Greek life officials are urging fraternity and sorority members at Penn State University to refrain from speaking to media outlets after Kappa Delta Rho fraternity's suspension for posting nude photos of women — while sleeping or unconscious — on private Facebook pages.
Scott Nulty, the vice president for community outreach for the Interfraternity Council at Penn State, confirmed to BuzzFeed News that he sent an email to chapter presidents asking members to not speak with reporters about the situation.
"I sent the email for the sole purpose of preventing the unintentional spread of misinformation or rumors by our members," Nulty said in an email to BuzzFeed News. "The Interfraternity Council's policy to speak with one voice is standard procedure to ensure that rumors are not disseminated as truth."
The council is the local governing body for Penn State fraternities.
Melissa McCleery, a university sorority member, told BuzzFeed News that everyone in Alpha Delta Pi received an email from the chapter's president saying they should not speak publicly about the incident. Instead, the women were advised to direct all media inquiries to the Panhellenic Council, the governing body for Penn State sororities.
Other sorority members said their chapters received a similar message. A sorority member who asked not to be identified told Penn State's student newspaper, the Daily Collegian, that the message essentially told members "just walk away from the reporters if they approach you."
Still, Abby Renko, president of the Panhellenic Council, sent a statement Thursday to sororities saying that she never asked them to refrain from commenting, but instead encouraged "members to refer to their National policies when considering whether or not to make a statement about the issue."
The Panhellenic Council and its executive board have yet to comment publicly about the incident.
"Please understand that our silence this week should in no way be interpreted as complacence with this issue," Renko said in the statement distributed to sororities. "Our focus has been directed towards determining how we should move forward."
In an email to BuzzFeed News, Abby Renko, president of Penn State's Panellenic Council, reiterated that she did not ask sorority members to keep quiet about the incident.
"I agree that this is a pressing and relevant issue to our members and they have every right to express their thoughts and opinions about it," she said.
Renko said the issue of Interfraternity Council asking its members to not speak with reporters is a matter of "caution and tactfulness."
"We may choose to make a statement sometime in the near future, or we may elect to continue focusing on internal support and development," she said. "Regardless, we all stand united in that the acts committed by those members were disgusting and disrespectful to all women. That type of behavior is completely unacceptable and is far from the type of respect we expect and deserve from fraternity members."
Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Mary Ann Georgantopoulos at email@example.com.
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