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Greek boards draft new policy to make socials safer

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 8:37 a.m. CST, Tuesday, November 17, 2009

COLUMBIA — MU fraternities and sororities have agreed to a joint social policy that places new limits on the parties they sponsor.

The policy includes a limit of 700 guests at off-campus socials and sponsorship by no more than two Greek chapters. Such gatherings will also be required to have someone appointed as a "sober monitor" to ensure everyone abides by the law.

The Panhellenic Association that governs most MU sororities ratified the changes on Monday night. The new policy had already been approved by the Interfraternity Council, which governs some of the fraternities.

Lindsey Hoffman, Panhellenic Association vice president of public relations, said the policy was drafted after a bus ran over a man at a fraternity event hosted by three Greek organizations at Les Bourgeois Winery.

Hoffman said it took the  incident at Les Bourgeois to make the board take action, even though off-campus socials were already getting "out of control.”

Hoffman said “the lack of accountability with guest lists, little to no monitoring of buses and the minimal security precautions taken on behalf of the sponsoring chapters” were problems that had been largely ignored until the winery incident.

"Most of these steps are just to keep that from ever happening (again)," said Ryan Morimura, Interfraternity Council vice president of public relations. "Our goal as an executive board is to make sure we are looking out for the entire community.”

Morimura said MU didn't require them to revise the policy. “There wasn’t necessarily pressure to change it,” he said. “We just felt that it was necessary.”

Lauren Hatch, vice president of risk management for the Panhellenic Association, said the boards surveyed policies at other colleges and considered what would work best for MU's Greek community.

The changes the boards made to the policy include:

  • Limiting the number of sponsors and guests. No more than two chapters can sponsor a social event, down from four, without special permission. Only 700 guests will be allowed to attend events hosted by two chapters, and events sponsored by one chapter have a limit of one guest per member. “Often, two or more chapters would get together to host a co-sponsored social where literally anybody could come,” Hoffman said. “In these instances, some venues had hundreds of students show up and were not prepared to host all of them.”
  • Requiring the presence of "sober monitors" at social events. Monitors will be members of the chapter, and their responsibility is to ensure all state, local and federal laws are followed. There must be at least one monitor for every 100 guests.
  • Fraternities and sororities must provide a list of confirmed guests who plan to attend an event by the day before it occurs. Chapters will be fined $150 for a late list and $300 plus a date with the Greek Judicial Board.

    Although the Panhellenic Council’s former social policy stated that guest lists were required by noon on the day of the social, Hoffman said some chapters were turning in rosters that listed the names of all of their members instead of lists with the names of confirmed guests. for failing to turn in a list.

    “If your name is not on the list, you aren’t getting on the bus, and you are not getting into the social,” Hoffman said.
  • Any establishment that a chapter chooses to host an event at must be certified by the State of Missouri Alcohol Responsibility Training program. The program teaches establishment employees how to recognize fake identification, how to spot signs of third party transactions and how to deal with intoxicated customers.
  • To be eligible to host a social event, all chapters must be in good standing with the Office of Greek Life, the Interfraternity Council and/or Panhellenic Association and their national or international organization.
  • Each chapter is also required to participate in a social safety presentation in order to remain in good standing. Each chapter’s president, social chair and risk manager must attend the social safety presentation provided by the IFC and the PHA. The presentation will cover topics such as how to appropriately register a social, how to be an effective sober monitor and how to ensure member/guest safety.

Hatch said the policy is expected to take effect on Jan. 1, 2010.

Morimura said he hopes that the new policy will help to make off-campus socials safer but said he doesn’t know that this will be the last time that changes will need to be made.

“I don’t feel that these are sweeping changes,” Morimura said. “It’s up to the new boards to decide if there need to be new changes, but we feel that this is a good start.”


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