Mustang News Editorial Board
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The editorial board of Mustang News has taken a hard stance against some of greek life’s actions in the past. But when it comes to the ongoing discussions about a new party registration policy, administrators are forcing greeks to swallow policies that go beyond what’s reasonable.
While demanding greeks to register parties is a prudent move that will likely curb out-of-control activity, rules also on the negotiating table would ban shots, drinking games and attendees from serving hard alcohol at greek events. Also included is a four-hour time limit on greek events with alcohol, as well as a midnight cutoff for parties and an 11 p.m. end-time for serving alcohol.
Forgetting for a moment the logistical challenges that will come from implementing these policies, they are extreme on their own. As all fraternities and sororities sit on indefinite social probation until an agreement on this policy is reached, it provides both sides time to change the rules — and improve them.
Yes, greek life’s recent history has been immature and, at times, dangerous. But their actions haven’t earned the crackdown administrators are envisioning.
Take, for example, one of the policies proposed: All names of party guests must be submitted to the university 24 hours before an event, and all their birthdays must be submitted in a follow-up guest list. Apparently it’s not enough for Cal Poly administrators to know what parties are going on every weekend — they want to know exactly who’s going to be there and how old they are. There’s no reason for this invasive practice, especially for non-students and for individuals below the age of 21 who will not be drinking.
Then there are the rules on drinking games and hard alcohol. Some Cal Poly greeks have made irresponsible alcohol choices in the past, but does that really call for an outright ban on anything stronger than wine? If a student of legal drinking age wants to bring whiskey in a flask and sip it responsibly throughout the night, the university shouldn’t prohibit that. As for drinking games, they don’t always encourage “inappropriate drinking behaviors,” as the proposed policy says. Most college students have seen King’s Cup, Beer Pong and Flip Cup played in ways that — yes — get people intoxicated, but don’t fall into the category of “inappropriate.”
And when parties have to stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. and close up shop at midnight, it will logically encourage more unregulated partying after 12 a.m. — an early hour for college students. This policy isn’t comparable to local rules, where bars stop serving alcohol at 1:30 a.m. and close at 2 a.m.
Logistically, these policies will be nearly impossible to enforce. With the amount of security required — and the need for greeks to now pay for additional University Police Department officers if the dean of students deems it necessary — greek members will be tempted to have off-the-books gatherings, which will be difficult for the university to police. If sober members are responsible for enforcing the policies, it will be placing on a huge burden of enforcement on greek members who have a vested interest in seeing their party restrictions remain loose. Unless Cal Poly dispatches a find-and-report-frat-parties team every weekend, the university could end up in the dark on what’s happening off campus.
If these regulations were to be placed on another student group, it would be a clear overreach by administrators into the ability of students to throw responsible parties between them and their friends. And while greek life is a higher risk population, there are other measures that can be taken — such as strict party registration and ID enforcement — that would be effective and reasonable. This proposed policy is neither.
This represents the opinion of the Mustang News editorial board, which includes J.J. Jenkins, Carly Rickards, Sean McMinn and Olivia DeGennaro.