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UVa reinstates Greek social functions, enacts stricter rules

UVa reinstates Greek social functions, enacts stricter rules

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The University of Virginia announced Tuesday that the school will allow fraternities and sororities to immediately resume social activities, although they’ll be required to follow tighter rules.

Those rules include a requirement for “sober brother” monitors — fraternity members who aren’t drinking — at events. Administrators declined to detail how the new rules will be enforced.

UVa President Teresa A. Sullivan announced the reinstatement, “effective immediately,” in a news release Tuesday afternoon. She suspended fraternity and sorority social activities several days after the Nov. 19 release of a Rolling Stone story — now largely discredited — detailing a claim of gang rape at a 2012 Phi Kappa Psi party. Sullivan said at the time that the suspension would remain in effect until Friday.

The new rules will govern social functions for more than 50 Greek organizations, including 3,500 members and their guests. The spring semester, traditionally recruiting season for UVa fraternities, begins Monday.

“I believe the new safety measures recommended by the student leaders in the Greek community will help provide a safer environment for their members and guests,” Sullivan said in her statement.

The rules govern fraternity parties, defined as a function hosted, organized or sponsored by a chapter and occurring after 9 p.m. with more than half of chapter members present.

Chapters will be allowed to serve beer only in unopened containers. Pre-mixed drinks will be prohibited. Liquor will be served by a sober fraternity member or bartender licensed by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, depending on the type of event.

Each event requires a minimum of three “sober brother monitors.” At least one sober brother will be posted at each place where alcohol is being served, with one watching the stairs leading to residential rooms. The sober brother watching the stairs will have immediate key access to each room, according to the university’s new Fraternal Organization Agreement.

The changes divide fraternity functions into two categories:

At Tier I events, the number of guests exceeds the number of fraternity members. Fraternities must hire an outside vendor to provide bartending services.

Tier II events are invitation-only with the number of guests equaling the number of members. At these events, sober brothers may serve hard liquor from behind a bar.

All fraternity functions must have security personnel — provided by a vendor approved by UVa’s Inter-Fraternity Council — monitoring the front door.

The changes also include a number of requirements for sororities. Members of chapter leadership will sign up to be “women on call” during high-risk times. These women will be points of contact for sorority members who find themselves in an “unsafe situation.”

All Greek organizations will have to undergo new alcohol and bystander education training.

The Inter-Fraternity Council stressed that the measures are only the beginning but represent “the next step in the IFC’s commitment to guaranteeing a baseline of safety for fraternity members and our guests.”

J. Marshall Pattie, associate dean of students at UVa, said the ideas were generated by student leadership.

“We wanted students to lead the process,” he said.

Pattie did not detail how the university would monitor and enforce the new rules. He said the administration would investigate when advised of potential violations.

In many situations, he said, it might not be possible for administrators to check on parties in person.

“All of these are private residences,” he said. “These are not university facilities … that we would be able to enter into without permission.”

He added that the administration would work closely with Greek leadership to ensure members are following the rules. Penalties for violations will be meted out on a case-by-case basis, Pattie said.

Neither Tommy Reid, president of the Inter-Fraternity Council, nor Julia Pedrick, president of the Inter-Sorority Council, responded to requests for comment.

Derek Quizon is the higher education reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact him at (434) 978-7265, or @DPHigherEd on Twitter.

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