In an informal meeting with the University
Board of Regents, Vice President of Student Affairs E. Royster
Harper reportedly gave birth to what may mean tighter regulations
on the Greek system at the University. The meeting and the
proposals, which members of the Greek system have complained were
crafted without student input, may in fact lead to some significant
changes to the Greek system. The four proposals include a no-hazing
policy, alcohol-free housing, live-in supervisors for fraternities
(sororities already have live-in supervisors) and most
controversial of all, pushing back Fall Rush until the winter
semester for freshmen.

Kate Green

The proposals have left those involved asking a number of
questions. Among them are: How will housing be affected, did Harper
seek and adequately consider student input and does the University
have the jurisdiction to enforce these proposals? These are
legitimate questions because the proposals will affect students and
could limit their freedoms on campus. According to Harper, because
Greek houses are owned by alumni associations, not the University,
the proposals are more like suggestions, not enforceable mandates.
Nonetheless, the University should not pressure the system to enact
strict regulations through such means as refusing to recognize
certain houses, as some members of the Greek system fear; The
decision to impose stricter regulations on housing and membership
should be left up to the Greek system.

Furthermore, members of the Greek system are correct in
asserting that Harper did not seek sufficient student input. Harper
drew up the proposals she presented to the regents by taking ideas
from a number of commissions and reports that have been drawn up
regarding undergraduate and Greek life over the past few years. If
leaders within the Greek system say their input was not sought,
then it is reasonable to assume students’ points of view were
not adequately considered on this issue. Members of the
Interfraternity Council, the wing of the Greek system most strongly
opposed to Harper’s plan (IFC President Casey Bourke said in
a meeting last night that he supports the idea of alcohol-free
housing but feels Harper’s 2005 deadline is too early), have
become frustrated, calling for a march on the Fleming
Administration Building if necessary and said that they see these
proposals as a possible infringement on their constitutional
rights. One member of the IFC’s executive board even
baselessly accused Harper of presenting this plan to the regents in
order to gain a promotion.

Some of Harper’s suggestions, however, are beneficial to
students. Many Greek houses on campus, including all of the
sororities, already adhere some of the proposals. Nonetheless, the
proposal to move back Rush is highly unpopular throughout the Greek
system. Many Greek leaders are hesitant to push back Rush for
freshmen because they depend on sophomores to fill their houses. If
Rush does not take place until January, freshman may sign leases
for other housing options because of Ann Arbor’s tight
housing market. But this potential problem for the Greek system can
be overcome relatively easily by simply requiring upper-classmen to
live in their chapters’ houses if they do not live in them
their sophomore year.

Moving freshman Rush to the winter term could also benefit the
Greek system by giving freshmen the opportunity to learn more about
the Greek system and feel more comfortable rushing in the winter
term. Deciding to rush can be a significant commitment that does
not allow freshmen to explore the variety of options open to them
when they arrive at the University.

While it is beyond the responsibility of the University to
suggest and promote specific housing proposals for the Greek
system, not all the policies should be disregarded. The Greek
system should thoroughly consider moving Rush back to the winter
semester.

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