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The Daily Tar Heel

Rushing to judgment: New regulations likely to drive rush underground

No university-imposed regulation can deter students from getting their post-summer fix of dating, drinking and debauchery.

While the intentions are good, the Interfraternity Council’s newly instated regulations on fraternity rush events during the recruitment period foster dangerous situations for first-year recruits.

The new rules prohibit the consumption of alcohol in fraternity houses by moving the official rush period — traditionally “dry rush” ­— to the first week of school. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp said he hoped the changes would discourage fraternities from participating in any kind of “underground rush.”

This sentiment ignores the reality that “underground rush” is what this policy incentivizes.

IFC rules state that security guards are required to be present at all parties. By striking in-house fraternity parties from the recruitment period, the new rules effectively move parties to unmonitored off-campus locations.

Hosts can do what they want without being accountable to the IFC. These parties also take students far from the range of the P2P and SafeWalk.

This promotes drinking and driving or having to walk long distances in unfamiliar, often unlit areas. Coupled with the temptation to go crazy during the first week of school, this is a recipe for disaster. It is hardly the right message to send to new students.

An evaluation of the rush period was certainly warranted. The IFC’s new regulations follow the alcohol-related death of Delta Kappa Epsilon president Courtland Smith during last year’s recruitment period. The rules might appease the University and the Board of Trustees.

But the resulting off-campus parties counteract the intended consequences of the regulations. Reverting to the former rush system may not be the best option, but in many ways it was better and safer than the new system.

If the University wants to protect students during rush, it should increase IFC monitoring of parties in fraternity houses to make sure that students have safe ways to get home.

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