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Credit: Carly Ryan

Penn's chapter of Alpha Phi has been placed on probation after alleged violations of COVID-19 safety guidelines, such as hosting and partaking in social gatherings without social distancing or mask wearing.

The Alpha Phi International Fraternity banned the chapter from holding in-person and virtual events until May 11, at which date the chapter's status will be reviewed again based on the University investigation, according to a March 16 email from the Alpha Phi International Fraternity to Penn's chapter.

The international fraternity placed Penn's chapter on probation on March 12 after an internal investigation found "substantiated allegations and uncovered concerns involving the new member experience and other social activities that may have taken place." Staff from the international fraternity and University officials similarly expressed "significant concern" about the chapter's repeated COVID-19 violations on a call, according to the email.

According to the email, Alpha Phi and its chapter members violated two aspects of the Alpha Phi International Fraternity policy: a chapter must comply with all laws and regulations set by the country, city, and state where it is located and follow all rules established by its University.

"We were concerned to find the chapter members’ involvement in events while [COVID-19] guidance has been put into place and communication shared repeatedly by the University," the international fraternity wrote in the email. "Further, participation in these activities coupled with the chapter's history of risk management incidents, the lack of responsibility for individual actions, and disregard for Alpha Phi and University policies and guidelines exhibit a more concerning pattern of a lack of policy understanding, and presents a critical need for immediate and intensive education for all members of the chapter."

University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Life Monica Yant Kinney, and Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs Tamara Greenfield King did not respond to immediate requests for comment.

Failure to comply with the order to "cease and desist" all activities and operations will result in disciplinary action for any individual member or the chapter itself, which may range from "educational terms" to membership termination for the individual, according to the email.

The Daily Pennsylvanian reported on parties — without social distancing — occurring around Penn in the fall 2020 semester, even though the majority of on-campus housing was closed. In early February, the University warned Greek life members that a “completely disproportionate” number of positive COVID-19 cases on campus was linked to fraternities and sororities, particularly as cases were reaching semester highs.

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