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Kappa Alpha Suspended; 53 Students in Quarantine

The administration has placed 53 students in quarantine due to potential exposure from parties at the former Kappa Alpha Fraternity house over the weekend of Aug. 22.

Okra growing in the garden of the former Kappa Alpha fraternity house where parties took place over the weekend of Aug. 22. Kappa Alpha Alumnus

University officials shared an email early Thursday, Aug. 27, informing community members of serious threats to Furman’s effort to keep students on campus for the fall term. According to VP of Student Life Connie Carson, the administration has placed 53 students in quarantine due to potential exposure from parties at the former Kappa Alpha Fraternity house over the weekend of Aug. 22.  

Administrators also announced the interim suspension of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity for hosting such events at an off-campus house. A Nov. 2019 email from the administration announced off-campus housing for Furman fraternities would be permanently suspended beginning in the Fall 2020 semester.

The announcement that 53 students are in temporary isolation comes only a day after the University released its new COVID-19 Dashboard, which indicated that 13 students were already in preemptive quarantine due to unrelated events. Tom Evelyn, VP for University Communications, said that most of the affected students “have indicated that they will quarantine off campus, if required to do so, which preserves beds on campus.”

Although The Paladin reached out to several Kappa Alphas for input, Kappa Alpha President Will Burton ultimately said he “cannot comment on any ongoing university investigation.”

A Kappa Alpha alumnus was more vocal. He questioned the efficacy of the Student Life rules concerning off-campus gatherings, saying, “there is virtually nothing stopping people from still congregating at the KA house.”  He elaborated, saying that the lack of affiliation between the Kappa Alpha Fraternity and the off-campus house implies that it is “entirely divorced from Furman jurisdiction.” Ultimately, he called into question what he considers to be the administration’s heavy-handed approach to Greek life, explaining “it wasn’t this way when KA was found acceptable in the eyes of student life.”

Several Furman students expressed their frustration with their peers’ actions. Junior Adare Taylor said that Kappa Alpha “clearly has little regard for Furman because they keep having parties” and are putting others at risk, not just of illness, but also of losing time at Furman.  

Senior Kylie Berube has spent the semester at home, primarily in order to ensure that she would not put others at risk.  Though she acknowledged the basic need for people to socialize, Berube argued that “this was not simply a gathering to maintain basic normalcy and social health, but rather a complete disregard for the students and people sacrificing their physical and mental health to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Sophomore Patrick Weir expressed disappointment from home, saying, “frankly, I’m disappointed in the people who do not abide by the school regulations.  As a sophomore, I’ve been itching to come back to campus after this long summer, and I don’t appreciate the students who are jeopardizing that opportunity for me.”

Updates will be posted as information becomes available.

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