After controversy, UVA issues fraternity reforms

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After controversy, UVA issues fraternity reforms

photo courtesy of daviscountyutah.gov

photo courtesy of daviscountyutah.gov

photo courtesy of daviscountyutah.gov

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Drinking. Hazing. Rape. Rolling Stone published a 9,000-word article on Nov. 19 portraying these actions of a fraternity at UVA. The article featured a dangerous environment for women and the university’s acceptance of rape on Grounds. Days later, UVA shut down all Greek organizations.

The pause was intended to work on improving safety at Greek events. Meanwhile, the police did an investigation that led to them finding no evidence of rape at the Phi Kappa Psi house, and two weeks after the Rolling Stone article got published, several news outlets including The Washington Post found discrepancies and contradictions in the article.

“After the Rolling Stone article came out, alleging that a gang rape occurred at a UVA fraternity, the University was put under a microscope,” first-year Nick Porter and LB alumnus said. “People were calling for serious changes to the Greek system. Some even wanted to see it abolished altogether. I think there was a feeling that the administration needed to do something, anything in the face of this national pressure.”

As students prepared to resume classes for the second semester, UVA released new safety measures lifting activity suspensions from Greek social life. UVA’s Greek leadership councils established requirements such as having at least three sober brothers at each drink station, with at least one responsible for a key to every room in the house. Premixed drinks are prohibited, beer must be served unopened, wine must be poured out of a bottle by a sober brother, hard alcohol can only be served at large parties with a licensed bartender and security guards must stand at entrances with a guest list for parties with more nonmembers than members.

“Clubs and other social organizations at UVA function similarly to frats and sororities,” Porter said. “Many have houses, throw parties and offer the same opportunities for underage drinking that Greek organizations do. There is no discussion of tightening regulations on these organizations, only on fraternities and sororities.”

UVA gave greek organizations until Jan. 16 to sign the set of laws in order to proceed with any activities. The university stated that failure to do so would continue their suspension. While many, including the fraternity alleged of gang rape, Phi Kappa Psi, signed the agreement, two refused to sign it as of Wednesday night. Stating that the university is unfairly punishing fraternities and creating “a dangerous precedent of an erosion of student and organizational rights,” Alpha Tau Omega and Kappa Alpha plan to resume activities despite the regulations.

“Overall, I think the rules are inappropriately singling out the greek system, don’t address the larger problem of underage drinking and will often probably not be enforced because they are just too outlandish,” Porter said.

Despite the controversies, UVA president Teresa Sullivan approved these new set of rules in hopes of improving the safety and having better management over fraternity events, eliminating the levels of risk. The university will wait out until after the deadline to comment on fraternities who have failed to sign.

“[Although] some students think the rule is a bit too much, I think that we do understand that this can be effective in preventing potentially harmful incidents from occurring in the future,” first-year and LB alumna Sarah Tran said.

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