The University has suspended the International Affairs Association's registration with Penn, the Office of Student Affairs confirmed Tuesday night.
The OSA notified group leaders earlier on Tuesday that the IAA would be suspended for a year, multiple IAA members confirmed to The Daily Pennsylvanian. Executive Director of the Office of Student Affairs Katie Bonner wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian that the group would be suspended until January 2021. She wrote that they will then be eligible to apply for re-registration if they meet the conditions of their sanctions.
Bonner declined to provide details about the sanctions being imposed on the IAA.
College sophomore and member of the IAA's Intercol branch Michael Lin said the head of Intercol notified the branch's members about the suspension Tuesday evening. Lin said that he was not given a reason for the group’s suspension but added that the suspension applies to all branches of the IAA.
“The [IAA] leadership actually kept it on a pretty tight lock,” Lin said.
Chief of Staff of the IAA Community Outreach and Engagement branch and Wharton senior Nicole Ksendzovskaya said the IAA's executive board members sent identical GroupMe messages to their branches informing members of the group's suspension. She added that the messages did not contain an explanation for the suspension.
Ksendzovskaya said that she and members of the IAA executive board met with the OSA at the end of last semester. Ksendzovskaya said the OSA told them that the IAA was under investigation, but did not offer any details except that they would be informed of sanctions in January.
"I actually find it really strange that no one has told me what the reason is," Ksendzovskaya said.
In December 2019, the Office of Student Conduct found the IAA responsible for "violating University Anti-Hazing Policy by conducting organization-wide initiation events for new members that involved drinking games, scavenger hunts and quizzes." Students received medical attention due to intoxication as a result of hazing, according to the hazing report. The OSC concluded its investigation on Dec. 11 and reported sanctions were still being determined as of Jan. 1.
Wharton and Engineering first-year Karina Strauch, who is a member of the IAA’s Intercol branch, said she and all other first-year members were interviewed last semester by the OSC about alleged hazing rituals during the club’s initiation. Strauch said she did not experience hazing as a member of the IAA.
IAA President and College senior Dano Major declined to comment.
IAA website before it was suspended
IAA website after it was suspended
Ksendzovskaya said that by this time of the year, the IAA typically would have sent out invitations to its annual free conference for high schoolers, the Penn International Relations Conference, but they have not because of the sanctions.
The IAA held its annual Ivy League Model UN Conference for high school students last weekend.
In 2014, the IAA raised over $235,000 in revenue from registration fees alone, minus scholarships provided by ILMUNC. The IAA also sponsors the University of Pennsylvania Model United Nations Conference.
"It's not really fair I think to anyone," Ksendzovskaya said. "I just wish there was a lot more transparency in the process."
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