School administrators reflect on fraternity and sorority rules

SPRING GARDEN TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, Pa. -- Part of the college experience for many students includes pledging to become a greek. Many schools in central Pennsylvania don't have fraternity or sorority houses on campus, but that doesn't stop them from having rules for members.

Millersville University associate vice-president of student affairs and enrollment management Michelle Perez said "we have a greek life or fraternity sorority coordinator, and he has been working on developing a continued risk management training, continuing to work with the greek community to develop policies and procedures that set them up for success."

After the death of a Penn State student at a fraternity party, the university enacted strict rules for greek organizations.

Police said Timothy Piazza fell down a flight of stairs. The fraternity that hosted the party, has now lost its recognition.

The university's new rules for fraternities and sororities includes no Fall 2017 fraternity or sorority rush, no all-day/all-night parties, no kegs allowed on campus, and any greek life chapter is limited to ten socials with alcohol per-semester.

York College of Pennsylvania student center vice-president Joseph Salerno said "I thought they were pretty vague to be honest, but policies can't necessarily be too strict in certain instances."

"All those policies that they just put in place are already here at York College of Pennsylvania," Salerno said.

York College of Pennsylvania assistant dean of student affairs Sara Goodwin said "if they do decide to host say an event that has alcohol, a mixer, they have to follow those rules, which means they're not having kegs. They're not having hard alcohol. They're checking IDs, only allowing students to attend that are of age. So, we make sure we educate them on all of that."

New rules at Penn State may affect some schools such as Millersville University to take another look at making greek life for students safer.

"We feel for our colleagues across the country whenever this happens. It's always unfortunate that it takes a crisis sometimes for us to review our policies, or to identify gaps in our policies," Perez said.

"We're working with our students now to work on what could it look like for our campus to have a pre-party registration or pre-event registration. If something occurred at the event, what would happen normally, depends on how we find out," Perez said.

An open line of communication on campus between greeks and administrators is part of the process.

Hazing, again, is something that we have a strict no tolerance policy here on at York College and we cover that pretty significantly in our greek 101, with all of our new members, before they even begin the new member process," Goodwin said.

"We want to watch out for the students and make sure they can maintain that level of academic integrity and keep their GPA up because that's important. That's why we're here, to get an education," Salerno said.

Administrators say greek members who break the rules will be held to a code of conduct whether an event happens on or off campus.

"Then we'll hold that organization accountable and the president and student leadership are the ones that come forward and are first brought to the table to discuss what's occurred,and then judicial affairs or our center for student involvement and leadership would hold an investigation," Perez said.