Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.

My University of Maryland-themed game of Monopoly was heating up when I heard the announcement that many Greek life social activities had been shut down. I was shocked to learn that fraternity parties, a staple of many students’ Saturday nights, would not happen that weekend. Yet I was impressed to hear the university was willing to place a cease and desist order to protect students from whatever was happening.

The feeling quickly faded when the ban was lifted soon after, without any real answers. This university undercut its power by flip-flopping between shutting down Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association fraternities and sororities and opening them up again.

Taking such drastic measures without giving any real explanation is dangerous. We as students aren’t stupid. It isn’t hard to guess why fraternities and sororities would be suddenly shut down. But without any confirmation, rumors of gruesome hazing practices and abuse circulated quickly. Whether the rumors were true doesn’t matter. They shouldn’t have had the opportunity to spread at all.

But the situation is not hopeless. We can recover and truly improve Greek life on campus.

To do so, the university needs to start a public database of every instance of violence, hazing, sexual assault and other crimes confirmed to have occurred among the fraternities and sororities on campus, as well as how it was handled and the outcome of the incident. This would allow for students to participate in Greek Life safely and stifle the rumors that spread so quickly around campus.

A database like this would be invaluable for students who want to pledge. Knowing if they are entering a fraternity or sorority with a history of hazing, violence or misconduct would allow students to better protect themselves. Entering the Greek life culture comes with much higher risks of sexual assault than those unaffiliated, and knowing which organizations are safe to pledge to would give students peace of mind.

The university would also benefit in regards to dealing with Greek life incidents. Having one place where they can see how the situations were handled and their outcomes would improve efficiency and determine effective punishments in the future. It would also help this university avoid a breakdown in communication — like the one stemming from the recent shutdowns — from happening again.

As of now, the only way we are able to gain information on what is going on is through university sanctioned announcements or searching for court filings. A document detailing the alleged hazing was recently made public, but only because several fraternities sued this university after it placed the cease and desist order. If the suit didn’t unfold, it is possible that these documents would not have been made public in a timely manner. This illustrates the importance of having a database that is both widely-accessible and frequently updated.

It can be argued that the database could contribute to even more rumors, but as long as the information published has been confirmed and properly fact-checked, this won’t be a problem. Fraternity and sorority reputations pose another issue, and making a public record of transgressions could damage that.

But frankly, if there is dangerous behavior going on then their public reputation should be the least of their concerns. Specific student names don’t need to be published, but knowing the date, relevant details of the transgression and organization involved would give us all the information we need.

And let’s be real — these incidents are not just going to disappear. Seventy-three percent of people in Greek Life reportedly experienced hazing in a 2008 study, and at least 50 college students have died from hazing-related activities since 2000. The way we deal with these situations is vital to ensure student safety. In this case, it seems like this university has dropped the ball.

Safety needs to be the No. 1 priority for those looking to pledge, and the university has a responsibility to ensure it. Students are tired of being in the dark, especially when many of us spend our Saturday nights in the places where these transgressions are occurring. It’s time we know what’s going on behind closed doors in Frat Row.

Isabella Cusack is a sophomore English and Public Policy major. She can be reached at