The University’s Greek leaders hope the recent social policy changes — a set of new regulations concerning party size, alcohol and admittance — will boost Rush numbers, improve party safety and increase the number of registered events in the future.
The vice presidents for social responsibility from the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association last night held a social policy meeting to educate fraternity and sorority leaders on the new policies and to clear up any misunderstandings. In the last few weeks, these policy changes have been met with mixed emotions and confusion in the Greek community because many members of the community have not been adequately or correctly informed of the changes, said Dustin Schmuldt, IFC vice president for social responsibility.
Under the new policy, any event taking place on chapter property where more than 25 women are in attendance and where alcohol is allowed must be registered with IFC. Depending on the size of the party that is registered, a certain number of sober monitors must be supplied by the fraternity, and one member of the Social Responsibility Committee must be present to work the door. Parties with fewer than 25 women are not considered parties under the policy and are not required to be registered with IFC. Unregistered parties do not face IFC’s restrictions.
The policy changes, effective since Jan. 1 for all fraternity and sorority chapters in IFC and Panhel, address problems that resulted from previous policies, Schmuldt said.
One problem with the old policy, Schmuldt said, was the restriction against cups, which interfered with certain drinking games. Previously, IFC banned party hosts at registered events from providing cups or serving liquor, which did not allow for partygoers to play various games such as beer pong, flip-cup or Beirut. Under the new “bring-your-own-alcohol” policy, cups and liquor are allowed at registered events because fraternities are no longer permitted to serve alcohol to guests. The policy allows each partygoer to bring one 12-pack of beer or one plastic pint of liquor, 80 proof or below.
“One problem was that there were many unregistered events occurring, which is very unsafe because there is no one to take responsibility.” Schmuldt said. “There was a lot of research involved of other Greek systems on other campuses that implement and enforce a BYOA policy, and we feel there will be a safer party atmosphere overall here at the University because of it.”
IFC Vice President for Public Relations Jonathan Krasnov said fraternities under the old rules often avoided registering parties because of the liability risk and because of the restrictions against liquor and cups. The changes to those restrictions, he said, will help encourage fraternities to register their parties.
“Now (houses) have nothing to lose by registering,” Krasnov said. “We anticipate the registration of any event that should be registered.”
Krasnov said because all sororities are dry, these policies only affect fraternity parties, although they affect all members of the Greek system. This is due to the policy shift to greater exclusivity, which mandates that all non-Greek attendees be on a guest list. The number of guests may not exceed four times the number of sober monitors.
“The fraternities represented in the IFC have lost approximately one thousand members since the system moved away from Greek exclusivity,” Krasnov said. “A main motivation behind (the policy change) was to entice more people to join and to increase Rush numbers.”
Krasnov said the old Rush system, under which large parties with free alcohol were the norm, had grown ineffective in attracting new members because anyone could come to parties, whether or not they were actually interested in Rushing. Under the new policy of exclusivity, he said, there is a greater incentive for individuals to get involved with Rush activities, and ultimately to join the fraternities, in order for them to attend parties and other events.
Brendan Dowdle, an LSA sophomore and Phi Kappa Psi social co-chair, said the way fraternities approach Rush under the new rules will be changing.
“A lot of our Rush tools were based on having those big parties and introducing ourselves to a lot of freshmen,” Dowdle said. “It’s gonna be a completely different ballgame now.”
Schmuldt gave additional reasons behind the changes, saying large parties were unmanageable and unsafe due to their size and there was too much liability involved.
“Because we are no longer going to supply (alcohol), we are not at fault and the responsibility falls on the partygoer,” Schmuldt said. “Of course, we will take action if houses do not register parties that should be registered, to make sure houses are held accountable.”
These actions include social probation, removal from Rush activities and the possibility of suspension.
“These new policies reduce the risk to us; we’re basically lucky that nothing has happened yet. Having parties all the time, it’s risky — when there’s a whole bunch of people, anything could happen,” Dowdle said. “Winter semester is usually quieter than the fall, so I guess it’ll be a good time to test this out. We’ll just play it by ear and see what happens.”