The Board of Trustees voted in favor of an amendment this weekend to the University’s Recognition Policy for Greek chapters that will ban alcohol, drugs or hazing from fraternity and sorority recruitment and new member education.
The amendment gives Greek letter organizations two years to fully implement the policy.
Asa Craig ’11, the student-elected member of the board, said that the measure was an important one to ensure safety and compliance with New York state law.
“This is something that needed to be done,” he said, adding that the responsibility now lies with Greek student leaders to make real and lasting changes in their recruitment strategies.
Though many students have opposed the decision, Nora Allen ’11, president of the Panhellenic Council, said it would afford opportunities for freshmen to interact with potential brothers and sisters in a more positive, healthy way, and that the council will strive to educate members about the harmful effects of hazing.
She said, however, that some students are concerned that younger students who are kept out of parties in Greek housing may drink elsewhere, in potentially more dangerous environments.
“A lot of students are concerned about the safety of freshmen when they are no longer allowed to drink in the seemingly safer environment of the fraternity houses,” Allen said. “I guess we’ll have to wait and see the effects of this next year.”
Allen Miller ’11, president of the Interfraternity Council, added that the decision will entail a major shift in focus toward recruitment strategies.
“We’ll focus on getting to know people in a safe and healthier environment,” he said, adding that total compliance with the new rules is feasible but will not happen immediately.
“It will certainly be a challenge, and as with any challenge it’s going to take a lot of time and thought and continued dialogue with the administration,” Miller said. “[But] it’s definitely do-able.”
Looking ahead to recruitment in the coming months and over the next two years, both Allen and Miller expressed hope that the Greek system will become more accessible and safer under the new policy.
“The practices in which we recruit members can often put the safety of the students at risk, and that is something no one wants to do intentionally,” Allen said.
She added, “I think that these changes involve a major shift in culture in the Greek system, and hopefully they will be able to make the system much safer and also attract students who may have been turned off by our practices in the past.”
Original Author: Eliza LaJoie