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Fraternity organizations sign FOA addendum, reservations linger

New requirements contentious for some fraternity members

In an effort to improve current safety procedures, the University is requiring fraternities to sign the new Fraternal Organization Agreement addendum by Jan. 16 as part of an agreement lifting a suspension on Greek social activities first enacted in November. The addendum comes out of intense scrutiny of the University Greek system following a Nov. 19 Rolling Stone article, later retracted, alleging a gang rape at the University’s chapter of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

Phi Kappa Psi recently chose to sign the FOA addendum, aiming both to improve safety for its individual members and guests at its events. Third-year College student Stephen Scipione, the University chapter’s president, said he believes the new procedures will aid the prevention of future issues.

“Future problems will certainly be mitigated by the new FOA,” Scipione said. “I view it as taking both preventative measures to stop problems from occurring as well as taking reactionary measures designed to have better resources available to deal with any problems if they occur.”

While Scipione acknowledged that adjusting to the changes in the short term may prove difficult, he said he hopes the new procedures will begin to feel normal.

“I believe it will take a social event or two in order to properly phase in the stipulations in the FOA, as is the case with implementing most new procedures,” Scipione said. “It will become a natural process there on after.”

The University’s chapter of St. Anthony Hall also recently accepted and signed the FOA addendum. A third-year brother in St. Anthony Hall, who wished to remain anonymous, said he believes signing the FOA was necessary to retain a relationship with University administration. However, he said he does not think the changes will be difficult to execute.

“I think the FOA will be easily implemented,” he said. “All of the changes that were made in the FOA were made to make fraternity functions safer, and I believe they will do that.”

Despite potentially jarring changes in safety protocol, he does not expect the recruitment process to be strongly affected.

“Recruitment will ultimately remain the same, except for the changes we have to make during parties,” he said.

Fourth-year Commerce student Sanjay Palat, the Inter-Fraternity Council public relations chair, said the IFC has yet to discuss what will happen to fraternities that choose not to sign the FOA.

“We haven’t discussed what would happen if they choose not to sign the FOA going forward,” Palat said. “That’s something we’ll look at the 16th, if they decide not to sign after that date.”

Though University President Teresa Sullivan approved the new measures, Palat said the IFC was not pressured by the University into making specific changes.

“The new FOA is not something that was imposed on us by any means,” Palat said. “The new FOA is something that the IFC developed in collaboration with a bunch of different student groups. It was something that was entirely student generated.”

One of the changes the agreement requires is for fraternities to have a third-party security agent outside the door at parties where the number of guests in higher than the number of fraternity members present. This agent will need to be provided a printed list of those invited to the party and will be responsible for allowing only those on the list to enter. Palat said while this change will be a financial burden on fraternities, the Council is looking into ways to offset the cost.

“We’re looking at funding sources to help mitigate the cost of the security agents right now,” Palat said. “We’re also looking at ways that we can find a market of security agents that are at a lower cost to help reduce the financial burden that this poses to fraternities.”

Despite these challenges, Palat said he believes the measures will help in making fraternity parties safer.

“We made these changes because we honestly think that all of the changes to the FOA make our community safer, and our parties safer, and are good things,” Palat said. “We see these changes as positive changes that are good for fraternities in the long run.”

Not all University fraternities have signed the addendum. Kappa Alpha Order and Alpha Tau Omega have said they will not sign the agreement. At least 13 of the IFC’s 31 fraternities have signed the agreement as of Wednesday night, and at least 10 others said they had not but planned to before the deadline.

But not all signatories are entirely satisfied with the new agreement. A member of a fraternity which signed the addendum said it fails to address the concerns which brought about Sullivan’s suspension of fraternity social activities.

“I think that the biggest issue I find with [the FOAs] is that they were created in reaction to sexual assaults and many of these restrictions go after what isn’t related to sexual assault and mainly go after creating restrictions of parties,” said the brother, who asked to remain anonymous.

Fourth-year College student Jakob Scheidt, former University Phi Sigma Kappa president, said that though the chapter has yet to sign the FOA, he thought the group likely would. He said without support from a fraternity’s national branch it would be difficult for a chapter to reject the agreement.

However, despite Phi Sigma Kappa’s probable acceptance of the FOA, Scheidt said he sees problems in the agreement’s language. Additionally, he said the requirement of a third-party security official at parties is worrisome.

“The most contentious thing, I think, is the security agent that they’re requiring to be at parties which we have to pay for,” Scheidt said. “It’s going to be a bigger [issue] at smaller fraternities with less resources.”

Scheidt also said Rolling Stone’s recent article enabled the University to quickly implement unnecessary changes, even though the story had numerous factual inaccuracies.

“It’s an issue of due process,” Scheidt said. “I think if most fraternities had the choice, they would dispute [the FOA]. There is already a lot of policy in place that, for the large part, keeps fraternities pretty safe.”

Furthermore, Scheidt said missing from the agreement is a way for the University to determine if the changes are effective.

“The University doesn’t seem to have anything in place to measure how effective any of these measures are going to be,” Scheidt said. “We’re just enacting things, and we don’t actually know if we’re making things better.”

With the University’s fraternities facing significant modifications of their procedures, the final FOA addendum will move to improve safety throughout the University community by encouraging the cooperation of all the fraternities which signed the agreement this week.

“Creating such a document using input from dozens of fraternities inevitably led to much debate,” Scipione said. “But we are all satisfied with the final outcome and are ready to fully cooperate with the new guidelines laid out in the FOA.”

Henry Pflager contributed reporting to this article.