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Fraternities, Sororities, and Risk: Lessons From Claims

Melanie Bennett, Esq., ARM-E
June 2021

Why Read This

Fraternities and sororities provide students with strong social ties and philanthropic opportunities. Despite these advantages, a number of colleges and universities are re-evaluating their relationships with Greek organizations, particularly fraternities. In spring 2015, 133 Greek chapters were shut down, suspended, or otherwise punished after alleged offenses.

For institutions seeking to retain the tradition of Greek life, a sound risk management program is essential to protect students from harm and safeguard the institution, its officers, and its assets.

A study of 162 United Educators (UE) Greek claims received from 2010-14 highlights risks presented (the claims resulted in many serious injuries and generated more than $9 million in losses) and steps institutions can take to reduce injuries arising from fraternity and sorority activities.

Key Takeaways

  • Sexual assault claims occurred most frequently but vehicular accident claims were the most severe.
  • Claims arising from fraternity activities comprised 90% of claims and accounted for 83% of losses; the average claim arising from sorority activities cost about $40,000 while the average fraternity claim cost nearly $372,000.
  • Institutions have a duty to respond to risks they should reasonably know about; Greek organization actions can lead to liability for the educational institution.

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