When second-year students are required to live on-campus in less than three years, options for housing will dwindle. For those who want to move to the off-campus neighborhood, Greek housing will likely be the main retreat.
OSU, however, plans to require some changes for fraternities and sororities that wish to continue housing second-years.
Student Life organized a committee which met last year to discuss changes to be made with the intent of making the experience of living in a fraternity or sorority congruent with that of living in residence halls.
That goal is the basis for a draft of new housing standards for Greek Life, which among other things would require chapter houses to have desks in each bedroom or dayroom and a study space.
The new housing standard, while not finalized, would also ban alcohol from all common areas and require chapters to have a live-in adviser, recommended to be at least one year removed from being an undergraduate student. According to the proposed policy, alcohol would be allowed in bedrooms where at least one student is 21 years old, and chapters could apply for alcohol policy exemptions under certain circumstances. Some chapters, though, prohibit alcohol in their houses already.
The committee that worked on the draft included faculty, staff and representatives of the Greek Life governing councils, the Interfraternity Council, the Multicultural Greek Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc., and Panhellenic Association.
Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs said it is up to the chapters whether they want to participate in the second-year living program or not.
“We believe that our Greek organizations will make successful partners with STEP, and have approached them on that basis. However, participation by the chapters is entirely voluntary, and we encourage each chapter to perform its own due diligence in order to arrive at the decision that is best for them,” Isaacs said.
STEP, the Second-Year Transformational Experience Program, is a co-curricular component of the requirement for second-year students to live on campus but STEP will likely not be mandatory for students.
“I can’t imagine that we would ever require a student to do STEP, what we hope is that we can build a program that every student wants to participate,” said Vice President for Student Life Javaune Adams-Gaston in an August interview with The Lantern.
Currently STEP is the only co-curricular component of the second-year live-in requirement. Other programs, however, may be developed, Adams-Gaston said.
Isaacs said a committee met with Greek Life chapters that requested a meeting to gather feedback.
Chapters would have to opt-in or opt-out of the new housing standard by the time second-years are required to live on campus in 2016. Chapters that decide to opt-in to the standard would require a facility audit by the university, according to an email sent by Adams-Gaston Oct. 9 to Greek Life community members.
She also said in the email her “team is also happy to present the proposed standard to (the chapters) over the next two weeks” if chapters want to schedule a presentation of a facility audit.
The housing standards draft was emailed to chapter presidents Oct. 3.
Adams-Gaston met with chapter presidents that night to receive feedback concerning the new policies. The Lantern was denied access to that meeting by a majority vote of chapter presidents.
Casey Leech, the president of Kappa Sigma and a fourth-year in international studies and economics, said the second-year living program provides an opportunity for Greek Life to grow because living in a fraternity or sorority is likely the main option students will have besides residence halls for their second years.
Leech, however, said he doesn’t like that the new policies take away sovereignty from the individual chapters, especially with regards to the alcohol policy. Leech said the current restrictions for fraternity parties are sufficient.
“We already have to register (events) through the university, and I think the system that’s in place right now is really good. IFC (Interfraternity Council) Inspection comes by to check our party to make sure the facility is safe and that we are abiding by the alcohol policies of Greek Life. I think it’s a phenomenal job that they’re doing and I think it’s already made parties safer over the last couple years, so I don’t know why you would change a system that’s already working well,” Leech said.