Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Sunday, February 25, 2018

Fraternity activities on hold due to party violations

Fraternity activities on hold due to party violations

The Inter-Fraternity Council has postponed all fraternity activities except for chapter meetings until further notice.

This crackdown on IFC chapters came as a result of an incident involving Public Safety catching hundreds of freshman waiting behind the Washington College of Law for rides to an off campus Tau Kappa Epsilon party on Aug. 21, said Curtis Burrill, assistant director of fraternity and sorority life.

The postponement went into effect Aug. 22 for all social fraternities at AU and will remain in effect until the IFC meets three requirements, according to IFC president Jonah Coleman:

• create a IFC judicial board,

• collaborate with Public Safety to make rides to fraternities’ parties safer and

• each chapter submits a recruitment plan.

Each chapter also has to submit an alcohol-free and values-based recruitment plan and will not be allowed to hold fall rush until it is completed, according to Coleman.

Burrill said Tau Kappa Epsilon is not the only fraternity at fault.

“They’ve all done something that violates minimum standards,” he said.

Vice President of Campus Life Gail Hanson said the University has been trying to regulate Greek life, particularly during Welcome Week, for the past three years.

Welcome Week is supposed to be a time of introduction for first-year students, according to Hanson.

“They don’t know their way around D.C. and their first introduction to college, we don’t think, should be a party where the objective is to get drunk,” she said.

The problem is this behavior happens throughout the year and not just during Welcome Week, Burrill said.

“Our organizations aren’t here to provide parties,” he said.

IFC chapters need to realign themselves with the core values of their national organizations, such as leadership and brotherhood, Burrill said.

The IFC and the University administration said they hope to hold the IFC community more accountable for their actions through these requirements.

“In the past, every chapter was responsible for its own conduct,” Hanson said. “Now, they’re saying every chapter belongs to the IFC, and the IFC is going to take responsibility for all chapters.”

The judicial board will be a self-governing body consisting of one delegate from each fraternity. The board should be functional within the next week or two, according to Coleman.

The delegates will first have to serve a judicial capacity, such as the risk management chair, within their own fraternities to be eligible, Coleman said.

The new board will receive and deal with the complaints about fraternities that were previously reported to Burrill. The board will determine the validity of the complaints and decide on a sanction if necessary, Coleman said.

The second requirement is still in the works, but it involves a collaborative effort between IFC and The Department of Public Safety to make the process of fraternities giving rides to parties safer, according to Coleman.

One potential plan would require fraternities to register where they will be giving rides so that Public Safety officers can monitor the rides, ensuring that no more than the legal number of riders are put in a car and that every rider has a seatbelt, Coleman said.

While IFC is implementing the plan, the initial push for the new requirements came from the University, said Coleman.

“Their goal is to try and make us take action,” he said.

Nick Mandalakas, a member of AU’s Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, said the restrictions are unfair to Greek life.

“They haven’t gone after any of the other student activities clubs,” said Mandalakas, referring to other groups that he believes had parties for freshmen during Welcome Week.

Mandalakas said the restrictions will not solve the problems they are meant to address.

“How much can you stop freshmen from partying?” he said.

rzisser@theeagleonline.com


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