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Students, Collegiate Sorority Chapter File Federal Suit Against Top University of Maryland Administrators for Violating Their Constitutional Rights

INDIANAPOLIS — Today, individual sorority members and a women’s collegiate sorority chapter initiated legal action against University of Maryland administrators, demanding a declaratory judgment after the university denied students their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights “in a significant manner.” The lawsuit alleges that the administrators imposed a mass suspension of activities on a certain class of sororities and fraternities without providing any substantiated allegations and issued a No Contact Order on members of these organizations that was vague, overbroad and not narrowly tailored to serve a governmental purpose. It further contends that the students were compelled to undergo mandatory interrogation to have these rights reinstated, under the threat of possible disciplinary measures.

Read the complaint filed in United States District Court for the District of Maryland here.

In the federal suit, a coalition of six current students and the Gamma Mu Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta Women’s Fraternity assert that through the No Contact Order and suspension of activities, administrators at the University of Maryland interfered with students’ rights to free expression, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

“For two weeks, the University of Maryland trampled on the constitutional rights of all the women who are members of sororities,” said Micah Kamrass, partner at Manley Burke, attorney for the plaintiffs. “Without justification, they prohibited sorority women from speaking with their friends and forced them to participate in an interrogation. The university has since admitted that it did not suspect Kappa Alpha Theta of wrongdoing at the time it deprived the sorority’s members of these critical rights, and it has also since admitted that its fishing-expedition interrogation did not find any evidence of wrongdoing from members of Kappa Alpha Theta.”

The petition names the following administrators as defendants: James Bond, director of Student Conduct; Dr. James McShay, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and interim director of Fraternity and Sorority Life; Dr. Patricia Perillo, vice president for Student Affairs; Dr. Darryll Pines, president; and the University of Maryland.

The Gamma Mu chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta is one of 16 Panhellenic chapters at the University of Maryland.

“Our members shared with me their fears, sense of confusion and the exhausting stress caused by the University of Maryland’s administration’s actions,” said Jennifer Schmaltz, CEO of Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity. “I do not believe our chapter was alone in those feelings. The negative impact on our chapter and our members was completely unnecessary, as after 15 days, the university cleared every sorority of any wrongdoing.”

“We appreciate the courage of the women of Kappa Alpha Theta to take this action on behalf of the Panhellenic community at Maryland and across the country,” said Dani Weatherford, CEO of the National Panhellenic Conference. “Not only are they standing up for their community to an administration that already attempted to intimidate them, they are helping to tell others that actions like those taken by the university — based on no factual assertions — cannot be tolerated.”

“The University of Maryland’s flawed approach to pause Greek Life activities infringed on students’ rights and wellbeing,” said Weatherford. “This unconstitutional action undermines the principles of justice and fairness the university seeks to uphold. Our Panhellenic organizations have a long history of creating safe and empowering campus environments for sorority women, an environment that was jeopardized by the University of Maryland’s rash actions.”


About the National Panhellenic Conference
NPC is the trade association for 26 national and international sororities and is one of the largest organizations advocating for the sorority experience. Through its advocacy, NPC highlights the importance of women’s-only spaces and showcases the transformational power of the sorority experience. For more information, including a complete list of NPC sororities, visit or find NPC on Instagram and Facebook.