Two University fraternity chapters — Alpha Tau Omega and Kappa Alpha Order— announced they will not be signing a new Fraternal Organization Agreement addendum required of fraternities by the University.
The addendum was drafted by a variety of stakeholders, including fraternity alumni, current members and the Inter-Fraternity Council, during Winter Break, and fraternities will be required to sign it by Jan. 16 or face suspension by the University.
The addendum, coming on the heels of a six-week suspension of organized Greek social activities, would require all IFC chapters to have at least three sober brothers at fraternity functions. The agreement also imposes limits on the types of alcohol which can be served and requires guest lists at parties — and in some cases third-party security personnel, as well.
At least half of the 31 IFC fraternities have either signed or plan to sign the addendum in the near future, including Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity at the center of a story in Rolling Stone article published in November which detailed an alleged assault at the fraternity in Sept. 2012. The fraternity signed the new agreement Jan. 8, and Charlottesville Police said Monday their investigation found no “substantive basis” for the claim that the chapter was involved in the incident — though they added the investigation into the alleged attack is still ongoing.
The Cavalier Daily is still waiting to hear from several chapters about whether they have yet signed the addendum, but as of Tuesday night no other chapter said they are not planning to sign the agreement.
University spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn said the University will not comment on the matter until after the Jan. 16 deadline passes.
“We remain hopeful that all groups will commit to these reasonable protocols designed to improve student safety,” he said.
The national organizations of Alpha Tau Omega and Kappa Alpha released nearly identical statements Tuesday, citing a violation of student and organizational rights as reason for not signing the addendum.
“The University violated the previous FOA as well as student individual and organizational rights,” the statements read. “The system-wide suspension, which was initiated for reasons that were found to be untrue, unfairly punished all members of fraternities and sororities. It was maintained and used as leverage to require the changes to the FOA. Because we do not accept the validity of a suspension imposed in contravention of the existing FOA, university policy, Virginia law and the constitutional rights of our members, we are not compelled to sign a revised FOA to continue operations on campus.”
The chapters also said the addendum could unfairly increase liability faced by the chapters’ members.
“Second, [Alpha Tau Omega’s/Kappa Alpha Order’s] own risk management policies, much like the policies of all national fraternities and sororities, are as strict or more strict than this new FOA,” the statements read. “Our chapter will comply with the more restrictive of the policies in its activities.”
Alpha Tau Omega CEO Wynn Smiley said the fraternity has traditionally had a good relationship with the University.
“This doesn’t reflect our long-term relationship with U.Va. and its administration,” he said. “Just this particular issue is one we take issue with.”
Smiley said he is unsure how the disagreement will play out in the coming weeks.