Greek Life–A Dream Deferred…pt. 1

by Zachary Smith
arts & life editor

This year, a popular topic on our majority Greek campus has been speculation about new or changed policies regarding new policies affecting Greek row. A brief historical background as to why these changes will be implemented might help begin this discussion. In an interview Megan James, Greek life director, traced the origin of these changes back to two years ago, when Dawn Watkins, Ph.D., of Plaid Strategies, an auditing group that specializes in Greek organizations, came in to review Millsaps’ Greek life. In his report, Watkins connected the Interfraternity Council’s (IFC) inability to govern the chapters effectively to the fraternity presidents lacking any form of substantial accountability. He saw this lack of accountability generating “an alcohol-saturated environment” where students can expect spend a “consistent three-nights per week [devoted to] partying.”

With Watkins’ report and others in mind, Millsaps’ office of student life organized a group called the “Fraternity and Sorority Life Task Force” (FSLTF). The members were Jennifer Rider (Phi Mu alumnae advisor), Marsh Nippes (Lambda Chi Alpha alumni advisor), Trent Wallis (Interfraternity Council president), Mary Katherine Simmons (Panhellenic president), Mat Binion (director of campus activities), Patrick Cooper (director of residence life and Pi Kappa Alpha advisor) and Megan James (director of fraternity and sorority Life).

They met to discuss “property management,” “social event and risk management policies” and “timing of formal recruitment.” After a series of talks, the group proposed a series of recommendations to improve or solve problems associated with those three categories.

With these recommendations from the FSLTF, the department of student life sent an email to the presidents of each Greek organization, highlighting new rules regarding Greek Life: (1) a dry men’s Bid Day (which also coupled with a scheduling conflict, prevented girls from Millsaps sororities from being able to participate in the festivities), (2) a redesigned party schedule, where fraternities can host a maximum of eight events on campus each semester, (3) a guest list fraternities must produce for the registration of those eight parties, allowing only three guests per member, (4) in addition to the minimum of two sober monitors present at each party, chapters must also finance a private security guard at $25 an hour to be present right in front of the house hosting the party.