University, Greek community members question Boys' Bid Night ban

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University President Teresa Sullivan released a statement Thursday in response to the National Panhellenic Conference’s request that University chapters not participate in the 2015 Boys’ Bid Night. Sullivan said the University did not participate in making the request.

"The University was not involved in this decision,” the statement reads. “We would resist any implication that U.Va. students are somehow deserving of special admonition. To the contrary, students at U.Va. have lived up to our tradition of student self-governance. Our student leaders in the Greek community recently spent several weeks developing thoughtful enhanced safety practices for their members and guests.”

Members of the Greek community continue to express concern about the decision-making process and the implications of the request. Phi Kappa Psi brother Alexander Miles, a second-year College student, said the request was “politically driven” and could be a precedent for future action anticipating significant University community events.

“There’s already a media spotlight on U.Va. because of everything that happened in the fall and people want to see action being made,” Miles said. “Boys’ Bid Night is seen as a high risk night, so from their point of view, if they ban girls from going out, they are preventing any possible issues from arising. I'm worried though; using this logic I feel like they could apply it to any weekend of the year: Foxfields, fourth-year fifth, et cetera.”

A fourth-year sorority member who asked to remain anonymous also said she is worried about the message the request sends to the newest members of the University Greek system and about perpetuating gender stereotypes.

“[The request] sends the message that men will be men and women should just coop up in their chapter houses, far away from danger,” she said in an email. “We’re not even allowed to go celebrate with our friends as individuals. … Not to mention, [it’s] perpetuating the idea that responsibility for safety be inequitably distributed between males and females.”

Though the student said the NPC did not make the decision lightly, she said they excluded University chapters from the conversation and overlooked recent fraternity reforms.

“All Greek organizations worked together to revise their own FOAs, implementing rules that were meant to help mitigate risk,” she said. “Countless hours were spent by tireless, dedicated student leaders. This NPC ruling is telling us our administration-approved rules aren’t good enough and as individuals; they don’t trust us to handle ourselves and those around us.”

Others were similarly concerned with the way the NPC request portrays fraternities. Second-year Engineering student Will Rupp, vice president of Sigma Phi Society, said the request is a “slap in the face” and demonstrates the NPC’s lack of trust in the Greek Community and rejection of the new FOAs.

“I think the whole thing is absolutely ridiculous,” Rupp said. “[The NPC is] using these students as pawns in the national headlight, and there is an ongoing attack and deterioration of the Greek life in this country, and it’s sad that we have to be a part of it.”

NPC chapters at James Madison University were also asked to not participate in Bid Night activities. JMU sophomore Caitlin Jaeckel, an Alpha Delta Pi member, said chapter members were told they were not allowed to travel to the University under any circumstance.

“There are rumors that U.Va. frats are trying to bus JMU sororities over for the weekend,” Jaeckel said. “Our Panel heard, and I believe, has banned any sorority members to attend U.Va. frat parties this weekend.”

Destiny Savage, coordinator for fraternity and sorority life at JMU, said her office is working to aid the University’s efforts to support both schools’ Greek communities.

“We are working with U.Va.’s fraternity and sorority life office just where our policies are similar,” Savage said. “Just to make sure that we’re reinforcing messages that they’ve been sending out as an office.”

The University said it remains committed to its Greek community, and Sullivan’s statement said the administration is confident in the University Greek community’s efforts to move forward from the tumultuous events of the fall semester.

"We have confidence in our students’ ability to use good judgment,” the statement said, “[to] be mindful of one another’s safety and adhere to the new safety practices developed by them and outlined in the recently revised Fraternal Organization Agreements.”

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