With over 2,000 students at the University of Connecticut involved, it is fair to say that Greek life is an institution. The communities connected to it are filled with people who will defend it endlessly, but there are an equal number of people who continually call to dismantle the whole system. One thing is for certain: The current structure of Greek letter organization operations is out of control. One possible solution is to limit fraternities and sororities to only hosting parties on campus.
While UConn’s official Greek life page includes a “Statement on Unrecognized Groups,” it is vague and lacks information as to why organizations are banned. Furthermore, there seems to be different tiers in the system of unrecognized organizations, with unrecognized, removed and suspended all seeming to mean different things, but they are each not really differentiated. The vagueness of the official website aside, it’s important to recognize that many people who are new to Greek life will never reach this site at all. Instead, they’re going to get their information from various sources on campus, including their peers. Even though the university may revoke recognition, it is possible for off-campus organizations to continue operating. Without any outside regulation, these are the most dangerous of the bunch.
While off-campus organizations are an obvious red flag, legitimate organizations are not much better, especially when they hold events off UConn premises. Alpha Delta Phi, a recognized fraternity on campus, was in the news last semester because of a party held at an off-campus location on Storrs Road. In addition to the fact that this was during the height of the pandemic and put hundreds of lives at risk, an altercation occurred about which the CT Post said “as many as 30 people ‘jumped’ a person who attended the party.” What makes the matter worse is that clearly, the university had no power to stop any party that happened off campus, as the article states this was the second of the sort. ADP isn’t the only offender: In 2016, then-recognized fraternity Kappa Sigma held an off-campus party that was linked to the death of a 19-year old student who had attended.
In conclusion, if the university took a hard stance against Greek life party activity happening off campus, regardless if an organization is legitimate or not, overall risk factors would be greatly reduced. There shouldn’t be an easy loophole saying whenever a group wants to do something that UConn would frown upon, they just go a few blocks away.