Following allegations by two female freshmen that they were raped at an unregistered Beta Theta Pi fraternity party last month, efforts by Greek houses to curb underage drinking and improve the overall quality of Greek life on campus have been greeted with greater urgency.
Still, members of the Greek community maintain that despite any recent improprieties, discussion of such changes have long been underway, specifically as a result of the recent Greek Summit.
The University”s chapter of Alpha Delta Phi is one of several fraternities to recently ban alcohol from common areas of the house and take steps to reform the way parties are conducted.
“Our house is planning to move to outside vendors and keep random people away from parties to keep more control over risk,” said Alpha Delta Phi President Amit Kapoor.
These efforts are part of a plan to improve living conditions in fraternity houses. As a result, fraternity alumni are pledging new support to their houses while they used to shy away because of the negative stigma houses have received over the years.
“A lot of (alumni) don”t come back because of the constant bad image on the Greek system. Now we are getting help from people we haven”t heard from for a while,” Kapoor said.
“If we really improve living conditions and make it so things are maintained, the parties we do have will have alumni support.”
“(Alumni) want to see that the undergraduates are going to respect the facilities,” said Interfraternity Council President Marc Hustvedt.
“In return, fraternity houses will see more alumni involvement,” he added.
Alpha Delta Phi”s renewed alumni support has brought offers of help in finding third-party vendors for hosting parties, including the use of a boat on Lake Michigan, Kapoor said.
In the last few years several fraternities have made the pledge to go dry nationwide, including Theta Chi and Delta Sigma Phi. Both are required to be alcohol-free by the year 2003.
Sorority houses, which have always been alcohol-free, have begun to seek third-party vendors as well after 13 of the 15 sororities on campus chose to ban co-sponsorship of parties that involve alcohol.
“National organizations have pushed sororities to hold events at third-party vendors where they have a liquor license and have the ability to make sure that only people over 21 are being served,” said Panhellenic Association President Stephanie Deal.
Hustvedt said IFC has already been working to find vendors along with the sororities, adding that the work will be no easy task.
“It”s going to take a lot of groundwork talking to bars and getting a commitment from them, but they are the pros at checking IDs and distributing alcohol,” Hustvedt said.
While these changes may seem related to the recent rape allegations at Beta, fraternities say they have grown out of the Greek Summit and have been under consideration for some time.
Kapoor said the changes they will be making are positive first steps “for our fraternity and the Greek system.”
“Hopefully, something could be avoided,” he said.