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The Daily Tar Heel

3 IFC fraternities take social suspension

The groups had to choose a punishment for falling below UNC’s average GPA.

The social scene at UNC just got a little bit smaller.

On Monday, the first formal day of recruitment, three out of the four Interfraternity Council chapters who faced disciplinary actions over GPA requirements accepted semester-long social suspensions. The fourth group has yet to declare.

Aaron Bachenheimer, the director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Community Involvement, declined to comment on which fraternities had made the decision because the groups had until midnight to respond.

The four IFC chapters involved are Phi Gamma Delta, Zeta Psi, Pi Kappa Alpha and Pi Lambda Phi.

Social suspension is the prohibition of chapter-organized social events with or without alcohol, Bachenheimer said. This includes, but is not limited to, cocktails, date functions, mixers, tailgates and pregames.

The University’s performance-based recruitment policy, which was established in 2011, requires fraternity and sorority chapters to have an average GPA equal with or higher than the University-wide average — which Bachenheimer said was 3.208 in the spring of 2013 — for two consecutive semesters.

Seven Greek organizations were not in compliance with the GPA requirement as of spring 2013, and the University policy came into effect this semester.

Three Greek Alliance groups, which are multicultural fraternities and sororities, decided to forgo the recruitment of first-semester students, the original punishment necessitated by the policy.

The four IFC chapters decided to weigh their options after Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp offered the chapters an alternative punishment of social suspension. The chapters’ presidents could not be reached for comment.

Failure to declare automatically excludes a chapter from recruitment of first-semester students, Bachenheimer said.

“Not responding to the option is a response in and of itself,” Bachenheimer said.

If chapters choose the social suspension option, they can hold recruitment as usual.

There are limited exceptions for organized chapter activities if they choose the social suspension, Bachenheimer said.

Events that are alcohol-free and cleared in advance by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Community Involvement, such as a philanthropic events or a members-only event, are still allowed.

Crisp said in an interview last week that he offered this alternative punishment in order to promote the spirit and expectation of the policy — to encourage chapters to focus on academic successes and the transition to college life.

According to the policies, if the chapters fail to comply with or adhere to the restrictions or requirements imposed by the University, they will be referred to the Dean of Students, Jonathan Sauls, for further review. Consequences for violating either punishment can include revocation of University recognition.

Sauls’ recommendations would be forwarded to Crisp, who would then decide on the course of action if a fraternity does not comply with the punishment.

Steven Worsham, an alumnus of UNC who says he is a former member of a fraternity facing punishment, voiced his disappointment and frustration about the motives behind the punishments in a letter to the editor published by The Daily Tar Heel this week.

“We should be encouraging the students to raise their GPAs by offering practical advice and strategies for doing so, not spitting in their faces when they don’t meet our standards,” he wrote.

“What kind of message is the University sending here?”

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