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Greek system to institute reforms, new office starting this fall

Greek system to institute reforms, new office starting this fall

Nearly eight months after the Board of Trustees urged reform for the Greek system, the methods used to accomplish that reform are beginning to take shape in time for fall recruitment.

The reform will be coordinated largely through a restructured Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, which just months ago had no staff.

The office will conduct a more substantial orientation for new members of the Greek system, as well as more instructional seminars for members.

Last fall, members of the Board of Trustees expressed concern that freshmen are forced to choose too quickly to join the Greek system. In November, the board mandated spring rush for all Greek organizations, and presented a set of instructions to Winston Crisp, vice chancellor for student affairs.

“A lot of girls felt pressure to go into recruitment immediately after coming into school,” said Lindsey Stephens, president of the Panhellenic Council. “They needed to know basically a week into school whether or not they were going to make this commitment.”

Stephens said sororities in the council have caps on the number of new recruits they accept each year due to national policies, which make sororities favor freshmen.

But starting this fall, these sororities will reserve a certain number of spots for non-freshmen.

Brent Macon, Interfraternity Council president, said pressure for freshmen to join is not as strong for fraternities because they do not have recruitment caps.

Macon added that the Panhellenic Council and the IFC will advertise spring rush more heavily.

Along with changes to recruitment, the IFC and Panhellenic Council will provide orientation for pledges about topics like risk management, alcohol and campus involvement, said Aaron Bachenheimer, interim director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

In March, the board changed the GPA requirement from 2.5 to 2.7 for chapters to receive University recognition for this fall.

But Bachenheimer said a Greek organization that does not reach a 2.7 will not lose recognition as long as it is working with the office to reach that goal.

“These are not axes that will drop for these groups,” Bachenheimer said. “These are benchmarks.”

Crisp said he took these changes as an opportunity to expand the office to become a resource for all off-campus students.

Last week, the office moved to Granville Towers South.

Bachenheimer said the office will help students with issues like leases, city ordinances and budgets. He added that he hopes it can serve as a liaison between the University and the Town of Chapel Hill.

“(One of our goals) is helping students really see themselves as part of the community, and that means everything from finding ways to get involved in the community to also recognizing that they are now neighbors,” he said.

Each of the four councils will be assigned space in the new office, which will include two conference rooms for general use, Bachenheimer said.

“They really have a place to call their own that they did not have before,” he said.

Crisp said a new director should be in place by the start of the academic year, with three coordinators joining shortly after.

A restructuring of the division of student affairs along with a $25 fee for all Greek members freed the money to finance the move and new positions, Crisp said.

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