The University of Virginia has announced strict new policies governing how fraternities on campus will operate going forward, showing a continued commitment to firmly respond to a rape account at the school that has now been thoroughly debunked.
The new policies were announced on Tuesday to accompany the end of a frat suspension that began last November. That suspension, which put a halt to all public fraternity activities, was announced in response to a story in Rolling Stone magazine recounting a horrific gang rape supposedly committed at the school in 2012. Since then, numerous factual inconsistencies have emerged indicating the gang rape likely did not happen, but the suspension stayed in place anyway and university officials reaffirmed their commitment to taking actions to improve safety.
A host of new regulations with stated goals such as “eliminating discomfort” and “addressing…unhealthy power structures” will seek to control how UVA fraternities hold parties and, in particular, how partygoers consume alcohol. All fraternity parties on campus will now require the presence of at least three “sober and lucid” house members, who will monitor the distribution of alcohol as well as any stairways leading to bedrooms.
Hard liquor is now prohibited at large gatherings unless a licensed bartender is hired, and beer kegs are banned in favor of only allowing beer in unopened cans. Pre-mixed drinks such as alcoholic punches are banned entirely.
Notably, all fraternity parties will be required to have a guest list, and large ones will additionally mandate the presence of an independent security officer who will ensure that only those on the list enter the party.
Sororities have put new policies in place as well, including creating a system in which sorority leaders take turns being “on call” to respond to dangerous situations.
The changes may not stop there, as UVA’s Inter-Fraternity Council president said the new rules constituted a “living document.”
While the new policies are expansive, fraternities at UVA may still feel they have dodged a bullet. Some colleges have chosen to abolish fraternities entirely, while others have sought to neuter them by forcing them all to become coeducational, an approach taken by Wesleyan University last fall.
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