All Cal Poly greek life organizations are on probation as they negotiate an agreement regarding restrictions on parties.
As negotiations continue over a proposed party registration policy for Cal Poly greek life, fraternities and sororities are now in a balancing act between rescheduling events and working to reach a compromise on the policy with administrators.
“Until an agreement is reached, all Interfraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic Council, and United Sorority and Fraternity Council (USFC) chapters are on social probation,” Coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Life Kathryn O’Hagan wrote in an email to IFC, Panhellenic, and USFC council presidents on Friday.
According to the email, an organization on social probation is not allowed to conduct any social activities within its own chapter, nor with any other student organization.
“The chapter may conduct any other activity that is not defined as social (i.e. brotherhood/ sisterhood, community service, philanthropy, meetings, alumni events, etc.) Alcohol will not be allowed at non-social events or activities,” O’Hagan’s email explained.
Four fraternity events were cancelled this past weekend because of the probation, IFC President and business administration junior Domenic Hjerpe said.
One event affected by the probation was a “formal party,” scheduled for Friday by Delta Sigma Phi, Chapter President and nutrition senior Gear McMillan said.
“We were going to have something on Friday, and now we cut it and we’ve already rescheduled it for next week, but if that doesn’t work out, we’ll just keep pushing it back, and then it might just end up getting X’d out all together,” McMillan said.
Panhellenic President and business administration junior Danielle Durante said she wasn’t aware of any sorority events that had been postponed or cancelled this weekend, because most sororities had events planned later in the month or in early February.
Biological sciences sophomore and Gamma Phi Beta member Molly Fraser said her sorority did not have to cancel or postpone any events yet, and that everyone has been “OK” with the probation so far.
“I think that at least in our sorority, we’ve found that we can do other things that don’t entail going to a fraternity party off campus,” she said. “It hasn’t really put a damper on the students at large, since greek life is so small.”
USFC also did not have to make any changes to events because of the probation, though President and agricultural business junior Edward Yanez said he would consider moving USFC’s exchanges, which they call “twisters,” to spring quarter.
“We want to give these organizations time to plan out these events, and if we stay on probation too long, we don’t want organizations to be having socials later on in the quarter when things are getting tougher in school,” Yanez said.
The probation came after IFC, Panhellenic and USFC presidents were unable to meet their deadline on a finalized draft of the party registration policy Friday afternoon. Both Durante and Hjerpe said the chapter presidents of their organizations still expressed concerns over the latest draft of the policy.
In a draft version of the policy obtained over the weekend by Mustang News, more details came to light about what’s being discussed between administrators and greek leaders. Among the restrictions would be a ban on hard alcohol and drinking games, as well as requirements that greek chapters register their parties and provide the names of every attendee one day in advance.
In order for the policy to pass, 75 percent of IFC presidents must approve the draft, though Hjerpe would prefer all presidents approve it. Durante said a majority of Panhellenic presidents must also approve it in order for it to pass.
As of Friday, Panhellenic unanimously agreed they needed more time to make revisions, as did a majority of IFC fraternities.
According to both Durante and Hjerpe, the most concerning part of the policy is the section that defines a “fraternity party.”
In the ninth section of the policy, a social event is defined, among other things, as “anything a reasonable observer would associate with the chapter.” According to Hjerpe, IFC presidents were not comfortable with the definition and wanted a clarification.
“That is a very broad term, and they did not feel comfortable passing the policy with how it is currently written,” he said.
Another concern from IFC includes the clause that requires fraternities to report guests’ birthdays at social events, McMillan said. Though he thinks it is reasonable to require identification from students 21 and older who want to receive wristbands for alcoholic beverages, asking for every guest’s birthdate seems “a little overreaching.”
“People don’t want to share their personal information, and it just seems very odd,” McMillan said.
McMillan said his biggest concern is being locked into an agreement where “there’s going to be no give.”
Because USFC presidents don’t meet the first week of the quarter, they had not yet voted on the policy as of Friday, but are planning to this week, Yanez said.
Though he hoped a decision would be made by the end of the week, Hjerpe could not give a firm estimate on when a compromise would be reached. He plans to meet with Dean of Students Jean DeCosta and O’Hagan tomorrow to further discuss the policy, he said.
McMillan said he thought Wednesday would be an ideal date to hear back from DeCosta about the revised draft.
“I feel like it was really reasonable,” McMillan said. “We didn’t radically change anything, just the wording, which in a legal document is everything.”