Fraternity and sorority leaders voiced concerns over the University’s changing approach to alcohol-related incidents and Greek-sponsored events at a Tuesday meeting with administrators.
The meeting presented an opportunity for Greek leaders to provide feedback concerning three new policies impacting fraternities and sororities — one requiring all off-campus parties with over 50 attendees to register with the Yale College Dean’s Office registration policy, another prohibiting Greek organizations from holding fall rush for freshmen, and new tailgate regulations banning kegs and U-Hauls and preventing tailgating activities from continuing past kick-off — said John Meeske, associate dean for student organizations and physical resources, in an email to Greek leaders.
Additionally, the meeting also gave administrators an opportunity to introduce a proposed “rush form,” in which groups will be required to describe their spring semester rush plans. All three sorority presidents and six fraternity leaders were present, in addition to Meeske and Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry. Ben Singleton ’13, former president of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, said students primarily objected to the unprecedented liability concerns that new off-campus party regulations create for Greek leaders.
“While the policy requiring registration of off-campus parties was instituted to promote safety, several fraternity and sorority members feel that it has unfairly been used against them,” he said.
Singleton said Greek leaders fear the new policies promote an alcohol culture focused on disciplinary action, instead of one concerned with safety and individual responsibility. He said he can recall at least one incident at SAE when fraternity leaders were held accountable for a student’s excess intoxication and subsequent transport to Yale Health. He added that he was frustrated that the administration did not consider the safety precautions the fraternity already has been in place, such as a policy requiring all party attendees to present identification before entering.
The meeting’s attendees also discussed a recent change in the Connecticut State underage drinking law, which as of Oct. 1 increases punishment for property owners who knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence permit minors to consume alcohol on their property. Singleton said Greek leaders are working to implement practices that would safeguard them from such punishments, such as using licensed bartenders at their events.
John Stillman ’14, vice president of communications for the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, said Greek leaders and the University discussed finding a “mutually agreeable role for the fraternity to occupy on campus.” He added that administrators and Greek leaders “agreed to update each other on what they think will be the best course of action” regarding the implementation of the regulations. The group plans to hold another meeting before the semester’s end.
Alpha Epsilon Pi President Daniel Tay ’14 said he appreciated that the meeting provided a forum allowing Greek leaders to hear each other’s perspectives, adding that it was “a chance for [him] to learn the experiences of a lot of other fraternity leaders.”
Tay said he did not come away from the meeting having learned anything “momentous.”
“We still want to follow the rules, everybody is just looking to ensure the safety of all the students,” he said. “That was true even before new regulations.”
The Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and the Zeta Psi fraternity were unable to send representatives because the majority of their members had football practice.