PHA and IFC ‘strongly disagree’ with proposed regulations

Update: Consortium spokesman Ted Hellman said in an email Saturday drug testing is “no longer being considered as a policy proposal.”
Potential new sorority members fill David R. Francis Quadrangle for "Bid Day." Thousands of students open their bid cards offered by each sorority, hoping to be invited to join the sorority of their choice.

When the Fraternity Alumni Consortium introduced new proposals for fraternity regulations, their objective was to make Greektown and fraternity houses safer for women. Yet key women leaders in the Greek community were not consulted, according to a critical letter sent to Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin by Panhellenic Association executives and chapter presidents. In fact, no students were involved in drafting the proposed regulations.

“... Fundamentally we believe that it is an invalid document because it was created without consulting current fraternity members or the women it claims to create safety for,” the letter to Loftin stated. “Moving forward, we believe that the Panhellenic Association and the Interfraternity Council, along with individual chapters, should continue to be the people working on combating sexual violence and working toward the safety of everyone in our community.”

PHA and the Interfraternity Council said in a statement released Friday they “appreciate the input” from the Fraternity Alumni Consortium but “strongly disagree” with some of the proposals.

You can read the full statement here:

“Both councils encourage the Fraternity Consortium and administration to consider the aggressive work that IFC and PHA are doing to combat sexual misconduct, and work together with the people who are closest to these issues,” the news release stated. “The leaders in these two councils are committed to Chancellor Loftin’s goal of eliminating sexual misconduct on our campus and will continue to be a leader in finding effective solutions that move us further towards that goal, while respecting the rights of all MU students.”

The consortium, a group of 25 to 30 alumni who represent the IFC chapters’ alumni boards, made four new policy proposals: prohibiting women students from visiting fraternity houses between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday; banning out-of-town formals; forbidding any non-beer alcohol in fraternity houses; and implementing mandatory drug testing for all members of Greek chapters.

Multiple correspondences between some sorority members were obtained by The Maneater. They indicate that some sorority members do not believe these regulations would pass in their current form.

PHA highlighted the need to include the women affected by the proposals in discussions about their own safety in an April 29 letter to Loftin.

“... We are concerned by the very premise of this proposal,” the PHA letter stated. “The goal is to address the safety of women students in fraternity houses, but the proposal was written by men who are not entrenched in daily campus, fraternity and sorority life.”

A summit will be held 10 a.m. June 20 to discuss the proposed regulations. According to the invitation sent to Greek Life leaders obtained by The Maneater, the summit will “create strategies for the implementation of the policies.”

MU spokesman Christian Basi said the purpose of the summit is to get Greek student leaders involved in the discussion.

“We've invited all of the Greek leaders to the summit and the chancellor, along with the Fraternity Alumni Consortium and the Office of Greek Life, are hoping to get the students’ input at that summit,” Basi said.

IFC Vice President of Public Relations Parker Briden said IFC has been working to revamp their alcohol policy and to educate its members on sexual assault with a peer educator program. He said that, though the proposed alcohol policy change is “in line” with their own proposals to the IFC Presidents Council, they believe the other consortium proposals are unrealistic.

“Those initiatives will be highlighted at the summit, and I'm confident that the campus and alumni will understand how committed Mizzou's fraternity community is to finding realistic solutions that help us reach our goal of eliminating sexual misconduct on our campus,” Briden said in an email. “The proposals to drug test Mizzou students because of an association, impose a gender-based ban on visitors in private homes and prevent students from leaving town take us further away from reasonable solutions and would set a dangerous precedent in how Mizzou treats its students.”

In their letter to Loftin, PHA members expressed their support for the formal and alcohol policy but said the guest policy could have a “dehumanizing” effect on sorority women.

“By restricting women from certain locations under the guise of ‘safety,’ this policy lends itself to the notion that women cannot make choices for themselves about their own safety,” the letter states. “Additionally, this policy might inadvertently give men within fraternity houses the right or feeling of entitlement to treat women who do not abide by this rule as the men wish. … However, if women would be unsafe … we implore fraternities to remove the members who are currently contributing to an unsafe environment and to recruit members who who will not make an environment unsafe in the future.”

PHA also criticized the idea of mandatory drug tests in the letter.

“To require our sororities to administer drug testing for all of our members is absurd and unwarranted,” the letter stated. “If a fraternity is concerned about drug use among their in-house members, they may administer drug testing on their own accord. However, to implement it via orders from the Office of Greek Life is overreaching.”

Basi said the proposals were developed after several meetings between Loftin and the consortium.

“The proposals are tailored to the Greek community, just as we tailor other policies to different communities — such as residential life or athletics — because each community has different situations or circumstances,” Basi said. “It's important that when you create policies you look at each different situation and you adjust those policies accordingly.”

Ted Hellman, spokesman for the consortium, said in an email that the proposals are “currently being evaluated” and will be reviewed at the summit. He said the proposals are not ready for implementation at this time.

The IFC-PHA joint press release also stated the organizations are “optimistic” the Chancellor’s Summit will “result in more thorough and adequate administrative policies pertaining to Greek Life.”

_Follow The Maneater for updates on this story. If you want to share your thoughts, email or fill out this survey about the proposed changes. The survey will close midnight June 7._

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