A 40-member task force has issued several recommendations intended to combat risky behavior at Mizzou’s fraternities and sororities, including excessive drinking and hazing. Spokesman Christian Basi tells Missourinet the group has released an 18-page report detailing a variety of ways that could transform the environment within the school’s Greek system. He says in the fall of 2017, there was an “immediate need” to do a full review of the university’s Student Affairs division.
“We knew that it was time to take a look and see where Mizzou was and what we were envisioning for the future and how to get there,” he says. “We were looking at what was happening on our campus. We were looking at what was happening nationally. We also were in a position where we were reviewing the entire division of Student Affairs.”
In December 2016, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported almost half of the fraternities on the Columbia campus were on probation, with most involving alcohol violations.
Rumors also surfaced that year about some members of Delta Upsilon fraternity drugging women and raping them. They led to no charges by the university, police or any individual. The fraternity remains closed after the national chapter suspended it for “repeated violations of fraternity policy”.
Mizzou does not have jurisdiction over the fraternities and sororities. The national chapters run them.
The review process included having two outside consultants examine the Greek system. The task force was later formed and reviewed the consultant reports. It was charged with customizing the recommendations to Mizzou’s campus.
“Throughout this entire process, the number one factor that everyone had at the top of their mind is safety,” Basi says. “We want to make sure that our students that come here that want to have the Greek experience have a safe experience but one that also contributes to their education while they are here at Mizzou.”
The task force is made up of students, faculty, staff, Greek members and alumni and national Greek governing boards.
One of the recommendations would limit social events with alcohol to Thursday through Sunday only. Parties could last up to four hours.
They would also be banned during the first week of classes, when the university is closed for business and during any governing council’s designated recruitment period, including Bid Day.
Greek parties are currently allowed any day of the week, except for during finals week. They must end by 1 a.m. and are restricted to a maximum of five hours.
The panel also wants to require that new Greek members be chosen within six weeks, instead of one or two semesters.
“It’s more risky for hazing violations to occur when you have a longer member stage,” Basi says. “This is based off of research as well as best practices across the country.”
Instead of forbidding all first-year students from living in Greek housing, the group has proposed a three-tier system by which only the highest-performing houses can accept first-year students in the fall semester. A second tier would allow first-year students in the spring semester if certain requirements are met. Those in both tiers would be required to meet “stringent” benchmarks for academic performance, member education and participation, adhering to university policy, and maintaining an alcohol and drug-free environment.
All other chapters would default into level one, which would not allow first-year students to live on site.
Other proposed measures include:
• Developing policies to encourage self-reporting of hazing incidents, including one that would prevent punishment for those who report such allegations.
• Allowing only active members to live in fraternity and sorority houses.
• Hiring a full-time staff member within the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life to focus on diversity and inclusion education and support culturally based organizations within the fraternity and sorority community.
• Developing a set of uniform social policies that are adopted by all four Greek councils, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, and the Office of Student Accountability and Support. The goal of this measure is to eliminate confusion and ensure that all fraternities and sororities are held to the same standards with policies endorsed by the university.
The task force recommends implementing the new system in fall 2019. Basi says some of the recommendations could be implemented next year and amended at any time if there are concerning trends.
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