U considers two investment plans for greek housing

Koran Addo

University officials are discussing two plans to put money into fraternities and sororities to maintain their houses.

One option is a loan program available to greek communities for capital improvements. The other option is for the University to purchase fraternity and sorority land and lease it back to the organizations.

University officials said the houses are an important part of campus and deserve the investment. Greek members, however, have expressed suspicion of the University’s motives, and others questioned why the institution should invest in greek houses and not others in the area.

“(Fraternities and sororities) provide very important housing to students,” said Richard Pfutzenreuter, associate vice president for the University’s Office of Budget and Finance. “The programs would be designed to provide resources to make code improvements in fire and life safety.”

The University has identified $3 million for loans and land purchases.

The loan program would make participating greek communities eligible for up to $250,000. Under the purchase plan, the University would pay participating greek communities the appraised value of the land on which their houses sit.

The money the communities receive under either program would be used only to eliminate code violations and make other capital improvements, said Sue Weinberg, property acquisition coordinator for the University’s real estate office.

Not all University students agree with the proposed programs.

“Fraternities should remain autonomous,” Phi Sigma Kappa pledge Dan Lubozynski said. “They do things that the University doesn’t always agree with. It’s best to stay autonomous.”

University officials estimate the programs would benefit about 1,500 students.

Pfutzenreuter said the programs are intended to start making off-campus housing safer. However, he said, there are currently no plans to expand either program to other non-greek housing.

“We haven’t considered making the program available to the private sector at this time,” Weinberg said. “We couldn’t be sure the money was being used correctly.”

Some students said the proposed programs would benefit only a few.

First-year student Dan Agne said the idea is a good one, but “the University should do something more across the board to include the houses on the (off-campus housing) list.”

Interfraternity Council President John Kokkinen said the greek community’s organizational

structure is the reason the plans are exclusive to residential fraternities and sororities.

“There are other properties in the area, like in Dinkytown, in much more need of help,” Kokkinen said. But private owners do not have as strong a relationship with the University as greek houses do, he said.

Weinberg said, “The University acknowledges that there won’t be a single program that will perfectly serve all fraternities or even all students, but I believe the program is a step in the right direction.”