. Bonner
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer