Facing a housing crunch, the University of Minnesota’s greek community is pressuring the city to reform its zoning regulations in order to permit an expansion of fraternity and sorority houses.
One of the city’s ordinances confines greek housing to the area within a half mile of campus and prohibits houses from hosting more than 32 people. A second regulation prohibits fraternities from using buildings not intended originally for greek life.
According to Mitchell Kelley, president of the Interfraternity Council, the city’s ordinances don’t restrict any other group in the way they do the greek community. And because the University’s greek community has grown by 72.8 percent in just five years, six chapters are currently in need of housing.
We encourage the city to revise its zoning regulations in order to allow the greek community to expand farther beyond campus. More than 10 percent of University undergraduates are in a fraternity or sorority, which means greek life is an integral part of the University and thus Minneapolis as a whole.
At the same time, we question the greek community’s decision to increase its membership so dramatically in so little time, especially when accommodations are short and chapters are struggling to place their members in houses.
Until the city adapts its zoning regulations, we encourage greek leaders to take in only as many members as they’re capable of accommodating. Doing otherwise will only exacerbate a problem which may take the city’s bureaucracy some time to address.