Fraternity and sorority leaders discussed possible changes to Greek campus life with University of Missouri officials this weekend at the Chancellor’s Summit on Sexual Assault and Student Safety in Fraternity Houses.
Saturday's meeting, which was closed to the press, followed weeks of debate after a draft of proposals put together by the Fraternity Alumni Consortium circulated in the university community. Proposals included limiting visiting hours for women to fraternity houses, banning hard liquor and drug testing members.
The Panhellenic Association, which brings together many of the university's sororities, reacted to the document with a letter to Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin that rejected several of the proposed changes, while supporting others. Allison Fitts is President of the association.
“Our intent of the letter was to make sure we got a seat at the table, which we definitely did today, at the summit,” Fitts said. “So I think the big thing moving forward is to continue to have women at the table when making policies regarding their safety.”
Last week the Panhellenic Association also released a new sexual violence education plan, which had been in development for several months.
Jason Blincow, President of the University of Missouri Interfraternity Council, says that while many possible changes are under debate, a beer-only policy in fraternities will likely soon be enacted.
“It was proposed at the end of last semester at our last IFC presidents' council meeting, so hopefully early in the fall, if not to start out the fall semester.”
Fitts of the Panhellic Association says that a visitation policy in fraternity houses was a heavily debated topic that will see further discussion – but that the most important takeaway from the meeting is that women's safety is a priority.
“Something I started my presentation with today at the summit was 'Thank you all for being here, because by having this conversation we are making safety of women and preventing sexual violence at the forefront of everything we discuss,'” she said. “It’s been a busy couple of months with the media and everything going on, but it's been good because it's gotten a lot of publicity for an issue that really matters.
University Vice Chancellor Cathy Scroggs says the university can set a national precedent in working with the Greek community to address sexual assault and student safety.
“I think within in a year, they’re going to be saying things like ‘Let’s do things like the University of Missouri.’ That’s our goal. We intend to be the national model.”