Just before the fall semester came to a close, all alcohol-related activities were halted in the University of Idaho’s Greek community.
The university released a statement Dec. 12 stating Greek housing student leadership had self-imposed the suspension.
This decision was made by the governing bodies of UI’s Greek organizations: the Interfraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic Council and the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC). This suspension affects the 34 Greek houses on the UI campus, consisting of approximately 20 percent of UI students.
Gabby Franco, president of the Multicultural Greek Council, said the IFC first proposed the self-imposed moratorium and the Panhellenic council and Multicultural Greek Council quickly agreed.
Sammy Crofoot, the incoming IFC president, said fraternity members have recognized the issues facing Greek life, making the decision an easy one, according to a Dec. 12 news release.
“We decided to come together as a community to make the changes necessary to ensure the longevity of a healthy and safe experience in Greek life,” Crofoot said in the news release.
Panhellenic President Kendal Stopher also said the Greek life community has felt concerned and needed to address those concerns.
“I believe that the decision that the Panhellenic and IFC and MGC chapter presidents have made is the best option for our members,” Stopher said in the news release.
The suspension, according to the news release, is a reaction to national occurrences in Greek housing, such as hazing, sexual assault and alcohol abuse, and not due to a singular instance at UI.
Franco said the Greek community began to notice an upswing in incidents occurring on other campuses and wanted to take preventative measures at UI.
“We thought it would be best to make a moratorium before any problems or major incidents occurred like ones that were occurring on other campuses,” Franco said.
Over the past year, four fraternity members died because of alcohol or hazing-related incidents at colleges around the country.
According to the news release, other Greek systems — under campus administration or under a student governing body — have also proposed bans and restrictions on certain social events and activities that often involve alcohol consumption. There are approximately 750,000 undergraduate members of Greek life on more than 800 campuses in North America, according to the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
The University of Iowa, with 53 campus Greek organizations, banned all alcohol consumption and various activities following the death of one of its fraternity members in April 2017. In June, Penn State announced a comprehensive plan to restrict its Greek communities’ events calendar in response to the growing concerns over hazing and alcohol consumption. The University of North Florida also imposed a moratorium on alcohol-related activities, similar to UI in late 2017 as the university’s semester came to a close.
ASUI President McKenzie MacDonald said the moratorium is a step toward improving the health of the Greek community.
“My hope is that this intervention gives members of the community the time to reflect on the values of their individual organizations and to use those values to solve real and prevalent issues on this campus,” MacDonald said.
She appreciates the fact the decision was led by students and she said it is a factor that will make the moratorium most effective.
Safety, above all else, Franco said, is a top priority for the Greek leaders.
“We also believe that our Greek community is a great asset to the community and would not want to lose it or lose the opportunity to continue growing and welcoming new members to our sisterhoods/brotherhoods,” Franco said.
On Jan. 15, Greek leaders, including Greek life faculty and facilitators, met to move forward with discussion on the moratorium. Franco said they began working on necessary changes before deciding the duration of the moratorium, but no date or timeline has been finalized.
Hailey Stewart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org