UPIFC vs. USC IFC policies: A breakdown

(Trenyce Tong | Daily Trojan)

With several fraternities recently announcing their disaffiliation from USC’s Interfraternity Council to form the new University Park Interfraternity Council, these fraternities no longer face due disciplinary process from the University if they violate the values and policies of the University and the IFC. 

The University’s values are outlined in SCampus, the 130-page student handbook that covers everything from academic integrity to discrimination and harassment. The IFC’s policies include detailed diversity, equity and inclusion reforms, as well as an 11-page preliminary action plan to address issues of sexual violence and misconduct in reaction to the multiple reports of drugging and sexual assault reported at Sigma Nu last October. 

In contrast, the UPIFC has one three-page document, titled “University Park IFC Constitution and Bylaws,” which outlines a “University Park IFC Events Policy” and is accessible through a Google Drive link on their official website.

Here is a quick summary of what may change now that fraternities have disaffiliated from the University:

Social gatherings

According to the University, event hosting and participation is a “privilege of recognized fraternities and sororities in good standing, and can be revoked based on change in organization status.” Therefore, when the University deems that an organization is not in “good standing,” they can invoke a suspension of all social gatherings of the organization — as they did when they imposed a fraternity-wide ban on all social activities last October. 

Following the incident, the University also implemented a detailed plan for a phased return to normal social activities after March 2022, conditional upon compliance with revised IFC policies, such as the full completion of all members’ prevention training requirements, the signing of a new accountability agreement and a more comprehensive event planning and review process.

The UPIFC Events Policy writes that “Chapters are limited to 15 large Social Events per academic semester. Large Social events include tailgates, house parties, and formals.” However, the parameters of these events, including the estimated number of people in attendance, are not defined.

There is also no clear mention of a governance structure of the fraternities’ social activities mentioned in the UPIFC Events Policy. The only mention of a higher governing authority occurs in the clause that, “Chapter event plans must follow Chapter inter/national organization requirements, local and state law.” 

Though both the University and the UPIFC require fraternities to register the social events they intend to hold, it is unclear how the UPIFC will hold organizations who violate their policies accountable.


The policies on UPIFC regarding alcohol are similar to the University’s alcohol policy of social gatherings, with the UPIFC directly paraphrasing the terms stated on the University’s Event Hosting Document for Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Development in their Events Policy.

The majority of the policies regarding alcohol are identical, including the prohibition of alcohol products above 15% alcohol by volume and activities like drinking games that encourage the rapid consumption of alcohol. The policies also encourage fraternities to take measures to identify those under the legal drinking age of 21.

However, there are a few minor differences. While the University prohibits “[c]ommon sources of alcohol, including bulk quantities,” the UPIFC allows bulk alcohol if it is being “served by a licensed and insured third party vendor.” Additionally, while the University regulates philanthropy events by limiting them to one day and requiring them to be alcohol-free, the UPIFC does not mention this. 

The UPIFC does make it a requirement for fraternities to provide water at social events and encourages them to provide food.

Sexual violence

The reports of sexual violence and drugging at Sigma Nu last October forced the University to take greater action to condemn and prevent further incidences of sexual violence in fraternities. Several policy changes included the completion of all fraternity members’ University-mandated prevention education modules, an increase in the number of weekly meetings for pre-event planning and post-event reviews and stationing security guards at stairs or hallways leading to bedrooms at social gatherings. 

The UPIFC’s “Events Policy” has several similarities to University policy. It does not mandate,  but still strongly encourages, the use of security guards to ensure guests do not venture away from the party space and designated restrooms. Fraternities under the UPIFC are also required to have benzodiazepine test strips accessible at each registered event for guests to use to test beverages for contamination.

While the University has a slew of workshops and programs to educate members of the Greek system about consent and sexual violence, there is no mention of any such initiatives being rolled out for fraternities in the UPIFC, other than a rule that all fraternities will have to make guests and brothers aware of the “Pillars of Consent” at the entrance of all social events. There is no extra information provided about what constitutes these “Pillars of Consent”.


In addition to California state law and respective chapter regulations, the University lists various prohibited actions it considers to be part of hazing and writes that having a “choice” to participate in these activities does not mean the actions are compliant to guidelines. The University cites the coercive power of peer pressure and power dynamics of individuals seeking to gain membership into an organization.

On the other hand, UPIFC’s Events Policy makes no mention of hazing, other than declaring that “[c]hapter members or guests must not permit, encourage, coerce, glorify or participate in any activities involving the rapid consumption of alcohol, such as drinking games” as part of their Events Policy.

Diversity, equity & inclusion

The disaffiliation of fraternities rolls back the many diversity and inclusion initiatives the University has rolled out over the past few years, as fraternities no longer have an obligation to adopt them. A few of these initiatives include the restructuring of recruitment and the IFC executive board to accommodate the formation of a DEI committee, and the creation of a Black and Indigenous people and people of color Scholarship to promote inclusivity in both new members and existing leadership.

The UPIFC does not mention anything about promoting diversity and inclusion or its leadership structure, and it is unclear whether these existing initiatives put forth by the University’s IFC will be continued.