The MU Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life will delay starting new policies for freshmen in Greek housing until the start of the 2022 school year.
The rules will govern whether a chapter can allow freshmen initiates to live in their houses. The decision to delay was made “due to COVID-19 and missed opportunities for our Greek chapters,” according to an email from Kathryn O'Hagan, assistant director of the Greek life office, to housing advisory board members.
MU spokesperson Christian Basi said the delay "gives us an opportunity to do one more review, take a look and see what COVID has done to change the landscape, in this case in the Greek community, and see if that means that we want to adjust or alter some of those recommendations or restrictions before they’re implemented.”
The changes stem from a 2019 report created after a 2017 external review of MU Greek life. The goal stated in the report was to "create an environment that maximizes opportunities for personal and academic growth in a safe environment that supports our university values." It is intended to improve that community in five areas:
- Diversity and inclusion.
- Hazing prevention and new member education.
- Academic calendar and recruitment.
- Freshmen in Greek housing.
- Social event risk management.
Many MU Greek organizations already put into practice many of the recommendations set out in the report, Basi said.
The recommendations require freshmen to hold a 3.0 or higher GPA in order to live in a chapter property, and the chapters need to maintain average GPAs of 3.0 or higher.
In her email, O'Hagan also addressed alcohol policies for fraternity houses. The report recommends that fraternity houses be substance-free and that includes alcohol. However, O'Hagan said this may be updated, as a "recommendation to that policy has been made to allow those who are 21 and older to have beer or wine (15% ABV or less) in their personal room."
The hope is this change will attract upperclassmen and allow them to take on leadership roles in their respective houses, the email said.
“We wanted to make sure that those who are 21 or older and have the legal right to consume alcohol are able to do so responsibly,” Basi said.
Basi said MU's Greek community is integral to the campus and the Greek experience is important to many students. "So, we want to make sure that we have a vibrant community but one that has safety at the utmost top of mind," he said, "and we want to make sure that all of our students are in a welcoming and safe atmosphere.”