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Newsletter > May 2017 > "Penn State President Imposes New Rules for Greek Life"
Penn State President Imposes New Rules for Greek Life
Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, email@example.com
Following the tragic death of Tim Piazza, Penn State University President Eric Barron authored an open letter to the campus community on April 10, 2017. In this letter, President Barron announced a series of new rules and regulations for the Penn State Greek Community. The new rules are as follows:
- Formal recruitment of new fraternity and sorority members, also known as rush, will be deferred one semester so that only students who have completed 14 credit hours may participate. No new freshmen at Penn State will be able to rush next fall. In consultation with various constituents within the Penn State Greek-letter community and their national organizations, other requirements and the possibility of deferring rush until a student’s sophomore year will be considered for 2018-19. Further discussion about the size of new membership classes within these organizations will be part of an ongoing review.
- New social restrictions will include a strongly enforced prohibition against underage possession or consumption of alcohol in chapter houses and activities. Service of alcohol at social events must follow Pennsylvania law (e.g. limited to those 21 years of age or older), and must be distributed by RAMP trainedservers only, though third party, licensed RAMP certified servers are preferred. Only beer and wine may be served, and kegs will not be permitted.
- Attendance at social events will be limited to the legal capacity of the chapter house. No day-long events will be allowed, and no more than 10 socials with alcohol per semester will be permitted for each chapter, a reduction from the current limit of 45, which was established by Penn State’s Interfraternity Council.
- Failure by the Greek-letter organizations to effectively prevent underage consumption and excessive drinking in their facilities and activities may lead the University to adopt further restrictions, including the possibility of declaring that the system must be completely dry.
- These social restrictions will be enforced by a new monitoring protocol that will use both third parties and a combination of student leadership and University staff. When discovered, any violations of these expectations will result in appropriate and significant disciplinary action.
- There will be no tolerance for hazing in these organizations, as all hazing is a violation of Pennsylvania law. Hazing that involves alcohol or serious physical abuse will likely lead to loss of University recognition. Increased educational programming focused on preventing hazing will be mandatory for all chapter members.
Barron’s letter concludes with his view that if students continue to violate the university’s rules that “we will see many empty houses and then the end of Greek life at Penn State.”
While some of these newly announced regulations are already relatively standard on campuses across the country, others raised eyebrows. The switch to deferred recruitment, announced by this letter, seems to suggest the entire Greek system and all future are freshman are being punished for the bad acts (in this case horrific acts) of a few groups. The same can be said for Barron’s prediction of the end of Greek life at Penn State. Many feel that such a ban at a public university would be unconstitutional. Nonetheless, universities should strive to punish bad actors, and to otherwise allow the students and groups who follow the rules to continue to have all of the rights of other students and student groups.