Sorority members will soon be joining their neon-T-shirted brothers as monitors at fraternity parties. The Interfraternity Council, the governing body of most campus fraternities, recently passed a bylaw amendment to mandate sober sorority members in addition to fraternity sober monitors at Greek parties. The IFC and the Panhellenic Council, the IFC’s sorority counterpart, believe participation will be mutually beneficial. The new regulation is only a minor adjustment, but it demonstrates the Greek leadership’s genuine desire to increase safety at parties. The Greek community should continue to implement changes that encourage students’ security. And the University should join in this culture of safety instead of ignoring the realities of underage drinking.

Last week, the IFC passed an amendment to its bylaws that will require each sorority attending a fraternity-sponsored social event to provide two sober liaisons. The regulation sought to extend the responsibility of monitoring parties to sororities on campus. The Greek community claims that the regulation is necessary to protect party-goers by increasing the number of sober individuals at a party and spreading the responsibility among more people. IFC and Panhellenic leaders believe the sororities will comply, since female guests may feel more comfortable asking a fellow female for help.

Though the title is different, sorority liaisons would essentially fill the same role as sober monitors. And their presence will make parties safer. More sober individuals at parties will increase the likelihood of identifying and dealing with the concerns that can arise when alcohol is involved. And many female party-goers may feel more comfortable asking a female for help than a male. A more diverse group of sober individuals will also be capable of handling a wider variety of problems that may arise.

The amendment illustrates a changing mentality in Greek communities nationwide. Sororities currently aren’t allowed to hold parties because of antiquated gender-role conceptions. Due to this provision, fraternities have had to bear the entire burden of throwing and supervising parties alone. The update to the IFC bylaws reflects modern gender roles and distributes responsibility more equally among members of the Greek community.

It also changes the traditional approach to the binge drinking that often takes place at campus parties, which has been to ignore, overlook or deny. This has often been the attitude of both the University administration and the IFC in the past. University President Mary Sue Coleman has stalled progress on combating the dangers of binge drinking by refusing to sign the Amethyst Initiative, which calls for discussion of the current drinking age and asks if it is the most effective way to encourage safe drinking practices. Coleman’s actions haven’t helped to deal with binge drinking on campus.

But the Greek system is stepping up. With the new regulation, the IFC and Panhellenic Council are acknowledging the sometimes dangerous elements of Greek parties and are trying to do something to combat it. While the presence of liaisons is only a small improvement, it indicates that the culture of turning a blind eye to the reality that students drink is ending.

Coleman and the University administration should follow the IFC’s lead on this issue. It’s important to recognize problems so that steps can be taken to resolve them. The new regulation is beneficial for the Greek community, and it should continue to increase its efforts to keep parties safe.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.