Greek life advisory board explains future reforms at open forum

The Fraternity and Sorority Advisory Board addressed comments about upcoming changes to MU’s Greek life housing and recruitment system.
Fraternity Zeta Beta Tau and Sorority Delta Gamma in MU Greektown.

Members of MU’s Greek life advisory board addressed concerns at a Dec. 4 open forum about formal recruitment and housing reforms coming to the university.

The Fraternity and Sorority Advisory Board was established after a 2017 report by Dyad Strategies, which focused on areas for improvement within Greek life at MU.

The Dyad report suggested regulations on freshmen living in fraternity houses, a self-reporting program for hazing and a structured recruitment for fraternities. Students and alumni at the open forum raised concerns about how housing and requirements changes might affect enrollment in Greek chapters.

Under the new changes, freshmen members could live in a chapter house if both the student and the chapter meet certain academic and social guidelines, such as a minimum GPA and substance-free environments.

Robin Wenneker, an alumna of Kappa Alpha Theta and a member of FSAB, said the board noticed students were more likely to succeed at MU if they moved into their chapter house after freshman year.

“We prefer them to be moving in sophomore year,” Wenneker said. “We find a longer period of engagement if we let them do that.”

Many of the concerns about freshmen living in chapter houses also relate to the suggestion that fraternities establish a formal recruitment process for new members.

The new recommendations drafted by FSAB would move the Interfraternity Council’s recruitment process from the summer to the weekend before the start of each fall semester.

IFC President Jake Eovaldi said moving formal recruitment will create a more inclusive environment for new students who want to join Greek life.

“If you’re not super familiar with Greek life, you’re probably not going to make that leap of faith and just drive up to Columbia,” Eovaldi said. “That’s a pretty big risk and it’s pretty scary.”

Wenneker also said a restructured recruitment process would accommodate out-of-state freshmen more than the current process.

“Bringing this closer to the school year increases the likelihood that freshmen from out-of-state actually will pledge or join a chapter their freshman year,” Wenneker said. “This actually should create a bigger diversity of membership for fraternities.”

The panel also addressed questions about a new policy that would institute a self-reporting program for hazing. The policy would protect chapters and individuals from punishment if they report a hazing incident they were not involved in.

Jeff Zeilenga, MU’s dean of students and a member of FSAB, assured that the changes will create a safer Greek environment for incoming students.

“We want to have a very, very strong Greek community and we want to have a very strong Greek experience,” Zeilenga said. “This is not intended to be punitive in any way.”

Edited by Caitlyn Rosen |

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