Three months after Interfraternity Council members reacted with
outrage to a set of Greek system reforms proposed by the
administration, relations and communication between the IFC and the
administration have improved through a series of meetings and
discussions, Greek Taskforce members said.
“It’s certainly improved over the last couple
weeks,” said Sigma Phi Epsilon President Nate Stormzand, a
member of the task force. “Both sides started out obviously
with next to zero communication.
“I think the Greek community was successful in making its
voice heard loud and clear that we … will not allow the
administration to make these kinds of changes without consulting
Task force members, initially berated Vice President for Student
Affairs E. Royster Harper and the administration for failing to
consult the Greek community on the proposed changes. But they said
communication between the two parties has since improved and will
continue to improve in coming months.
“Vice President Harper just invited (Greek Taskforce
member) Jacob Strumwasser and myself to sit on a student advisory
panel,” Stormzand said. “We will welcome the
administration to be a part of suggestions and helping us figure
out how we can make the changes that are necessary to improving the
The task force, which is comprised of a panel of fraternity and
sororities presidents, was formed last month in response to a set
of proposals by Harper. The proposed changes included moving rush
from fall to winter, mandating live-in advisors and implementing
substance-free housing in all fraternities and sororities. Harper
said these policies would help to curb hazing and allow students
time to become “grounded” at the University before
committing to a Greek organization.
Although task force members said they share the
administration’s goal of reducing hazing, the two parties
still disagree on the means to that end.
The IFC and the task force maintain that Harper’s
proposals would cause financial difficulty for many fraternities
and sororities, possibly forcing smaller organizations to give up
their houses and leaving larger houses without the funds they need
to host events.
“Deferred recruitment will severely damage the number
we’ll have in each of our organizations,” Stormzand
said. “Without having as many members, the costs of being in
our organization will go up.”
Task force members said winter rush would severely decrease the
number of freshmen signing contracts to live in fraternities and
sororities for their sophomore years. Because Ann Arbor’s
landlords force students to sign apartment and house leases before
the winter semester many freshmen would be unwilling to wait a
semester before deciding on their sophomore-year living
arrangements, they said.
“Many (Greek organizations) have fewer than 40 members.
There’s no way they’d be able to stay financially
Stormzand added that because their rush activities often involve
dressing in semi-formal attire, sorority recruits would have the
added difficulty of walking to their prospective houses through
snow during winter months.
Task force members said mandatory live-in advisors would further
increase the financial burden on fraternities and sororities,
eliminating rentable living space and adding the cost of salaries
“The Greek community is what grounded me at the
University,” task force member Russ Garber said.
Dean of Students Ed Willis said the administration has heard and
discussed the Greek system’s objections to the proposed
changes, but has not yet decided whether it would change its
“We’re still trying to find out what the impact
would be,” Willis said. “Some are saying that (the
changes) may hurt the recruitment effort. … We haven’t
fully come to a conclusion.
“We still believe (deferred rush) would be something that
would be desirable. … The intent here is not to do away with
the system, but to improve it.”
In addition to the financial impact of the proposed changes,
task force members objected to what they viewed as an intrusion on
the Greek system’s self-governance. Because the University
does not own the fraternity and sorority houses, the administration
does not exercise direct control over the Greek system.
“The ultimate goal is still to have the administration
allow us to maintain our autonomy,” Stormzand said.
Stormzand and other task force members also disputed
Harper’s argument that deferred rush would allow freshmen to
become grounded before deciding to join a Greek organization.