Covid-19 cases halt gatherings on fraternity property, in-person recruitment

An Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity executive confirmed a positive case inside its house.
Alpha Epsilon Pi house.

Update, August 18 10:33 p.m.: The University of Missouri Interfraternity Council's official Instagram account messaged MU's fraternities with an internal memo regarding speaking to the media and Covid-19. That message was obtained by The Maneater and reads:

"What's good everybody? If you've been keeping up with Mizzou-local news you've seen a couple articles talking about the future of what IFC and PHA organizations plan on doing with future events due to the pandemic. Just want to make it clear that if any news orgs contact you guys, to please run it through me or the IFC board. There's just been incorrect statements being thrown to these reporters that are straight up [sic] false, and it's making us look like shit. We're all just trying to avoid bad PR in these sensitive times, it's annoying. This is something we had to inform the presidents. Thank you."

It's unclear who exactly sent the message from the IFC account.

After this update was published, the IFC deleted the Instagram group direct message in which the memo was sent.

The Maneater's report cited sources within fraternities, including Alpha Epsilon Pi, of which two chapter executives confirmed at least one positive Covid-19 case inside its house. The original report from earlier Tuesday can be found below.

Original story, August 18 7:00 p.m.: Following multiple confirmed or suspected Covid-19 cases in at least two fraternities on the campus of the University of Missouri, the Interfraternity Council has suspended all gatherings on chapter property and moved recruitment to a fully virtual format.

There has been at least one confirmed case inside the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity’s house, multiple chapter executives confirmed to The Maneater via phone. An executive said all members living inside the house have since tested negative or will be planning to receive a test, and the fraternity is working with contact tracers.

One fraternity executive said there have been other cases among fraternities, and named Phi Gamma Delta — commonly known as Fiji — as one.

Reached by the chapter’s official phone number, a Phi Gamma Delta spokesperson hung up on a reporter and issued the following statement via text message from that number:

“We don’t have a comment for the paper however any concerns you have can be taken up by the [IFC] board thank you and leave us alone.”

Executives from multiple fraternities speculated that there are likely Covid-19 cases throughout other chapters.

Following the discovery of positive cases, the IFC announced its suspension of gatherings in an email obtained by The Maneater. The new guidelines take effect at 12:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

On Monday, MU announced that campus gatherings cannot exceed 20 people but could still take place.

“After careful review, we have determined that this regulation isn’t appropriate for the Interfraternity Council Community,” the IFC wrote in its announcement suspending gatherings and shifting recruitment online. “While this is not the result we hoped for, after careful consideration, we determined that these steps are necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the community.”

The IFC also issued revised recommendations for visitors to fraternity properties:

“We recommend each chapter allow members living-in to be allowed one guest at a time on the premises. To ensure the safety of everyone, we recommend guest [sic] should only be allowed in the individuals [sic] rooms, not in common spaces of the house,” the announcement read.

Edited by Caitlin Danborn | cdanborn@themaneater.com

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