We don’t usually cover Greek fraternities and sororities. In fact, this may be the first-ever post on the topic for a company started in 1996! However, here we are.
Let’s start a year ago, when USC banned all fraternity activities following a string of sexual assault and drug allegations. This past March, USC did allow Greek activities to resume. Perhaps not surprisingly, this led to hard feelings. So, as of yesterday, ten of USC’s fourteen interfraternity council member chapters disaffiliated from the school. These breakaway fraternities have formed an independent organization called the University Park Interfraternity Council (UPIFC).
Greek organizations have a long history of fierce independence and rebelling against university authority. What tends to keep them governed by their university has been access to club fairs and campus committees. They also retain access to free educational training in Title IX regulations and sexual assault prevention through university governance. In turn, this has allowed universities to exert some control over these largely independent organizations.
Also, this is not the first instance of fraternities cutting ties with their universities. Similar incidents have occurred in recent years at schools including Duke and the University of Michigan. It is just starting to look more like perhaps it will become a larger, national trend.
The decision to join a fraternity or sorority is a very personal one. The best option for one student may not likely be the best option for another student. Greek life is pretty big at USC with nearly 30% of the students belonging to a Greek organization.
USC released a statement explaining, “We are disappointed that some USC fraternities are following an unfortunate national trend by disaffiliating from the university—against our strong recommendations. This decision is detrimental and goes against 130 years of tradition. We strongly urge students not to join these unaffiliated organizations or attend their events.”
The UPIFC released its own statement to provide its viewpoint, “Over the past several years, our partnership with USC has significantly deteriorated, and became largely unworkable after USC unilaterally suspended, without explanation or cause, all organizational activities for nearly half of the 2021-22 school year. This new Council is designed to provide chapters and their members with a substantially more focused, timely and consistent process for input, discipline and accountability”