BOONE — Appalachian State University's Interfraternity Council has banned all fraternity-related activities for a two-week period in an effort to protect public health.
The action includes a two-week stay-at-home order for IFC fraternity members, according to the council's Oct. 1 resolution.
"The town of Boone is currently experiencing a surge in cases requiring the IFC to act effectively and efficiently in an attempt to protect public health by enacting restrictions on its member organizations," the resolution stated.
The IFC governs 14 fraternities on the Appalachian campus, including Kappa Alpha, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Sigma Phi, Alpha Tau Omega, Kappa Sigma, Sigma Nu, Delta Chi, Phi Gamma Delta, Theta Chi, Delta Sigma Phi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Delta Tau Delta and Phi Sigma Kappa.
In addition, all fraternity events shall cease for two weeks, and gatherings of more than five unrelated individuals shall be condemned, excepting individuals who share an address with more than five persons.
"Any individuals or chapters found in violation of this order shall face the most severe punishment available to the IFC with violations being forwarded to the Division of Student Affairs for additional sanctions," the resolution stated. "Each chapter shall hold each other accountable in adhering to this order and work in cooperation with the Student Government Association, town of Boone and all other relevant local, state and federal governing bodies."
Hudson Cobb, vice president of programming for the IFC at Appalachian and director of Greek relation for the SGA, said the IFC and chapter presidents have observed the recent spike in cases in Watauga County and on the App State campus and decided to take action.
Cobb noted that the 14 chapter presidents were involved in the discussion about the order and voted unanimously to approve the resolution.
"I really do respect and appreciate the presidents for putting in the work on this and backing this up," Cobb said.
The decision comes as Appalachian State reports more than 180 active cases, most among students, and Watauga County reports 257 active cases as of Oct. 2. And on Oct. 1, Appalachian announced seven new clusters — 5 or more cases that are linked — adding to eight previously reported clusters on campus, seven of which were active as of Sept. 25. Three of the clusters have been in sororities and two have been identified in fraternities.
The decision was made in collaboration with the Student Government Association, according to Adam Zebzda, director of external affairs for the SGA.
"As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, incidences of large off-campus gatherings have decreased but remain an issue," Zebzda said. "While recent gatherings have not been officially affiliated with any specific fraternity, the IFC has taken steps to ensure the Greek organizations under its jurisdiction do not contribute to an overwhelming problem."
The IFC has reserved authority to extend or rescind the order depending on the COVID-19 public health situation at the time of review, the resolution stated.
Earlier this semester, following reports of a large off-campus party, Delta Chi was placed under university interim suspension and cease and desist by its national chapter for failure to follow the Joint Council Safety Statement in regards to off-campus gatherings.
The IFC does not have jurisdiction over Appalachian State fraternities and sororities governed by other councils, including the Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council and Panhellenic Council.