University of Georgia moves to suspend social fraternity

August 20, 2020 Athens - Students and faculty members wait in line at COVID Surveillance Asymptomatic Testing center at Legion Field as the University of Georgia started classes for the fall semester on Thursday, August 20, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

The University of Georgia said late Monday it has taken action against an on-campus social fraternity for allegedly holding a gathering in which it violated social distancing and public health guidelines.

The unidentified student organization is currently prohibited from organizing or engaging in any activities pending the outcome of the conduct process. Two additional unidentified student organizations also have been referred to the conduct process for alleged violations. UGA did not respond late Monday to questions about the name of the organizations.

The university last week reported more than 1,400 positive COVID-19 cases in a recent five-day stretch, prompting pleas from administrators for students to follow social distancing rules. UGA has had among the highest number of reported positive cases of any U.S. college or university since the pandemic began in March, according to some published reports.

Many UGA faculty and students have blamed administrators for the high numbers, saying they have not conducted enough asymptomatic testing or contact tracing.

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There’s also been increasing scrutiny of Athens city officials for not doing enough to stop students from violating social distancing rules in bars and restaurants near the campus.

UGA Interfraternity Council President Brennan M. Cox wrote a letter Monday to Gov. Brian Kemp asking him to demand city officials be more vigilant in enforcing local and state ordinances created to slow the spread of COVID-19. A municipal court official told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week there had been one citation for violation of the ordinance requiring face masks. Athens police officials said the department has enforced the ordinances, particularly at its downtown bars and restaurants.