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In the spirit of fairness — because I painted myself in a corner with my earlier comments about giving OU students a platform to express their displeasure with the current situation in Norman — I’m now going to give OU’s IFC a chance to weigh in.
I heard from an IFC Exec member that will remain anonymous. According to him, and he admittedly shares a compelling account of the story, IFC is not to blame for the Greek backlash. He says OU’s Student Conduct controls all governance, thus should bear the brunt of the push back.
Per our source:
Based on public record, OU IFC has not changed their position in terms of alcohol compliance/governance this year. The constitution remains the same and is a supplement to the OU Student Code of Conduct. Student Conduct maintains the same policy that has been in effect since 2011. There are no “new rules.”
IFC is not involved with “scare tactics” in conjunction with OUPD or Norman PD. IFC also does not conduct alcohol checks at the fraternity houses. Student Conduct is the organization in charge of this process.
There you have it.
We’ve been receiving numerous tips for the past few days about this #FreeOUGreek campaign going on at the University of Oklahoma. If you run that hashtag through the search bar on Twitter, you’ll see it’s in full swing right now, as the fraternity and sorority members feel they are being treated unfairly by the administration. They clearly want to be heard, and as it goes with any story, there are two sides to this one. I plan to give them the floor here.
The #FreeOUGreek movement stems from the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic regulating and ruling the OU Greeks with an iron fist. They are in full-on crackdown mode right now due to widespread alcohol abuse and sexual abuse allegations, according to them.
The OU campus is dry, or at least that’s the administration’s intention. This regulation has been in place, although the enforcement of it has been rather lax in comparison. The rub with the students is with the new enforcement of the alcohol regulation. They feel, to put it kindly, that IFC and Panhel are going above and beyond the requisite course of action to ensure the rules are enforced.
The only publication I’m able to find on the matter is from Fox 25, but OU students don’t feel their side is properly portrayed.
From the article:
University officials would not say what led to this public outcry, but Clarke Stroud, University Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students sent this statement:
“The safety of our students is the utmost concern of the university, I met with Greek Leaders last week to reaffirm the alcohol policy and the consequences should it not be adhered to individually or organizationally.”
Stroud emphasized despite public outcry, there have been No changes to university policy. Officials are only enforcing a dry campus policy that includes Greek Row.
Students, as I said, see it differently. I corresponded with a few Greek representatives at OU. Here’s what they had to say.
From an anonymous sorority member:
Frats here have always been “dry” but 8 houses have gotten strikes after IFC alcohol checks. So IFC and Pan are using this and claiming that there have been more sexual assaults reported in the town of Norman (not specifically Greek) this month than the past 10 years to further investigate the frats — basically looking to hand out strikes. [Name redacted] (Pan) has promised that one sorority will be given a strike by the end of the year — hopefully just Kappa after the whole painted nips thing. The biggest rule is that NO girl is allowed inside a frat house; if more than 2 girls of the same house are caught in a frat house, that sorority is given a strike.
The strikes this student is referring to come from the standard “three strikes and you’re out” application, with the “you’re out” part meaning charter revocation.
And another sorority member basically echoes the previous one:
From what we have been told in chapter yesterday, multiple instances lately have made IFC and OU PD really start to crack down on regulations. Though we have been a dry campus, we still have continued to drink/party at fraternity houses. Now sorority chapters all over campus are telling their members that now more than ever strikes will be handed out to sorority women if at fraternity parties. We have also been told that participating in the #FreeOUGreek hashtag and speaking to news teams on campus is not allowed and strictly against policies. The main reason OU Greeks are upset is because we are now being told not only what we can or cannot do, but also what we can or cannot say. We are being threatened with punishment if we break the rules (which honestly always have been broken) but not being told what our “new” punishment actually is.
Controlling the narrative.
And what about the sexual abuse rumors being thrown around?
I haven’t heard anything besides rumors about those sorts of things. A large majority of those negative comments a lot of Greek members feel have come from non-greek students who are tired of hearing about this hashtag and fraternity related issues. There may be some houses that aren’t top tier, or ones without the best reputation, but none that would disrespect the women at the university to that sort of extent. However, the rumors could be true, but there hasn’t been any validation of them yet.
From the Greeks’ perspective, it seems that IFC and Panhel are finding any and all excuses to shut the party down on Greek Row, even if said excuses are completely unrelated to OU Greeks.
Finally, one particular fraternity member was very passionate and outspoken about this ordeal. He told me, among other things, that IFC is teaming up with Norman PD and OU PD to implement intimidation and scare tactics to control Greek Row and turn it into a “middle school” atmosphere. He also insinuates the sexual assault stuff is mere hearsay.
Sexual assaults are reported to Student Conduct every year both inside of Greek and GDIs as well. There is no widespread sexual assault issue going on in the university. Those who were quoted by Fox News saying that is the case are people who have no idea what the problem is and are most likely not affiliated with a Greek house. If sexual assault was an actual issue, police would be investigating houses/individuals and that is not happening.
Another development he’s outraged about, and rightfully so, is that they are steadfastly trying to keep all sorority members out of fraternity houses.
This aggression will not stand, man.
And finally, my man Silas Enloe sums it all up nicely and succinctly. Let them frat, IFC. Just let them frat.
Let me be the frat star I was meant to be OU!! #FreeOUGreek
— Silas Enloe (@silasenloe) September 16, 2013
[via Fox 25]
Image via Wikipedia