Vice President of Student Affairs Michael L. Jackson placed The Row on social probation Thursday, prohibiting informal gatherings at fraternities on Tuesday and Thursday nights for the rest of the spring semester because of the recent negative events within the Greek community.
Parties at fraternity houses will only be allowed Fridays and Saturdays, according to Jackson. These events must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development.
“If houses are found in violation of these instructions, they will be placed on immediate suspension pending a group judicial hearing,” Jackson wrote in an email.
Jackson met with more than 150 leaders from USC fraternities and sororities Thursday to discuss the state of The Row, which has been plagued by behavioral problems and public incidents this year.
“We discussed the collective responsibility chapters have for their members and that the Greek Councils have for their chapters,” Jackson wrote.
This is the second time this year The Row has been placed on social probation.
The Row was shut down Aug. 30, after 16 Interfraternity Council chapters were cited for unauthorized parties. Eight students were taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning during what is often referred to by students as “Black Monday.”
More recently, a misogynistic email sent on the Kappa Sigma fraternity listserv spread virally around campus and beyond, and graphic photos of a suspended member of Kappa Sigma appearing to have sex on the rooftop of Waite Phillips Hall made national news.
Pat Lauer, president of IFC, said the leaders of USC fraternities and sororities understand how serious the situation is, and now they need to pass that message on to all of the Greek members.
“Because of everything that’s happened, we need to get our act together completely and identify our weak points and improve upon them,” Lauer said. “It’s up to the leaders to help change the culture of the Greek community that has taken a negative turn.”
Denzil Suite, associate vice president for Student Affairs, will be heading the task force, which will address issues including risk management, hazing, sexual assault, healthy relationships, alcohol and substance abuse, knowledge of USC policies, and chapter fire, health and safety programs.
“I told students that we are depending on them to step up as leaders of their organizations, that [Student Affairs] will provide leadership, guidance and support, and that we want USC to have the strongest possible Greek community,” Jackson wrote.
Lauer said the Greek community needs to make sure the negative attention from these actions does not conceal the positive things the Greek community brings to the university.
“We’re kind of on thin ice right now, and we need to take it upon ourselves to confront these challenges we are faced with,” Lauer said.
Jackson pointed out that USC’s Greek community has the highest GPA of any school west of the Mississippi and has received many national awards for service and leadership.
“The hard work students devote to community service, philanthropic activity and participation in providing leadership for the broader USC student community is severely tarnished when members’ actions are arrogant, selfish, show a lack of respect for others, and threaten women in our community,” Jackson wrote.
It is up to the members of the Greek community to change this negative perception, according to Lauer.
“We owe it to ourselves to fix this image,” Lauer said.