KU Greek Life speaks out after chancellor points to organization as hot spot for COVID-19 cases

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod is pointing to the school’s Greek Life as a hot spot for COVID-19 cases.

Some members of sororities and fraternities are taking issue with the representation of the chancellor’s statement posted Wednesday.

So far KU has test results from just over 7,000 of their students and staff. The school reports so far it has revealed 89 positives cases. That is a 1.25% positive test rate.

That is low and that is good. What isn’t good, some students say, is how the school is now singling out Greek Life.

KU sophomore Alex Hammersmith said he’s the “COVID Tsar” at his fraternity. He said the name may not sound serious but the responsibilities are.

“It’s a lot of pressure going up and having to talk to people. You can’t have guest in the house and you have to have a mask on at all times traveling throughout the house,” Hammersmith said.

But he said Sigma Nu and the other fraternities and sororities were unfairly maligned by Girod who wrote:

“A large majority of the 87 overall student positives have come from our fraternity and sorority community,” Hammersmith said.

Katie Dixon and Ashtyn Vanlerbergh shared their thoughts in front of a sorority where their sister took pictures — mask on.

“But I know sororities are really trying hard to keep everything virtual especially during recruitment. It’s all on Zoom. It’s all virtual,” said Dixson, a KU junior.

“I just think when people think of partying I think that’s what their automatic stereotype is – just go to Greek Life,” said Vanlerbergh, a KU senior.

“We always have masks on. We’re having group testing on Sundays. We’re really trying to be responsible,” Dixon said.

Non-Greek students, however, have skepticism. Lily-Anna Rider said it’s not just of frats, just of people in large groups generally.

“My friend group has kind of decided that we want to take it super seriously and so for the time being we are stepping away from certain friendships knowing they aren’t taking it seriously,” Rider said.

According to a KU spokesperson, 61 of the 87 positive student tests came from member of sororities and fraternities.

The university is currently about halfway finished testing its students. If a student does not take the test, that person’s enrollment will be flagged.

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