PULLMAN – Citing safety concerns, WSU administrators are temporarily relocating 32 freshman residents from two fraternity houses to university residence halls. Staff members are assisting freshman residents in the Theta Chi and Delta Chi chapters with the move, planning to have everyone settled in a residence hall by Friday (Nov. 9).

According to Michael J. Tate, vice president for The Division of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity, the difficult decision to relocate the students was made in the interest of their safety.

“We understand that asking students to pack up and move to a different residence on such short notice is not ideal for all involved,” Tate said. “But our goal is to help provide these students with a living environment that supports rather than detracts from their educational experience.”

Safety within these fraternities has come into question after university administrators learned of several alleged assaults involving members from each chapter. One of the incidents resulted in a fraternity member receiving a broken jaw.

Freshman students have been identified for the relocation because WSU policy stipulates that freshman must live in housing approved by the university. Although the policy does not provide the same provisions for sophomores, juniors or seniors, staff members will work with any student, regardless of class standing, who wishes to relocate along with the freshmen. They will work with each of the students individually to make sure they don’t experience undue financial hardship and help make the transition for them go as smoothly as possible.

Tate said the length of time these freshmen will remain in the residence halls is contingent on the decisions made by WSU’s Student Conduct Board. Due to the time involved with the investigative and hearing process, it is likely they will live in the residence halls through the end of the semester. The last day of final examinations for fall semester is Dec. 14.

Chris Wuthrich, assistant director for the Office of Student Conduct, said the alleged assaults, property damage and failure to comply with WSU directions are all being investigated by the university. “Ultimately the Student Conduct Board will determine if the charges are accurate and what disciplinary actions, if any, will be taken,” said Wuthrich.

He anticipates the Student Conduct Board will be ready to have a hearing around Nov. 28.

According to a recent study produced by the American College Health Association, members of fraternities and sororities are at significantly greater risk compared to other students of being involved with assaults and becoming injured in fighting. The study gathered data from 424 college and universities including WSU. Tate said an increasing number of WSU Greek leaders want to see change and support administrative actions that will lead to a safer Greek community.