Greek chapters to hold registration for unpaid debts

The money collected could be used for repair of chapter houses.

Nickalas Tabbert

 

Members of the University of Minnesota greek community have a new incentive to pay room and board on time.

The University has entered an agreement with the Fraternity Purchasing Association that could result in holds for students that don’t pay for room and board at their respective chapters.

The hold will prevent a member from registering for classes or changing an existing registration until its removal, according to a letter sent to more than 1,700 greek members from Jerry Rinehart, vice provost for student affairs.

The process is designed to help the treasurer and alumni adviser of participating chapters more effectively manage payments and debts.

In the letter, Rinehart said only chapters that are FPA billing clients will be impacted and that holds can only be placed on students who are more than 60 days in default and who owe more than $200. 

FPA manager Chari Porter said 21 organizations are currently billing clients, but nearly every student group with a house on campus has a relationship with the association.

The new system is similar to what the University uses for the residence halls, Porter said.

FPA worked with Rinehart and the University’s Office of the General Counsel for more than a year to complete the agreement, although University officials and FPA have been discussing the lack of payment for more than 20 years.

Rinehart said the new policy comes as many chapters need repairs and maintenance for their houses, and this could be a way to raise some of the funds needed to address those needs.

President Eric Kaler introduced a Greek Community Strategic Task Force this spring to address the housing needs of the community. Recommendations for improvement will be presented in September.

If a chapter participates in the hold program, the University requires the FPA to verify the chapter’s financial records are correct, Porter said.

According to the letter, holds will be initiated by the chapter treasurer through FPA and have to be signed by the undergraduate treasurer and an alumni officer. They would take effect at least six weeks before the start of registration for the following academic term, beginning this fall.

Ruth Enge, an FPA auditor, said students making arrangements with their chapters wouldn’t be affected, but those who drop out or neglect to pay their bills would.

Matt Levine, program director for the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life, said the office will place and remove the holds, though the FPA must approve them.

Students can challenge holds by making a complaint with the chapter or FPA. If necessary, they could bring a formal complaint to the University’s conflict resolution process or sufficiently demonstrate “financial hardship.”

Porter said she hopes the system isn’t used often but likes having the ability to place a hold if necessary.

FPA sent its own letter to chapter houses Tuesday, Porter said, and included a form asking participating chapters to acknowledge that they’re aware of the option