By Marijke Friedman and Akshaj Gaur

Three University of Maryland fraternities are continuing their lawsuit against this university and several administrators, according to court documents filed Friday.

The updated lawsuit alleges that the university “infringed thousands of students’ civil rights” when it issued a cease and desist order on all Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association fraternity and sorority activities last month, according to a Friday Lafayette Company press release.

The plaintiffs are this university’s Theta Chi, Alpha Sigma Phi and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity chapters along with two anonymous students, who are members of the Alpha Sigma Phi and Theta Chi chapters, respectively.

The lawsuit names this university, university president Darryll Pines, student affairs vice president Patty Perillo, student conduct director James Bond and assistant vice president for engagement James McShay as defendants in the case, according to the court documents.

Friday’s lawsuit comes as an update to a March 13 petition filed to the U.S. District Court of Maryland by four chapters at this university. This university’s Theta Chi, Kappa Alpha Order, Alpha Sigma Phi and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity chapters, along with other anonymous students designated as “John Does,” originally petitioned for a temporary restraining order against the same four university administrators named in the updated lawsuit, The Diamondback reported in March.

The updated lawsuit alleges that this university and the four named administrators violated chapter members’ rights to free speech and association, the court documents said. The violations stemmed from “unlawful content-based restrictions” and caused “irreparable injury” to fraternity chapter members, according to the documents.

The fraternity chapters are seeking damages and a permanent injunction against this university, according to the documents.

[4 fraternity chapters petition for restraining order against UMD administrators]

The university placed the cease and desist order on all 37 IFC and PHA fraternities and sororities after receiving reports the organizations engaged in activities that harmed students’ “safety and well-being,” according to a letter by Bond sent to new IFC and PHA members on March 1.

The order was lifted two weeks later for 32 IFC and PHA fraternities and sororities, including Theta Chi, Alpha Sigma Phi and Alpha Tau Omega.

Kappa Alpha Order is one of five chapters that remains under investigation and is not listed as a plaintiff on the updated suit.

This university’s code of student pledges that students “have the right to be notified of the allegations and specific policies they are alleged to have violated,” according to the court documents. The lawsuit alleges that this university did not provide evidence that continued interactions between chapter members and new members posed a threat.

The cease and desist order also contained threats of disciplinary enforcement, the court documents allege.

In response to the original petition by IFC chapters, a university investigation alleged that IFC chapter members were allegedly beaten with paddles, burned with cigarettes and torches, made to lay on nails and made to consume items such as living fish, chewing tobacco and urine, according to court documents filed by this university in March.

This university hired a consulting firm to conduct interviews with fraternity and sorority members as part of its investigation into IFC and PHA organizations, according to a campuswide email from Perillo on March 15.

The press release Friday said the university investigation into IFC and PHA chapters included “intrusive and at times inappropriate lines of questioning.” The release also alleged that some students were forced to disclose their phone’s contents as part of the investigation.

“Never before have we seen such a widespread infringement of student civil liberties in higher education,” Wynn Smiley, a spokesperson for the national organization Fraternity Forward Coalition, said in the release. “Their investigation, grounded in rumor and innuendo, was never focused on any particular individuals or organizations, but instead… violated the law and the school’s published procedures.”

[Kappa Alpha Theta sorority chapter sues UMD over Greek life suspension]

IFC and PHA organizations were prohibited under the cease and desist from holding events with alcohol and contacting new members about fraternity and sorority-related matters.

This university’s Kappa Alpha Theta sorority is also suing the university for denying students’ rights to free speech, according to court documents filed Thursday. Kappa Alpha Theta’s lawsuit also alleges that some students’ cell phones were “improperly searched by investigators,” according to the sorority’s court filings. Students’ attorneys were also not allowed to accompany them to interviews, according to the documents.

In a statement to The Diamondback on Friday, this university deferred to the information on its fraternity and sorority life department’s website.

INCompliance, the consulting firm, conducted about 150 interviews as part of its investigation, according to the website. Students were permitted to bring advisors with them to their interviews and were not required to turn over evidence, including their phones, the website said.

“The decision to pause certain activities across all PHA and IFC organizations was based on the serious nature and frequency of the concerning reports and data we received, which did not always pinpoint specific fraternities or sororities, but rather highlighted broader issues concentrated within the PHA and IFC communities,” the website said.

The three IFC chapters involved in the lawsuit did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Micah Kamrass, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This story has been updated.