IFC loosens Welcome Back Nights restrictions

After the last Interfraternity Council cracked down on safety during the pre-rush period, the new IFC board is moving to relax those regulations.

On patrol · Department of Public Safety officers and LAPD officers monitor activities on The Row during last year’s Welcome Back Nights, the period before rush. - Brandon Hui | Daily Trojan

During last year’s Welcome Back Nights — the period before rush — IFC banned hard alcohol, common sources of alcohol, such as kegs, and prohibited non-Greeks from attending parties. Though the bans concerning alcohol will remain in place, IFC will not monitor who visits The Row during the pre-rush period.

Instead, both Greeks and non-Greeks will be welcomed at Welcome Back Nights. Parker Adams, IFC’s vice president for public relations, said it is extremely difficult to monitor who attends the Welcome Back Nights party.

“The main reason [for the change] was that it was very hard to enforce that rule and to even determine who is Greek and not Greek,” Adams said. “It was not feasible to assume that members could discern Greeks from non-Greeks.”

Last year’s IFC board had decided to implement the new, stricter rules in hopes of increasing safety after several students were hospitalized during the fall 2008 pre-rush period, according to former IFC president Nick Hamada. The board worked in conjunction with the USC Department of Public Safety to monitor alcohol consumption and compliance with IFC and university policies.

Former IFC President Nick Hamada said the board met with DPS and university officials to develop the regulations for last year’s pre-rush.

“Above all, it was a concern for student safety and recognizing that pre-rush had developed a culture that wasn’t always safe for students,” Hamada said.

Last year’s new measures were aimed not only at increasing safety, but also at preventing chapters from gaining an unfair advantage in the recruitment process.

“Chapters were coming back from break and having social events. That’s a part of fraternity life, [but] these types of social events were not supposed to be used for recruiting,” Hamada said.

Wednesday marks the beginning of Welcome Back Nights for most fraternities on The Row. Daily Trojan | Ian Elston

Jessica LaBarbera, a senior majoring in communication and memory of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority, said although she felt the new rules made last year’s parties more subdued than in previous years, they also created a safer atmosphere.

“Maybe it wasn’t as fun, but I know it was safer, so that’s a trade-off I’m willing to take,” LaBarbera said. “I felt like people were more in control because there wasn’t as much alcohol around.”

DPS Capt. David Carlisle said DPS wants to continue to work with IFC and be proactive in creating safety measures.

“DPS has an excellent relationship with the IFC,” he said. “We share the same goals of maintaining a safe environment in which the Greek community can live, work and go to school.”

Though the new IFC board intends to continue working to improve safety on The Row, current IFC president Eric Ronan said the board will shift its focus to other issues, including creating scholarship opportunities, enhancing communication and expanding community service.