Greek Life reinforces social event regulations

Greg Doyle

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life has reinforced its regulations on social events, particularly regarding mixers, to ensure all guidelines are followed in order to guarantee the safety of all parties involved.

“We have a social policy that governs the social activities of the fraternities and sororities on campus,” said Phil O’Neill, assistant director of Student Development. “These policies have been in place for about five years, and we continue to try to educate the fraternities and sororities of what they are and why they are there.”

The social policy is set to minimize the risks involved at any Greek event or social gathering.

Before a chapter can hold an official event, the social chair must go through a check-list to ensure that they are abiding by all of the standards set by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

The check-list includes contacting the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life regarding the proposed event 10 days prior, preparing all the necessary documentation, including contracts, certificates of insurance and liquor licenses when pertinent and providing the OFSL with a list of attendees.

Until recently, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life has been relatively lax about chapters following these guidelines for mixers.

According to the social policy document, a mixer is “a social gathering between one (or more) sorority/fraternity chapter(s) and/or student organization(s) held at a third party vendor.”

“Prior to the new enforcement of these regulations, mixers would generally happen at a house and would have themes and sober drivers,” said Shawn McSheffrey, social chair of Sigma Phi Epsilon. “The main reason for this was to save money because generally sororities would expect the fraternity involved to pay for the entire event.”

According to O’Neill, mixers must be held at a third-party vendor to remove the liability from the chapters involved with the event.

However, in order to save money and time, fraternities will often host mixers at a brother’s house, bypassing most of the regulations outlined on the check-list.

“The advantages, in my opinion, are based entirely on what Greek organization is involved,” McSheffrey said. “When the fraternity pays for the entire event, it makes sense to have it at a non-third-party venue because of costs. When the sorority splits the cost, it is significantly cheaper to have it at a venue.”

Still, the costs the parties involved would pay if anything should happen at their event would be even higher.

“If alcohol is being served, the vendor needs to have a liquor license and they need to card,” O’Neill said. “It’s just another way of minimizing risk.”

One of the greatest risks of having a mixer at a house is the availability of common source, according to O’Neill.

“Common source is any mass amount of alcohol — such as a keg — with no restriction on who has access and who doesn’t,” O’Neill said. “All alcohol must be manned by a bartender with a liquor license.”

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life has begun educating the chapters more about the risks involved with having mixers at houses rather than third-party vendors.

According to O’Neill, if someone were injured or harmed at the event, the chapters involved would be held entirely accountable.

As such, they would face serious consequences.

“I think that since most of the fraternities are good about providing rides, the mixers should not be forced to happen at third-party venues,” McSheffrey said. “However, since the fraternities are not supposed to have ‘events’ at their ‘houses’ it makes sense that third-party venues should be the proper hosts for these events.”