The conversation regarding the coddling of American college students remains ongoing, but if this phenomenon does exist, then University administrators are actively encouraging it. With a new 11-page list of policies for greek events, USC seems intent to further its war not only against greek life in particular, but also against student choice, liberty and self-reliance in general.
The guidelines, obtained by Campus Reform and confirmed by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Leadership, codifies the worst critiques about greek life into campus law. For instance, the new rules forbid houses from advertising their events online and they mandate the submission of a comprehensive guest list to Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development at least 24 hours before parties and a final guest list stating who actually showed up within 48 hours after the end of each party. Furthermore, greek institutions cannot advertise their parties on Facebook or on campus, rendering them effectively invite-only.
These stipulations are a 90-degree turn from the current precedent for admission to frat parties, in which all women, regardless of greek or non-greek affiliation or appearance, are granted free admission and only men are put on a list. Now, not only are frat parties encouraged to be more exclusive, paving the way for the possibility of discrimination, but the University will also have a record of not only which parties students are invited to, but also which they attend.
Other guidelines include requiring one security guard for every 50 guests and clearing performance artists with the Department of Public Safety five weeks in advance. Some of the rules are simply restatements of already existing rules, such as the ban of hard alcohol in fraternity and sorority houses. However, on the whole, the rules are a part of the University’s greater plan, to cut off the lifeblood of Greek life: its ability to host social events.
These guidelines are just one step of many of the University’s attempts to implement social control on legal adults. The actions imply that the University does not trust or respect students’ rights to choose when and how they socialize, strangely discriminating against only social chapters of the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils. For example, the Academic and Graduate Student Senates called for deferred greek recruitment last semester; however, a unanimous vote in favor of a resolution against deferring greek rush delayed these efforts. Yet somehow, these measures said to be imposed for the well-being and safety of all students ignore the majority of student life.
Only 20 percent of undergraduate women are in sororities and about 25 percent of undergraduate men are in fraternities. Though frat parties do set the tone for a large portion of USC’s famous party scene, they hardly comprise the majority. Dozens of parties with hundreds of people in attendance are held every weekend in houses on Menlo. Even more are held throughout University Park, and none of these parties have a list of rules the size of a Sturm und Drang novella to follow. For nearly all other non-greek parties, you can simply enter for $5 or for free, have unregulated access to alcohol, and avoid security guards.
I do not bring up these other parties to point fingers and say that these other parties should be regulated with the condescension and little regard for individual liberty that USC’s frat parties are. Instead, I mean that DPS’ control of noise complaints and rowdiness on Menlo and other non-greek University Park parties has worked so far, so USC should let go of its vendetta and place a little more faith in its admissions team and moreover, its students.
Tiana Lowe is a sophomore majoring in math and economics. “Point/Counterpoint” runs Tuesdays.