The University of Nebraska-Lincoln chapter of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, commonly known as Fiji, is suing Chancellor Ronnie Green and Director of Student Conduct Andrea Barefield over its 5-year suspension.
Fiji claims the suspension violates the constitutional rights of free speech, free association, and due process.
The fraternity was suspended in 2017 for 3 years behavior including “reckless alcohol use, hazing and inappropriate sexually based behavior.”
It had just come off that suspension when the new suspension through 2026 was handed down after a series of student protests outside the frat house that had been sparked by a reported sexual assault there.
The fraternity’s lawsuit argues the initial suspension was in response to members displaying signs supporting President Donald Trump during a Women’s March in Lincoln in early 2017.
The complaint claims Green and Barefield made false and misleading public statements as they “engaged in a pattern of retaliatory conduct based on the Chapter and its members’ political viewpoints and political speech.”
The lawsuit alleges that the two administrators falsely claimed that violations of UNL alcohol policy were related to sexual assaults, subjecting the fraternity and its members “to unrelenting attention from the national media and unsubstantiated social media rumor.”
Participants in the 2017 march say what led to Fiji’s first suspension wasn’t the signs or support of Trump, it was the frat members shouting inappropriate comments at them while they walked by.
Last year’s 5-year suspension was imposed after a University Conduct Board determined that violations of the Student Code of Conduct had occurred.