Despite disapproval, Greek housing not required to get University certification


Elisabeth Neely

Omega Delta is an example of a fraternity chapter house not certified by the University. The house is located on Lincoln Ave in Urbana.

By Karen Liu, Staff Writer

Though most Greek houses on campus function as private certified housing, many fraternities and sororities do not have a University-certified chapter house of their own.

Exactly 38 fraternities and 19 sororities out of 91 University Greek organizations have a registered chapter house in 2016, which means 34 fraternities and sororities do not.

Mari Anne Brocker Curry, the associate director of housing, said that the University encourages the Greek houses to become certified because it is seen as a seal of approval. All private certified housings on campus need to meet certain standards. 

“If the organization owns the property, then if they are not certified, it is likely because that they have not met the certified housing standards that are provided by our office,” Curry said.

Omega Delta is an example of a fraternity chapter house not certified by the University. The address listed for the fraternity is the Turner Student Service Building, which is the location of the Fraternity and Sorority Affairs office.

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The reason why the house isn’t registered with the Fraternity and Sorority Affairs office is because it’s not eligible for certified housing,” said Will Cheng, president of Omega Delta.

Cheng said despite the house not being private certified housing, it is still central to many of the chapter’s events and many members still live in the house.

Like many other fraternities on campus, Omega Delta rents their house from a landlord, who is in charge of resolving the maintenance of the house.

“Since we’re the tenant of the house, we’re responsible for any issue that happens in the house,” Cheng said. “If something extremely major happens in the house, the school will be notified too.”

Curry said that the University does not encourage uncertified Greek houses to put their letters on the outside of the house. However, if the house chooses to do so, the University does not have any rules against it.

“What we can do is talk to the national organization, and say ‘you understand that they’re portraying this as a house that you own or a house that you’re responsible for,’” Curry said. “And sometimes the national organization would step in and say ‘you can’t label the house like this because this isn’t a house that we own.’ But there isn’t anything the University can do.”

Omega Delta chooses to only display their letters at certain times. Most of the time they put the letters away.

“Just in case something would have happened, our fraternity wouldn’t be the first organization to blame,” Cheng said.

Unlike Omega Delta, some Greek organizations just recently purchased a chapter house on campus. Alpha Psi Lambda is one of them.

The chapter president of Alpha Psi Lambda, Dulce Frausto, said that it is against their national rules to own a house due to insurance issues. If one chapter decides to buy a house, it will raise the dues for all.

Frausto said that the fraternity only has around 30 members, and the small size of the chapter may be because it’s harder to initiate new members without a chapter house.

“It’s doable, it’s just much harder,” Frausto said.

The University has listed the fraternities and sororities with private certified houses on the housing website as a reference for students and parents.

“If I’m a mom and I’m taking my son to school, I can look and see if it’s a house that has a minimum standard, or it’s just up to whoever owns the property to keep it in good repair,” Curry said.

A house can be revoked of certification if it fails to keep up with the private certified housing standards.

“A long time ago, it was unheard of for anyone to ever lose their certification. It just didn’t happen, and there are a couple of chapters that needed to be held accountable, so we didn’t let our standards fall,” Curry said.

Certifying Greek houses ensures that the residents are living in a safe environment that’s beneficial to their success at the University. The house isn’t just a place where they live, but a place at which they can feel supported, Curry said.

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