Some members of University of Kansas fraternities are crying foul about the decision to temporarily halt boozy parties and many other Greek social activities.
The Interfraternity Council wisely pressed pause on partying in an effort to take a hard look at what KU Chancellor Douglas A. Girod called “systemic problems related to student conduct” in the Greek system.
But some fraternity presidents are not pleased. They’ve moved to oust their brothers within the Interfraternity Council who made the decision to stop all social activities involving alcohol in the fraternities they oversee, the University Daily Kansan reported.
On Monday, the council had announced that enough was enough. Three fraternities — Delta Upsilon, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Phi Epsilon — had already been suspended by their national headquarters. The chapters are also under investigation by the university. The possible infractions include suspected hazing violations, adding to a list of concerns raised about numerous fraternities on the KU campus in recent years.
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Interfraternity council President Daniel Lee didn’t mince words: “It has become clear there are significant and systemic conduct problems in the IFC community that we must address, and we must address them now,” he said.
That honest self-assessment was met with efforts to recall Lee and others who made the decision. An interim IFC president was elected, along with other new executive leaders. Lee and the others will undergo a judicial review.
Sounds like a Greek coup.
The drastic but needed freeze on activities is likely to last through the end of the spring semester as new accountability standards are developed. Alumni are also affected. Chapters cannot host events for alumni or the parents of members and serve alcohol.
Already-planned pledge activities will be canceled unless they are supervised by a chapter adviser who is present or representative of the chapter’s headquarters.
Only chapter meetings, philanthropic and service events will be allowed. Yes, the very types of activities that fraternities often highlight, claiming that working together philanthropically promotes their brotherhood bonds of lifelong friendship.
This party timeout gives them the chance to prove it.
Frankly, the events that spurred this suspension and the subsequent response from some Greek leaders underscore the need for KU fraternities to take a hard look at their culture and consider a range of changes.
KU should revisit a recommendation from the University Senate Ad Hoc Committee to require freshmen to live on campus — not in fraternity houses.
That sound advice should have been heeded, but the university declined to follow through. The first year on campus ought to be a time for freshmen to get their bearings, to adjust to life away from their parents and to develop solid academic habits that will put them on a path to earning a degree.
In some fraternities, underage freshmen have easy access to alcohol. And some new pledges have allegedly been subjected to hazing that humiliates them under the pretense of bonding.
It’s clear that some fraternities have little interest in holding themselves accountable. They not only disagree with the suspension of alcohol-fueled activities, they are ready to fight it.
They have signaled to the university, to their more mature peers in the Interfraternity Council and to prospective members that they have little interest in living up to the standards their organizations claim to value.