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In the wake of the tragic death of 19-year-old Timothy Piazza at the Beta Theta Pi house back in February, Penn State officials have cracked down hard campus-wide, releasing restrictions and regulations that will significantly impact all fraternities and sororities moving forward. After the university announced that Beta would be “permanently” banned as a student organization in Happy Valley, they dropped the hammer on the rest of Greek life.
There will be no official rush in Fall 2017. Recruitment will begin again in Spring 2018. Administrators led by Vice President of Student Affairs Damon Sims believe this move will give freshmen time to acclimate to the school and get their feet underneath them before diving head first into pledging. No word on whether or not the potential repercussions this could have on fraternities and sororities financially — going months without growth — was considered at all in the decision.
All chapters will be limited to 10 wet events per semester, none of which can fall under the “daylong” umbrella. Those parties and socials can only serve beer and wine and must be worked by third-party, state-certified bartenders. Kegs are also prohibited, and if Penn State feels that organizations aren’t efficiently preventing underage consumption, talks of a completely dry Greek community could very much become the harsh reality in State College.
From Penn Live:
Sims said the new protocols represent a much more aggressive approach by the university to set rules for what are private membership groups that have traditionally been permitted wide berth to self-govern.
“Enough is enough,” Sims said. “A fundamental shift is required if these organizations are to be truly successful and sustainable.”
One effect of the changes, including the end of self-service from a keg, or strict adherence to underage drinking laws, would be to have fraternities and sororities to operate much more like licensed bars when throwing a party.
Let’s not overlook the extremely heartbreaking death of Timothy Piazza. We all feel for his family and friends, who will never be the same again, losing the young man in a very unfortunate accident. Taking necessary precautions to prevent more parents from burying their sons and daughters is something we should all be having an ever-evolving, open discussion about. But in typical university fashion, this just comes off as Penn State trying to save face as an institution and not do what’s best for its students.
No rush in the fall means forcing Greeks’ hands to go underground for recruitment. Bills need to be paid and spots in the chapter house need to be filled. Pretty sure sororities have national standards that they have to meet every semester, too. Plus, you’re adding another expense to these organizations, who now need to hire an outside party for every event that serves booze but in the least cost-effective way imaginable by forbidding kegs.
And let’s just be honest for a minute, guys and girls: underage drinking isn’t going away. Not now. Not ever. The more you try to dictate what an 18-to-22-year-old can do with their free time, the more resourceful they’ll become to find ways around those rules set in place.
We certainly need to take logical measures to prevent tragedy like this from ever happening again and hold each other accountable for our actions, but at the end of the day we’re all adults. Prohibiting us from doing something or appointing what we can or can not drink just because we choose to wear Greek letters is only going to stir up more problems than it solves..
[via Penn Live]
Image via PSU Beta