By Shifra Dayak and Marijke Friedman

The University of Maryland hired a consulting firm to interview fraternity and sorority members as part of its investigation into allegations of harmful activities in Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association organizations, according to a Friday email from the student affairs division addressed to IFC and PHA members.

Next week, this university and the consulting firm will interview current and new members from each IFC and PHA chapter, according to the email from James Bond, this university’s student conduct director, and James McShay, this university’s interim fraternity and sorority life director and assistant vice president.

Students selected for interviews will receive a direct email with instructions on Saturday, the email said.

The email did not specify how members will be chosen for interviews or how many will be interviewed. It also did not specify which consulting firm this university hired. This university did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Diamondback.

Bond and McShay encouraged all campus community members to submit information that could assist in the investigation through a confidential reporting mechanism linked in the email.

[UMD fraternity, sorority members speak out against cease and desist order]

The development came after this university placed a cease and desist on all IFC and PHA chapters on March 1, citing allegations of hazing-related behavior. Chapter members are currently prohibited from holding events with alcohol and communicating with new members about fraternity and sorority-related matters.

Since March 1, this university has met with chapter presidents, national organization leaders, families, alumni and others in its investigation, the email said. The next phase of the investigation involves hiring the consulting firm and conducting interviews, according to the email.

“Our decision to pause new member education, initiation, and alcohol-related activities was made after careful consideration of reports, observations and data-driven analysis of behaviors that we felt posed a threat to the safety and well-being of some members of our community,” Bond and McShay wrote in the email. “No single or specific incident led to this decision.”

This university placed the indefinite cease and desist one day after after leadership from IFC, PHA and other fraternity and sorority councils were called to an emergency meeting on Feb. 29 concerning reports of misconduct.

The university will provide another update on its investigation at the end of next week, Bond and McShay wrote.