The Row in need of reform
Thursday nights at USC and fraternity parties on The Row —the two seem to go hand in hand. But it looks as if 28th Street will be a much quieter place Thursday evenings, for at least the rest of the semester.
In a meeting with representatives from the Greek community last week, Vice President for Student Affairs Michael L. Jackson announced houses on The Row will no longer be allowed to host informal parties Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Although the events that have perpetuated the negative Greek image have no real connection to the weeknight parties that have been banned, the USC administration is sending a strong message to the Greek community, and rightfully so.
Restriction of informal, unregistered parties on The Row, however, does not address the heart of the recent problems facing our fraternities and sororities.
Besides the fact that the two incidents making headlines had nothing to do with parties, the Row-wide social probation means the entire Greek system is being punished for the mistakes of a specific few.
Many houses on The Row that uphold community standards will have to face the same repercussions as those that were involved in the notorious incidents.
The lockdown on weeknight parties should, however, serve as a jarring wake-up call for the Greek system.
Certainly, the harsh reality of the second social restriction on The Row in a single year should be enough to alert us that something needs to change.
In the meeting Thursday, Jackson did not focus solely on the two incidents involving members of Kappa Sigma.
He said despite the many productive things the Greek community has done for USC, there have been significant problems in both this semester and previous ones.
Last semester, for example, The Row was placed on social probation after 16 Interfraternity Council chapters were cited for unauthorized parties and several students were transported to the hospital for alcohol poisoning.
These problems not only affect the students involved, but also shine a negative light on the university as a whole.
The Greek community is a substantial part of the Trojan Family, and members should be responsible representatives of USC.
Lately, too many things seem to have been taken for granted within the Greek community, including the ability to throw parties Tuesday and Thursday nights.
According to university policy, these weeknight parties were never technically allowed, but Jackson said the policy wasn’t strictly enforced because the Greek community managed to conduct itself well.
The fact that Jackson and others feel the policy now needs to be enforced means Greeks no longer enjoy a favorable “blind eye” from the university.
The Row will be under heavier scrutiny, and it is up to Greek students to make sure we handle ourselves accordingly.
Jackson will be setting up a task force of Greek leaders to devise long- term solutions to the problems on The Row. This is a solid start, but changing the public’s perception of USC Greeks will take a concerted group effort.
Pat Lauer, president of IFC, told the Daily Trojan last week that Greeks need to take it upon themselves to fix their image.
“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.”
What Lauer said should ring true with every member of the Greek community at USC.
Although the most recent incidents might not have involved every house on The Row, it is every house’s responsibility to present the Greek system as a positive force within the university.
If not, the Row could stand to lose much more than just the privilege of partying on weeknights.
Jared Servantez is a freshman majoring in print and digital journalism and a member of an IFC fraternity.