Arkeo takes the summer off and revamps

The greek community’s self-policing organization will return in the fall with more volunteers, better procedures.

by Roy Aker

Since the University of Minnesota greek community is less active in the summer, Arkeo has decided to stay dormant, making changes before starting up again in the fall.

Arkeo — a volunteer-based, self-policing organization for the University’s greek community — will have a new evaluation system for fraternities and a bigger team of better-trained volunteers next semester.

Spencer Olson, Interfraternity Council president, said there isn’t a need for Arkeo in the summer because of fewer social events and fewer fraternity members living in greek housing.

“I’m sure some stuff goes on, but most houses have half their capacity — if not a quarter of it — living there,” Olson said.

After a string of sexual assault allegations in 2010, the greek community put the self-policing system into place in order to monitor activity in fraternity houses on Friday and Saturday nights.

Arkeo volunteers patrol registered events on those nights, observing party infractions and reporting back to IFC’s judicial board. During spring semester, three chapters reported to the board for a hearing because of Arkeo findings.

Throughout the year, about 85 percent of University greek houses passed Arkeo’s evaluation system, Olson said.

In the fall, Arkeo’s volunteer force will double to about 100 people.

Max Hendrix, Arkeo’s director, said this will allow volunteers to visit events twice per night — once before the event gets going and then again around midnight.

Last year, Arkeo volunteers had trouble getting into houses for scheduled checks. In some instances, guests in the front of the line at fraternities wouldn’t recognize the volunteers and assumed they were cutting in line.

This fall, they will be outfitted in group apparel, making them more recognizable to partygoers.

In addition, a more “quantitative numbers system” will overhaul Arkeo’s current checklist system for ranking house compliance. Under the old system, fraternities either passed or failed each check based on rules related to alcohol, guest lists and more.

Hendrix said last year’s system wasn’t as informative.

“It was a black and white fail,” he said.

The new system will score compliance on a 100-point scale. Reports to the IFC will have an average score for each fraternity. Each house will need an average of 80 points to pass.

Reed Mosimann, an Alpha Chi Omega sophomore who volunteered for Arkeo last year but won’t be returning, said the new system will make it easier to report back to IFC.

“I think that when you’re in Arkeo, you’re basically relaying information about what the feeling of the setting was like back to IFC so they can make these judgments,” she said.

The written portion of the evaluation forms was particularly important for volunteers, Hendrix said, because it helped the IFC determine consequences for each violation.

The most important feature of a party’s safety measures is front-door security, Hendrix said.

In the 100-point grading system, failing a front-door security measure would be weighted more heavily than any other rule.

“If we’re not allowing people who are going to behave poorly to enter the social event, then we’re stopping a lot of issues that may happen once they get inside,” Hendrix said.

Olson said he expects Arkeo will be more successful because of the changes, as greek members get used to IFC’s rules and expectations over time.

“I’d love to live in a world where we don’t even have to have Arkeo, and chapters will follow the rules,” he said. “I think we’ve gotten better, so maybe we can be there in five or 10 years.”