• Student Activities and Organizations
  • Insights
  • Higher Ed

Manage Unsanctioned Fraternities and Sororities

Melanie Bennett, Esq., ARM-E
July 2023
Why you need policies for unsanctioned fraternities and sororities on campus and how to establish them

Unsanctioned college fraternities and sororities pose serious safety and liability risks. United Educators (UE) has received many claims involving unaffiliated fraternities and sororities alleging such issues as hazing, assault, and rape.

Your college or university can be legally bound to manage unsanctioned fraternities and sororities, especially if your employees are aware of such organizations but do nothing to curtail or manage their activities. Often, these groups are known “bad actors” that have lost their recognition due to campus policy violations. Do this to best manage the risks of unsanctioned fraternities and sororities.

Establish a Policy

Policies on unsanctioned fraternities and sororities should:

  • State that unsanctioned fraternities and sororities exist.
  • List unsanctioned groups your institution is aware of, the date the list was created, and, where appropriate, the date your institution removed a group’s recognition.
  • List fraternities and sororities your institution recognizes and the date the list was created.
  • Warn of safety risks posed by unsanctioned groups, such as sexual assaults, alcohol violations, or hazing.
  • Discourage student participation. Clearly state that your institution doesn’t sanction the group’s activities or provide any support, oversight, or advisement.
  • Identify consequences of participating in these groups, including disciplinary action for activities on campus, legal action from the national chapter — if one exists — for violating the organization’s policies, and personal liability for the injuries or claims arising out of the organization’s activities.
  • Encourage students to report suspected unsanctioned fraternity and Sorority activities, such as recruiting, and provide contact information for the person or department to receive such reports.

Publicize the Policy

Take these steps to ensure people know about the policy:

  • Post it on your website.
  • Refer to it at relevant student training programs, such as first-year orientation.
  • Train Fraternity and Sorority Life staff on the policy.
  • Train campus safety officers and student affairs-related staff (such as student activities, risk management, residential) on the policy.
  • Include the policy, with lists of recognized and unrecognized chapters, in any handouts about campus fraternity and sorority opportunities.
  • Encourage Fraternity and Sorority Life staff and recognized fraternities and sororities to disseminate the policy during recruitment.

Alert Your Campus About Organizations’ Negative Actions

When unsanctioned fraternities and sororities attempt to recruit or harm members of your student population, notify your campus. Notifications should include:

  • Description of offensive actions
  • Potential safety and disciplinary harms posed by participating in unsanctioned fraternity and sorority activities
  • Link to campus policy on unsanctioned fraternities and sororities


More From UE
Fraternities, Sororities, and Risk: Lessons From Claims
Additional Resources
University at Buffalo: Fraternity and Sorority Life
Johnson & Wales University Providence Campus: Fraternity and Sorority Life
Marist College: Fraternity & Sorority Life at Marist

Added to My Favorites

This content was added to My Favorites.

1 of 3 documents are ready for download

The document "Long document name goes right here" is ready. Downloads expire after 14 days. Your remaining documents will be ready in a few minutes. Lorem ipsum dolor, sit amet consectetur adipisicing elit. Quod deserunt temporibus qui nostrum aliquid error cupiditate praesentium! In, voluptatibus minima?

Go to the Document Center