With pressure from the university, the Interfraternity Council advised chapters to cancel Welcome Back Nights events scheduled for Thursday night.
In a letter to the IFC executive board, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development recommended fraternities rethink their plans to hold social events on Thursday.
“It has come to the attention of The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development that events during the period called ‘Welcome Back Nights’ have created an alarming concern for safety in the Greek and university community,” the letter stated. “At the highest request of the Department of Public Safety and with consultation with Senior Administration, it is the expectation that any and all events occurring tonight on Thursday, January 14, 2010 be cancelled.”
Though the letter did not order events be cancelled, Eric Ronan, president of IFC, said he strongly suggested the houses follow the university’s recommendation.
“I advised them, because of the advice of DPS and the advice of the university, that they should follow the advice of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life,” Ronan said. “But it’s at their discretion.”
Ronan said the recommendation from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development was prompted mainly by the large number of non-USC students who attempted to attend the Welcome Back Nights events on Wednesday.
“Our fraternity policy is that only USC students are allowed to come to the events, and, unfortunately, there were a lot of non-USC students trying to get in, and, when they weren’t allowed, that was what caused a lot of the congestion,” Ronan said.
Thursday’s DPS incident log noted that DPS officers responded to several instances of large groups of people gathered outside of fraternity houses.
DPS Capt. David Carlisle said there were more than 2,000 people on The Row Wednesday night. Carlisle also noted that parties on weeknights are against university policy.
SCampus states “formally organized parties and dances may be scheduled only between 3 p.m. on Friday through 5 p.m. on Sunday.” Despite this policy, Carlisle said fraternities can sometimes still host social events on weeknights.
“Over the past couple of years there have been gentlemen’s agreements that if they’re inside the house and there’s nobody out drinking and we can’t hear the music outside, we might have an agreement that that’s not a party. But occasionally people become more lax and they turn into parties, like last night when there were more than 2,000 people.”
Ronan said he is not sure how non-USC students caught wind of the Welcome Back Nights events.
Carlisle said six parties were shut down by DPS Wednesday. He noted, however, that all the fraternities were cooperative.
DPS Lieutenant Jim Fairrington said officers did not inform the houses there would be additional repercussions for parties held Thursday, as such a policy was not in place.
The letter from the university did say, however, that if DPS exhausted its resources Thursday night, “LAPD will be forced to respond.”
Ronan noted that there were no alcohol-related issues Wednesday night.
“The only real issue was the volume of people,” he said.
Carlisle echoed this sentiment.
“There were large groupings at different houses on The Row, but there was nothing outrageous or out of control at these houses,” he said.