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4 frats at ECU have shut down this year. Group will now study Greek life.

A task force at East Carolina University will study Greek life at ECU following the closure of four fraternities this year.
A task force at East Carolina University will study Greek life at ECU following the closure of four fraternities this year. cseward@newsobserver.com

East Carolina University's leader has formed a task force to examine Greek life on campus, following the closure of several fraternities in the past year.

The 16-member group was announced Wednesday by ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton. The panel will examine the current climate for fraternities and sororities, look at national best practices and come up with recommendations to improve Greek life. A report is due by Dec. 14.

"Greek organizations on college campuses nationwide are dealing with issues such as hazing-related deaths, incidents of sexual assault and alcohol and drug related infractions. ECU is neither exempt nor immune from this," Staton said in a news release announcing the effort.

Acknowledging that the social and service groups are an important part of campus life, he said he hopes the group will look at "where we are and where we'd like to be."

At ECU this year, four fraternities have been shut down by their national organizations in consultation with ECU. Actions were taken to close chapters at Phi Kappa Tau, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Delta Chi. Most closures resulted from violations of alcohol and safety policies.

At Phi Kappa Tau, five fraternity members were charged with drug offenses in April after a raid by the Greenville Regional Drug Task Force. Officers seized 2,500 bars of the drug Xanax and two shotguns, and said marijuana was also being sold at the house.

The new task force includes ECU students and Greek leaders, alumni, trustees and Board of Visitors members, faculty and administrators who interact with the campus groups, including the chief of police and the director of Greek life. The group will be led by Bob Plybon, a Greensboro businessman, alumnus and trustee, and Kandie Smith of Greenville, a member of the city council there and past president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559, @janestancill

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