A couple of weeks ago, a man was taken to the hospital after being assaulted by an unwanted guest at a Sigma Chi fraternity event.
In recent years, these types of events have occurred with some regularity, but Interfraternity Council officials have designed a new risk management policy to prevent such occurrences from happening in the future.
Although the fraternity-supervising Interfraternity Council passed the new policy October 11, the council is still operating under the old policy terms while awaiting passage from the Panhellenic Council, which will vote on the policy Wednesday.
The Panhellenic Council, which oversees campus sororities, needs a majority vote of at least five out of nine chapters to pass the new guidelines.
Officials said it is likely the new policy will be accepted. If passed, it will go into effect immediately.
Jacob Rudolph, vice president of risk management for the Interfraternity Council, said the old four-page policy was not adequate or comprehensive enough to meet the needs of the greek community.
“There were definitions that weren’t very accurate or very well explained,” Rudolph said.
The council looks at the guidelines every two years, but this year decided to overhaul the entire policy.
Rudolph took initiative in revamping the old policy by looking at policies from other universities, including Purdue University.
He said he combined Purdue’s policy with several others to create a policy molded to the needs of the greek system at the University.
The result is a new 20-page policy that gets rid of loopholes in the system, he said.
For example, the definition of a party in the old policy was defined as any event that reaches attendance double the membership of the hosting chapter, which caused some problems.
“There were a couple instances where a chapter could have been in violation of parts of the risk management policy, but because they didn’t reach the definition of a party, they weren’t in violation of it,” he said.
The new policy defines a party as a function that involves a chapter’s planning for an event, and requires chapters to register the event three days prior with the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils.
The old policy was enforced mostly through the honor system, while the new one features several approaches, including utilization of police reports.
“If a police report is made relating to the risk management policy, it will be an automatic judicial hearing to see if anything occurred,” Rudolph said. “This will create a lot more accountability within the greek community.”
Chad Ellsworth, adviser to the greek community, said the old policy mostly focused on party management and alcohol.
While the new policy goes in-depth on party management and alcohol procedures, it also provides guidelines on other subjects like sexual abuse, harassment, vandalism and building code safety.
The new policy provides resources as well, such as emergency phone numbers, suggested procedures during an emergency and guidelines in dealing with tragedies.
Ellsworth, who helped Rudolph in shaping the policy, said it will focus on the overall safety of greek members.
Because large parties sometimes attract negativity, party management is much more comprehensive in the new policy, he said.
“One of the biggest things is requiring a higher number of sober monitors at parties,” Ellsworth said. “The old policy required four monitors, while the new requires seven monitors to be there to regulate the party.”
Greg Hestness, chief of University police, said no matter how prepared a fraternity may be in terms of risk management, some incidents seem to be unavoidable.
Hestness said recently there was an assault that occurred at a fraternity event in which a security guard was present but a person still got hurt.
The fraternity members removed the unwanted guest themselves, he said.
“We would rather have them call the police than have them try to take matters into their own hands,” he said. “Intruders always give us less static than they would to the people trying to throw them out.”
The Panhellenic Council, which will also adopt the policy if it is passed, disagreed with a few things in the policy and proposed several amendments.
Laura Bantle, vice president of risk management for the Panhellenic Council, said one of the things the sororities strongly opposed was an article in the policy which required a hosting chapter to provide designated drivers.
“We are very uncomfortable with the idea of fraternity men being identified as designated drivers for us,” Bantle said. “People are uncomfortable with putting that much responsibility on one chapter.”
The article was changed to requiring the hosting chapter to provide an escort by walking the guest home or calling for a cab, she said.
“The whole point of a risk management policy is for the safety of the community, so to change it due to personal opinions or how people want to interact socially on campus definitely cannot be negotiated,” she said.
She said everything that needed to be changed in the policy has been changed and she is “extremely confident that it will pass on Wednesday.”