Fight for your right to party? Not required in sororities and minority frats
Spurred by the discredited Rolling Stone story about gang rape at a single University of Virginia fraternity, administrators and Greek life leaders have come up with strict new rules for most fraternities – and weaker ones for sororities and minority Greeks.
The changes come on the heels of a voluntary suspension of fraternity activities, and a larger blanket prohibition on social activities by President Teresa Sullivan.
Phi Kappa Psi, the venue for the discredited gang rape, was reinstated by the school this week, though the local police are still investigating the claims of “Jackie,” the student at the center of the Rolling Stone article, the New York Times reported.
A new addendum to the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) agreement heavily regulates frat functions, defined as events that run past 9 p.m. and have more than half the chapter’s members present.
The new rules make frat parties look more like nightclubs than campus soirees.
At least three brothers must be “sober and lucid,” meaning “without influence of any substance,” at each function. At least one each “must be present at each point of alcohol distribution and another at the stairs leading to residential rooms.”
Whoever is monitoring the stairs “must have immediate key access to each room in the fraternity house during the social function.”
Party monitors must “wear a designated identifier” that will be standardized across all frats, and at least three of the sober brothers must be “non-first year” members. All fraternity functions have to be registered by 11:59 P.M. “the preceding Tuesday.”
Say goodbye to kegs and punch bowls
The most sweeping change may be what drinks can be served at frat parties, and how they can be dispensed.
Kegs are out: Beer can only be served from the original, unopened can. Wine can be served “upon request, poured visibly at the bar” by one of the sober monitors, while punches and other “pre-mixed drinks” are banned entirely. So-called jungle juice has been blamed for binge drinking and sexual assault, The College Fix has reported.
To keep booze from acting too quickly, frats must provide bottled water at every beverage station and food at one of those stations.
Frats must hire licensed bartenders to serve hard liquor at Tier 1 events – those with more guests than brothers present – while people can bring their own hard liquor to a “central bar location, overseen by a sober brother,” at Tier 2 events, where the number of guests “approximately matches” the brothers.
In changes bent on “eliminating discomfort and chaos” at the door, Tier 1 parties now must have a security guard from a vendor approved by the IFC, using a guest list that “exclusively dictate[s]” who gets in. Tier 2 parties need to use a guest list to “manage entry.”
The changes are necessary because of issues with “high-risk drinking, sexual misconduct, and unhealthy power structures,” according to the addendum’s introduction.
University spokesman Anthony de Bruyn did not explain to The Fix what “unhealthy power structures” mean.
It’s unclear what other terms mean in the addendum, which is barely two pages. There’s no definition of “substance” or “influence,” or the exact distinction between the role of guest lists at Tier 1 and 2 parties.
Drastically lighter rules for women and minorities
Greeks who aren’t white males seem to have gotten a pass on strict new rules.
The new addendum for sororities, historically black frats, and Latin, Asian or “multicultural” Greeks, only vaguely requires the development of “risk management strategies and safe social practices.”
Sororities already have “sober sisters” at social events because of “national organization requirements,” Julia Pedrick, Inter-Sorority Council president, told President Sullivan in a Jan. 2 letter, but it’s unclear what their duties are.
Spokesman de Bruyn told The Fix by email that each frat and sorority “must abide by their respective addenda,” but did not explain why certain Greek organizations were placed under harsher rules, or direct The Fix toward someone who could.
Neither members of the IFC nor Sullivan’s office returned requests for comment.
Sexual-assault group based on dubious stats helped craft rules
In addition to current and former Greek leaders and members, “scores of individual alumni” and student groups including One in Four helped develop “these improvements to our system,” IFC President Tommy Reid said in a university press release.
One in Four is an anti-sexual assault advocacy group, which derives its name from the unsubstantiated claim that one in four college women has “survived rape or attempted rape.”
College Fix reporter Matt Lamb is a student at Loyola University-Chicago.
IMAGES: Phil Roeder/Flickr, Alex Mestas/Flickr, SakshiSharma/Flickr, Tracy Wong/Flickr