The Interfraternity Council at the University of Michigan will begin to restore social event privileges to fraternities this semester, according to a statement released on the organization’s website Wednesday morning. The announcement comes after a two-month self-imposed ban. Recruitment this semester for the IFC fraternities will continue as scheduled.
“IFC will begin a phased process of restoring social event privileges on January 3, 2018,” the statement read. “This process will not constitute an immediate lift of the social suspension for all IFC chapters. The phased process will involve chapters being notified of specific action plans they will need to complete.”
As early as Tuesday evening, The Daily obtained copies of invitations to IFC chapter mixers sent to Panhellenic sorority members who requested to remain anonymous.
At the IFC’s meeting on Nov. 9, presidents of several University fraternities voted to suspend all social activities and pledge terms following allegations of sexual assault and hazing during the previous months. Following an “extensive review” in conjunction with the University’s Office of Greek Life, 27 fraternities will receive specific action plans in order to fully abide by the IFC’s expectations for social events.
“IFC leadership voted to impose these restrictions and it will be an IFC decision when and how to lift those restrictions,” University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald wrote in an email statement Tuesday.
Once a chapter completes its individual action plan determined by the IFC executive board, social privileges will be restored. The statement provided no specific timetable as to the action plans.
“These action plans were designed to guide chapters to effectively address their specific needs,” the statement read. “Chapters must fulfill all parts of their assigned action plan to regain social event privileges.”
In the statement, IFC wrote it actively engaged in a reforming process during the ban and emphasizes these modifications will continue to be enacted as various chapters work to improve their policies and practices.
“The self-imposed suspension on social and new member activities allowed IFC…working in conjunction with the university’s Office of Greek Life, to identify necessary areas of improvement and develop reforms to address them on a chapter by chapter basis,” the statement read.
“These reforms will be enacted as IFC continues to pursue internal improvement.”
Other reform efforts included in the statement are the removal of hard alcohol from IFC-sponsored events, mandatory recruitment plans for the winter semester and limiting socials to specific days of the week.
During the November meeting, the IFC executive council outlined the incidents that led to their decision to implement the ban. These allegations included hazing that placed three fraternity members in near-death situations, more than 30 students taken to the hospital during the weekend of the football game against Michigan State, accusations of members of undisclosed fraternity chapters being drugged and an unauthorized event involving the consumption of mass quantities of alcohol.
In an earlier interview with The Daily, E. Royster Harper, the University’s Vice President for Student Life, said that the University administration must proceed cautiously with the regulation of student organizations — yet she hoped the IFC would govern the behavior that led to such restrictions in the first place.
“I think we’re trying to understand the self-imposed regulation, trying to be supportive of the self-imposed regulation,” Harper said. “(We’re) concerned about the behavior that would have led to the self-imposed regulations, and certainly would be observing, watching, noticing and trying to keep students safe given what made them decide to self-impose.”
The IFC’s ban went into effect amid a national burst of Greek life suspensions. Following high-profile deaths related to alcohol consumption, Penn State University and Florida State University suspended all fraternity chapter activity. In the Big Ten, Ohio State University and Indiana University’s Interfraternity Councils voted to suspend social activity themselves.
The statement concludes with a pledge by the IFC to work toward creating a more inclusive space for all University members.
“IFC believes that doing so will ensure that solutions endure as positive and long-standing reforms,” the statement read. “These steps also will allow IFC chapters to foster more safe and inclusive environments for all University of Michigan community members.”