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University of Maryland halts fraternity and sorority events amid hazing worries

<span>Library and campus of the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.</span><span>Photograph: sframephoto/Getty Images/iStockphoto</span>
Library and campus of the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.Photograph: sframephoto/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Program activities of fraternities and sororities at the University of Maryland have been suspended indefinitely, the university announced.

The University of Maryland’s decision comes after the University of Virginia suspended its Kappa Sigma chapter and all fraternity events following an alleged hazing incident last month which left a student injured.

Related: Dead longhorn found at Oklahoma State fraternity house on day before Texas game

The societies, often referred to as “Greek life” on campus” across the US due to their Greek alphabet initials, are social groups that select members as part of a community that then live and socialize together. Such groups have been the subject of numerous Hollywood films as well as the focus of controversy over dangerous “hazing” initiation rituals.

In a statement, the university said that it has “reason to believe that multiple chapters within the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Council (PHA) have been conducting activities that have threatened the safety and well-being of members of the University community”.

The university, which did not elaborate on the alleged activities, said that an emergency meeting was held on Thursday between all fraternity and sorority life councils during which the groups were notified that further allegations of misconduct may result in a cease and desist activities.

However, despite the warning, further incidents were reported on Friday, the university said. As a result, all new member program activities have been indefinitely suspended, “pending the results of a thorough investigation”, the statement announced.

It added that all IFC and PHA organizations are on social moratorium which prohibits the chapters from hosting on- and off-campus events where alcohol is present.

The university also said that its statement is a formal notice to chapter leadership that current members of the organization are to have “absolutely no contact” with any new member or prospective new member.

“This directive means that every current member of the organization must not contact any new member or prospective new member via in-person, telephone, postal mail, any electronic means (including social media), or third-party communication,” the statement said.