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Greek organizations face possible consequences due to GPA requirements

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Four Greek houses could soon face losing University recognition, and even more could lose the ability to recruit first semester freshmen starting this fall.

These possibilities are a result of Greek system reform completed last spring by the Board of Trustees, which includes raising GPA requirements.

On Wednesday, the board’s student affairs committee received an update on those reforms.

Starting in the fall, all Greek organizations were required to attain at least a 2.7 average GPA to keep University recognition, up from 2.5.

Four fraternities and sororities do not currently meet this requirement, according to GPA averages from fall 2011.

If these chapters fail to meet the benchmark after two or more consecutive semesters, they could face losing University recognition, said Aaron Bachenheimer, director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Community Involvement.

Bachenheimer said groups will work with the office to draft an academic improvement plan to prepare for future semesters.

The four groups are part of either the Greek Alliance Council or National Pan-Hellenic Council, which on an average consist of 10 members per chapter and don’t typically don’t own houses.

“The rule does not treat small organizations unfairly,” said Winston Crisp, vice chancellor for student affairs.

“We are aware that one person in a smaller chapter having a bad semester could affect the overall GPA of the organization.”

That’s what happened to Alpha Epsilon Omega sorority, which has a 2.48 cumulative GPA.

President Chazle’ Lassiter said in an email that one of the members is suffering from a serious illness, which has led to several incomplete grades on her transcript.

“She is the main reason for our group’s GPA suffering as a whole, but the others are all striving to keep their grades up by studying together and motivating each other on a weekly basis, especially during our chapter meetings every Sunday,” Lassiter said.

If a group doesn’t work to raise its GPA, members will be referred to the Dean of Students Office, Bachenheimer said.

Beginning this fall, Greek organizations must reach or exceed the campus average GPA to be able to recruit first-semester freshmen during fall rush.

The campus average is about 3.1 and fluctuates with each semester, according to data from 2006 to 2011.

As of fall 2011, nine chapters of those that traditionally open fall rush to freshmen sit below the campus average, 3.162.

But a group would have to fail this requirement two consecutive semesters, making fall 2013 the first semester a ban could occur, Bachenheimer said.

“The Board (of Trustees) had particular concerns about the effect of the transition to college on academic success for first-year, first-semester students, so the organizations who are allowed to recruit these students right away should show academic excellence,” Crisp said.

Contact the University Editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

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