Greek councils take action to keep chapters safe

By Jill Lowthian

As the tradition of Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day continues this Friday, the Greek community is hoping to lead the way in responsible behavior, according to a letter sent to the University’s Greek council and chapter presidents by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.

“We feel we need to communicate with our chapters and advisers about the event,” said Ashley Dye, assistant dean of students and director of fraternity and sorority affairs.

The letter also states that fraternities and sororities governed by any of the four campus Greek councils – Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, Black Greek Council and United Greek Council – are banned from holding social events Thursday and Friday, a rule that has been in effect for a few years.

“Even last year no fraternity or sorority was allowed to have any social events,” said Tariq Azam, junior in LAS and Interfraternity Council vice president of risk management, “But now we are refining the rule and hoping to run it better than last year.”

The presidents of each council recently met to discuss their plans to ensure safety on the day, said Jackie Wincek, junior in Business and president of Panhellenic Council, which oversees more than 20 campus sororities.

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    “Our discussion was just going over our individual plans that would best fit our council,” Wincek said. “(The councils) are all structured differently.”

    Members of the Interfraternity Council Executive Board will visit each fraternity house under their council twice Friday, Azam said.

    “We’re going to make sure there are sober contacts and that nothing is getting out of hand and everyone is safe in general,” he said.

    If a fraternity under their council is caught violating the ban on social events, a punishment will be determined by the Interfraternity Council Judicial Board.

    “The punishments are pretty severe, and I think people understand that,” Azam said.

    Panhellenic Council also has plans in place for the day.

    “We have an emergency contact for each chapter house, which is someone who will be sober the entire day in case something should come up,” Wincek said. Panhellenic also posted lists of emergency contact numbers in each chapter house, Wincek added.

    United Greek Council, which oversees 17 fraternities and sororities, has taken a different approach to preparing for the holiday.

    “We cannot do much to ensure safety because most (United Greek Council) members do not have houses or partake in Unofficial, as do other members of the campus community,” said Jose Ramos, senior in FAA and president of United Greek Council. “All we could do is tell them what might happen if they decide to disobey the rules and the policies of the council, school and cities.”

    A representative from the Black Greek Council was unable to be reached for comment, but Ramos said he suspects the Black Greek Council may have taken a similar approach to the day since they are structured like the United Greek Council.

    Ramos also wrote a letter to each chapter about what to do and what not to do on Unofficial, he said.

    With the preparations the councils have taken, Wincek said she does not expect any problems from the Greek community on Unofficial.

    “We’re not really expecting poor behavior because we’ve taken so many steps in preparation,” Wincek said. “I have a really bright outlook for the coming holiday.”