Fraternities and sororities would be banned at Tennessee’s state colleges and universities under a newly filed bill.
The legislation, HB 2042, would, however, allow professional fraternities that promote “the interests of a particular profession” and honor societies.
All other fraternities and sororities “shall not be recognized or otherwise permitted to associate with, or operate on the campus of, any state institution of higher education,” according to the measure.
The bill’s sponsor is Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis, a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University and the University of Memphis.
Talk of banning fraternities and sororities has heated up in recent years as universities throughout the country have dealt with a spate of high-profile hazing incidents.
Last year the University of Tennessee placed Sigma Phi Epsilon on social probation after reports of “extreme intoxication and injury requiring medical attention” at an event.
In late 2016, the headquarters of Sigma Chi suspended the fraternity’s UT-Knoxville chapter after revelations of new members being “physically, mentally and emotionally harassed/hazed.”
During the 2016-17 school year, the university imposed disciplinary sanctions against fraternities for six instances of hazing.
The issues haven’t been contained to the state’s flagship campus. Last year a University of Memphis fraternity was shut down and suspended for five years for “violating the student code of rights and responsibilities.”
As of publication, DeBerry’s legislation does not have a Senate sponsor. All bills must be sponsored by members of both legislative chambers to have a hope of passing.