Greek organizations are now required to register off-campus parties, adopt new alcohol policies and provide hazing, alcohol and sexual assault awareness education to new members.
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Cal Poly students will notice quite a few changes in the greek system starting this fall, courtesy of several new policies resulting from a compromise to end deferred recruitment for Interfraternity Council (IFC) fraternities.
“As of now, we no longer have any deferred recruitment on any greek organizations,” Coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Life Diego Silva said.
Deferred recruitment was a policy set in place after the death of Carson Starkey in a 2008 hazing incident. Under deferred recruitment, students could not join an IFC fraternity in the fall of their freshman year.
“Originally, incoming freshmen were going through the recruitment process at the beginning of winter quarter,” IFC president and business administration junior Domenic Hjerpe said. “Now they’ll go through it week three of fall quarter.”
Starting in Fall 2012, former IFC President Jason Colombini began talking with administrators in order to make a change, whether that meant rolling back deferred rush or requiring Panhellenic sororities to enforce a similar policy in the interest of fairness and equality.
“We worked on the compromise that we came to,” Colombini said. “Eventually all three (fraternity and sorority) councils did approve the compromise and then it went to (Vice President of Student Affairs Keith Humphrey’s) office and then he took it to administration for their approval.”
Cal Poly announced in Spring 2013 that deferred rush would be eliminated, allowing freshmen to join IFC fraternities during their first quarter. This means a larger fall rush, Hjerpe said.
“There’s been big changes because we haven’t had this style of recruitment,” Hjerpe said. “It’s just different changes that people haven’t really been used to.”
Silva said, however, that the yearly number of students going through recruitment will receive only a slight boost.
“I think it’ll be a slight increase, but nothing too big,” Silva said.
However, the elimination of deferred rush makes for a few other changes in the greek system. In the interest of caution, the administration has placed several new restrictions on greek life.
“In the recruitment compromise, there were different expectations that have to be met,” Hjerpe said.
In agreeing to end deferred rush, greek organizations are required to register off-campus parties, adopt new alcohol-management policies, provide hazing, alcohol and sexual assault awareness education to new members and put together an organizational review committee. These are just some of the policies to be carried out immediately, but others are to be implemented in the future.
“There are a lot of things that were part of the compromise, and it’s kind of staggered,” Hjerpe said. “It goes all the way until Fall 2016.”
Silva said the idea of registering off-campus events is one that is meant to be implemented in the next few months, but no system has yet been finalized as to how that registration would work.
“We haven’t even thought about creating a concept for it yet because there’s a lot of questions regarding what that would look like,” Silva said. “I would say it will be more of an event notification system rather than an event registration.”
Silva also mentioned a three-year plan to implement a small fee for students involved in greek life, which would in turn pay for some aspects of greek life operations such as staff and guest speakers.
“Starting in 2014 there is a three-year program to implement a fee to any student involved in greek life,” Silva said. “It would accumulate to ultimately fund greek life operations.”
Another goal of the compromise is to ultimately reduce the size of each individual chapter by gradually bringing in more chapters.
“We do want to consistently bring on organizations so that a chapter size can be lower and be a more manageable group for our student leaders,” Silva said.
Hjerpe said the changes have not reached many obstacles, a result of the IFC and the Cal Poly administration working together.
“There haven’t been too many challenges, we’ve been working very closely with the school,” Hjerpe said.
Though some members of greek life may be disappointed about the new restrictions, Hjerpe said the reaction has overall been a positive one.
“I would say across the board the changes have been positive,” Hjerpe said. “Everyone is looking forward to freshmen going through recruitment in the fall.”
The end of deferred rush has also brought some immediate repercussions because of logistical issues. Before deferred rush can be implemented, some policies still needed to be passed which, as of Sept. 18, have not yet been finalized. Because of this, all IFC fraternities were technically on suspension and could not host social events.
Hjerpe expressed a positive outlook as to when the suspension will be lifted. He hoped the issue would be resolved before the beginning of school.
Silva said his main focus is on the ultimate goal of improving the greek system over time.
“It’s going to be a task to stay on top of our three-to-four-year-plan on this set of compromises,” Silva said.