The university ‘strongly urge[d] students’ to refrain from engaging with the disaffiliated groups’
Ten of the 14 fraternities at the University of Southern California have decided to form their own oversight body rather than comply with new regulations from the college.
The decision has drawn criticism from the university which posted a statement condemning the new University Park Interfraternity Council.
The fraternities’ disaffiliations is likely driven by “the desire to eliminate university oversight of their operations,” according to the statement.
“The members are chafing at procedures and protocols designed to prevent sexual assault and drug abuse and deal with issues of mental health and underage drinking,” the post stated. “They also object to not being able to rush freshmen in the fall – a practice that has been repeatedly shown to be unsafe for new students.”
“We strongly urge students not to join these unaffiliated organizations or attend their events,” according to the post.
“Of the 14 fraternities recognized by the institution’s Interfraternity Council, 10 have cut ties, including Kappa Alpha Order, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Alpha Mu, Sigma Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Zeta Beta Tau [pictured],” according to CBS Los Angeles.
University-affiliated fraternities are now required to increase stairwell and hallway security during parties, participate in sexual violence prevention classes, add mandatory pre-event planning and post-event reviews, and eliminate fall rush, according to a statement from USC’s Culture, Prevention and Accountability Working Group.
The College Fix emailed Gretchen Meier, a USC media relations representative to ask about the fraternities’ motivation for departing and the university’s official position. Meier referred The Fix to the Instagram post and did not comment further.
The Fix also reached out to Devin Walker, director of fraternity and sorority leadership at USC, to request an explanation for the fraternities’ departure and to ask whether the groups had provided them with a reason for disaffiliating. It has not received a response.
Representative of new university council denies that they are evading new policies
“I want to say unequivocally that no, we are not disaffiliating to dodge these social event policies that were put into place,” Harrison Murphy, a representative from the new council, told The Los Angeles Times.
“Murphy said members that separated from USC did so because they felt the university’s policies toward Greek organizations were unfair and flawed,” The Los Angeles Times reported. “For instance, he said, USC banned all social events from November 2021 through January 2022 even for fraternities that had done no wrong.”
“Most were not able to resume events until March due to lengthy new safety training requirements,” Murphy told the paper.
The Fix contacted the University Park Interfraternity Council via a website contact form on August 22 but has not received a response.
In its own official statement on Instagram, the University Park Interfraternity Council affirmed the fraternities’ commitment to student safety.
“We stress at the outset that we remain deeply committed to our overall responsibilities the the USC community and to ensuring the safety of our members and guests,” according to the post.
USC’s regulations regarding sexual assault, hazing, and other misbehaviors still apply to the new council, according to The Los Angeles Times.
“Fraternity leaders came up with the rules to post security guards at hallways leading to bedrooms, create ‘sober rooms’ to provide drunk partygoers with water and food, provide toxicity testing kits for those who suspect they had been drugged, and require alcohol to be served in closed containers,” Murphy told the paper. “Some chapters even hired emergency medical technicians for parties, he said, and all social events are staffed by third-party security guards and licensed professional bartenders.”
“The University Park Interfraternity Council is abiding by all of these rules and will not admit any fraternity facing misconduct allegations” Murphy told The Los Angeles Times.
IMAGE: USC Interfraternity Council/Facebook