Leaders of the Greek community hope the introduction of a new identification card that will be handed out to its members will help end fights and disagreements about who can and cannot be admitted to Greek social events.
The Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council, as well as the Multicultural Greek and National Pan Hellenic councils, will distribute about 4,200 Greek ID cards within the next week.
Former IFC President Joel Winston said the Greek System decided to invest in the cards as another means of increasing safety and security at Greek social events, which in the past have often been disrupted by non-University affiliates trying to gain entrance.
Winston said there have been several instances in the past in which partygoers – mostly from Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti – have started fights upon being denied entrance to fraternity parties. The Greek ID cards, he added, will help door monitors easily identify nonaffiliated guests, since they will not have cards and cannot say they are members of another University fraternity or sorority.
“In the past couple years, we’ve had a lot of problems at fraternity parties. We are just trying to find a way to monitor the events,” Winston said. “This is cut and dry. You either have the card or you don’t, there is no other way around it.”
He added that he did not believe the cards would affect University students seeking to attend Greek social events. Non-Greek students can be admitted at the chapter’s discretion, usually based on guest lists.
The cards “fill in a big void in safety for us,” he said. “But in no way, shape or form is it meant to close our community off to the rest of campus.”
Although exactly how each individual chapter will use the cards is still unknown, Winston said the cards must be presented with students’ M-cards in order to be validated since they are not photographic identification.
Each card contains a personalized barcode, the card carrier’s name, University ID number and fraternity or sorority name.
In addition to the $3,000 spent on the 4,200 initial cards, the Greek System also purchased a mobile barcode scanner and additional equipment needed to help produce future cards. In all, it was a $5,000 investment, Winston said.
He said the cards will be most likely needed for safety purposes at social functions held in fraternities and sororities and for administrative and billing purposes at functions held at third-party venues.
They may be used in conjunction with wristbands, which helped fraternities to monitor attendance at parties during the Fall Rush, Winston added.
The Greek System’s leadership is currently deciding how to best use the cards and whether to include the cards in the IFC’s social responsibilities policy.
“A concrete vision for the use of the Greek ID cards will be formulated over the next week or two, but several ideas have been discussed and will be considered in the business plan,” said Branden Muhl, the IFC’s current president. “Within the Greek community environment, the Greek ID cards could be used to track attendance at Greek sponsored events such as educational programming, Greek Week and other community events.”
Before the policy is formulated, the Greek ID cards will be used at each chapter’s discretion.
“Within the social environment, a chapter holding a closed event either at the house or a third-party vendor, where they can expect outsiders to have a desire to enter, can increase security by verifying membership at the entrance if they so choose,” Muhl said. “Also, if they so desire, a chapter hosting an event at a local vendor establishment can easily arrange to pay the costs on a per-member basis and track attendance at the door. … The possibilities are limited only by how the chapters and their members choose to apply the device.”
Despite the lack of an official policy, Winston said he believes the cards will be a long-term investment for Greek community members.
“If we thought they wouldn’t be effective, we never would have bought them to begin with,” he said.