Clemson University seeks to change Greek life culture from within by imposing harsh restrictions that exceed that of national criteria.
Following a series of fraternity related accidents, the university’s vice president of students affairs Almeda Jacks established a task force to review Greek life policies. The task force recommended new rules that would ban chapter houses from purchasing alcohol for social events. Alcohol would still be allowed at parties, but fraternities and sororities must follow a new bring-your-own-beer policy.
After listening to the task force, the college’s Board of Trustees for student affairs approved these recommendations among others and also forbid the playing of drinking games at all social events.
Fraternities now have a limited allowance of non-member guests. Likewise all houses must supply extra security at their parties. In addition to these guidelines they will be required to keep a guest list for each social function.
Besides reactive policies regarding alcohol consumption, the school will take a proactive approach to avoid catastrophes in other areas. Faculty advisers will have increased supervision of chapters. The school instituted obligatory member education sessions regarding a variety of student related subjects. These include the dangers of hazing, sexual misconduct, drugs, as well academics, diversity and general standards of conduct for Clemson students.
Clemson’s new decrees are not warrantless. While most fraternities have national policies and guidelines regarding risk management to avoid damages, the task force reported that Clemson fraternities are not following these policies.
“Fraternities are failing to adhere to their own risk management policies and University regulations because there is not a consistent culture of accountability among all organizations,” the special committee found.
The death of sophomore student Tucker Hipps caused Clemson to temporarily suspend all Greek life on campus last fall. Hipps passed away while on a pledge activity with his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon. This death is still being investigated. His family is currently suing the school for $50 million in damages.
Chapters that violate policies will be subject to immediate punishments, most likely harsh ones such as probation or suspension. These actions provide “a little more teeth into our sanctions,” according to Jacks.
Jacks sent an email to all Greek chapter houses Wednesday notifying them of the changes. They will also attend a mandatory summit on Sept. 26 to receive training and clarification of the new policies.