All organizations in the four Greek councils signed on to a revised Fraternal Organization Agreement, the University announced Friday afternoon. This includes two organizations in the Inter-Fraternity Council, Kappa Alpha Order and Alpha Tau Omega, which said earlier this week they would not sign the addendum, which establishes a host of new obligations for fraternities when hosting parties.
“These student-driven, thoughtful agreements have now been signed by all of the fraternities and sororities as part of their FOAs with the University,” according to a University press release. “We are grateful for the leadership shown by our students in achieving this result.”
In a letter released jointly by the national organizations for Kappa Alpha Order and Alpha Tau Omega, the organizations said they “reluctantly” agreed to sign the new addendum when the University declined to offer an extension on the suspension beyond the Jan. 16 deadline.
“As we have said from the beginning, the fraternity men and sorority women at the University of Virginia were harmed by the suspension in December and deserve to regain their rightful standing as leadership organizations on campus,” the organizations wrote in the letter. “It is extraordinarily disappointing to see a university of this caliber sacrifice the ideals of freedom of association and due process on the altar of public opinion.”
The revised agreement comes at the start of the start of the IFC rush process — which began Thursday. The national organizations said they wanted to sign the agreement so chapter members could return to “normal operations.”
“The fact that our chapters are signing the FOA does not alleviate the coercion, duress or other wrongdoing of the University through this entire process,” the letter read. “Given the University's poor handling of this matter, we are now exploring the right to pursue any legal remedies.”
In the letter released Tuesday announcing their intention to reject the addendum, the fraternities’ national organizations said they feared the revised agreement would pose liabilities on the chapters which more fairly belonged to the University, and that criteria imposed by the national organization were more severe than those in the addendum. They also said the original suspension of fraternity social activities was unfair and a violation of the pre-existing FOA.
“Together, these circumstances set a dangerous precedent of an erosion of student and organizational rights,” the original letter read.
Friday, the organizations called upon state and national legislators to develop laws which would help protect students and student groups “from this sort of unprecedented action against our students and organizations.”
“The principled stand of our student members spotlighted the University's ham-handed approach to this issue,” the letter said. “ATO and KA national organizations stand behind our chapters and recognize their leadership in doing their best to resist the coercion of the administration.”
The new FOA agreements are set to expire May 15, according to the letter. The organizations said they “anticipate more equitable treatment by the University in any possible future agreement.”