Union College tightens rules on parties
Frat, sorority events by invitation only
SCHENECTADY Just like an invitation-only celebrity party, if Union College students aren’t on the list, they aren’t getting in.
Fraternities and sororities that organize on-campus parties must now register at least a week in advance, send out invitations and check people at the door.
And if you’re a freshman, don’t bother — at least this weekend. They aren’t allowed to attend Greek parties until five weeks into the school year.
“They cracked down a lot,” said junior Kyle Mchugh of Oneonta, a member of Chi Psi.
College officials made the change to curb a problem with parties that sometimes got out of hand with excessive drinking. The college recently made Newsweek’s list as the No. 5 party school.
The changes also are partly in response to an incident last Oct. 7, when four students attending a party at the Delta Delta Delta sorority were taken to the hospital after heavy drinking. The sorority was stripped of its housing and pledging privileges after that incident.
Sophomore Arian Holman explained why the administration had to require invitation-only parties, where freshmen especially overindulged. “There was so many people, it would get out of control,” she said.
A Greek member who did not want to give his name said there hadn’t been any parties during the first few weeks of the semester because of the new requirement to give college officials a week’s notice.
Some students hate the new policy, which is driving parties off campus, says Cody Menge of Broadalbin. “The off-campus parties aren’t the same. They’re just like social gatherings,” he said.
This will be the first weekend that parties are allowed.
Junior Matt Kurzweil of Kappa Alpha said he believes the college is not allowing freshmen to attend parties right away because “they don’t want them to think the social life here revolves around Greek life.” The Greek organizations are taking a wait-and-see approach as to how implementing the new regulations will work, Kurzweil added.
Steve Leavitt, vice president for student affairs, said Greek officials suggested these changes so they would have better control over their parties and limit the number of people who attended. There had been a problem of students congregating outside the fraternities and sororities to try to get in.
“It was causing rowdy behavior, people getting frustrated that they’re not going to get in, mouthing off and just being a headache,” he said.
Another reason to prohibit freshmen from attending these parties during the first five weeks is to combat the perception that Greek life is all about partying and alcohol. “They wanted to get away from the idea that as soon as you get back, partying starts,” Leavitt said.
Most of the first-year students are underage and can’t drink anyway, he added.
Students have been getting the word out during orientations. Leavitt said it wasn’t a response to the Newsweek ranking. All of these changes were set in motion last year. He called the magazine’s methodology “ridiculous” because it bases the ranking of students cited for disciplinary actions — not on the amount of partying or drinking. All that proves is that the Office of Student Affairs is doing its job.
Leavitt said he has heard some grumbling but pointed out that freshman students based on their impressions on comments from upperclassmen.
“They’re probably not all that concerned with the fact that they’re not able to get into parties just because they don’t realize any different,” he said.