Early Monday morning, the University of Kansas Interfraternity Council released a statement declaring a self-imposed freeze on all social activities. Under the freeze, no social activities will be allowed; only chapter and philanthropic activities are permitted until the foreseeable future.
This came as a shock to many — including chapter presidents of the 24 individual IFC chapters. The decision to freeze social activities came without a two-thirds vote by IFC General Assembly, which, according to David Steen of the Kansas Fraternity Landlords League, means a three-person group spearheaded this decision. It's difficult to understand how such a small assembly could implement an action affecting countless people.
This announcement comes after the news of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s suspension, the third IFC chapter to be suspended this semester for violations against their chapter’s national standards and bylaws.
There’s no doubt action needs to be taken toward making reforms in the greek community, but such a radical and aggressive approach is not the answer. Taking such an approach without the consultation and consideration of other leaders in the community is especially uncalled for.
Unfortunately, stereotypes surrounding the greek community are negative more often than not. However, there are numerous benefits greek life can offer.
The core fundamentals of many Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council chapters revolve around leadership, community and personal growth. Graduation rates are 20 percent higher amongst those involved in greek life, and on average, greek organizations raise $7 million per year for charity.
Yes, sometimes mistakes are made and chapters, or individual members, fall short, but these instances should not be used as a rationale to punish all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not excusing or undermining the magnitude of such instances when they do transpire.
But if a similar situation were to occur within any other organization, the idea of such a radical decision would have been bounced back and forth between numerous leaders and higher-ups and would have been carefully considered before actually implemented.
The justification for the freeze was “It has become clear there are significant and systemic conduct problems in the IFC community that we must address, and we must address them now.”
But how can that be done when the members of that community have been kept in the dark thus far? How can you expect a community to band together to make significant changes if they are being denied the right to make decisions and told their voices do not matter? And finally, why punish all 24 active chapters when only four are under investigation? It simply does not make sense to punish the whole for the actions of a few.
Reforms are needed, I’m not denying that, but there are better ways to go about initiating them.
As of late last night, a special assembly was called where fraternity presidents voted in an interim IFC president, vice president and director of recruitment while the current IFC executive board undergoes a judicial review, the first step toward removing them from office. When reporters and other fraternity members tried to enter the assembly, they were kicked out and threatened with trespassing by an adviser.
Today, the freeze is still intact. However, I truly hope in the future, the voices of all members of the greek system will be taken into consideration before decisions that affect everyone are implemented.
Mallorie McBride is a sophomore from Overland Park studying journalism and business.