Interfraternity Council President Drew Cooper expressed optimism about the reinstatement status of 36 suspended IFC chapters, an indication that Ohio State’s efforts at reforming Greek life are progressing.
Cooper and Student Life leadership have held ongoing discussions with chapter presidents since Ohio State laid out its university-wide ban on IFC social activities in November, and it appears reinstatement across the board might be on the horizon.
“Overall, I am certainly hopeful that each chapter will be back to full reinstatement within the next couple of weeks,” Cooper said.
As of Monday, 31 of the 36 chapters have been approved for recruitment events and 16 for new member activities, as well, according to Ohio State’s recently created webpage aimed at improving transparency. Nine chapters have been approved for social events, which can only occur if they are approved of new member and recruitment activities first.
Tuesday, the day after sororities hand out their bids to new members, has previously been celebrated by IFC parties. During sorority recruitment the Panhellenic Association enacts an alcohol ban, prohibiting its members from drinking during the rush period. Only time will tell if the lack of social approval will affect this “tradition” for many IFC chapters.
The website is part of the university’s broader attempts to change the culture within the Greek community following an unprecedented number of IFC chapter investigations Autumn Semester, which led to the blanket temporary suspension.
“We’ve been getting very strong positive feedback about the website and I think one of the things that’s true about all of this is that the goal here is to change the entire community culture,” said Dave Isaacs, spokesman for the Office of Student Life. “By allowing each group to see the status of the other groups and where other chapters are, I think it helps everyone pull together.”
Cooper said he believes it’s important to keep the student body updated on stages of reinstatement.
In November, all social, recruitment and new member activities for IFC chapters were suspended after 11 of the chapters were under investigation for possible violations of the Code of Student Conduct.
Each IFC chapter — even those who were not under investigation — must complete specific steps in order to gain approval to resume activities for recruitment, new-member and social events. Chapters must draft and submit a detailed plan for how they will conduct each type of event, according to an eight-page action plan sent to fraternities in December from the Office of Student Life.
Ohio State crafted the action plan with the hopes of reinstating the chapters before recruitment season began this month, a time in which fraternities seek new members and grow individual chapters.
Each chapter must provide a detailed outline of activities that include aspects such as alcohol and hazing prevention, then submit the plan to Student Life. The Sorority and Fraternity Life team then will review each plan and make tweaks as necessary to improve clarity.
To get final approval, the plan must be approved by SFL, alumni advisers, and the chapter’s national organization.
“We have been very quick to review plans as they come in,” Isaacs said. “The time frame for all of this is purely in the hands of the chapters and their national organizations.”
Isaacs said the ultimate goal is to see a Greek culture that reflects the values of Ohio State.
“I think a small number of fraternities are still working on their plans and have not yet submitted them,” he said. “We work with the [fraternities] very rapidly and it is in everyone’s best interest that the entire community move forward in a positive way.”