COLUMBIA, Mo. – Changes could be coming to fraternities and sororities at the University of Missouri.
A 40-member task force made recommendations to the university Tuesday after nearly a year of discussion. University leadership said the conversations began as they sought ways to ensure student safety, address longstanding issues like alcohol abuse and improve diversity.
"What's been on the minds dealing with these recommendations has been safety," said Christian Basi, spokesperson for the university. "How do we make sure that our students can come to Mizzou, be part of the Greek community, can experience everything that is Greek, but do so in a safe manner, and do so in a way that also elevates their educational experience here?"
Basi said an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 students are part of Mizzou's Greek community, which includes more than two dozen chapter houses.
The task force—made up of students, advisors, representatives from national Greek organizations and other volunteers—began by recommending the university limit the number of freshmen men who may move into fraternity houses. Basi said this idea was first presented by members of the Greek community, who recognized the current policy, which allows freshmen men to move into fraternity houses during their first year on campus, could create problems.
If adopted, the new policy would group fraternities into tiers. The highest performing chapters would be allowed to accept freshmen residents in the fall semester. The second-tier group would be able to accept freshmen residents in the spring semester.
According to Basi, tiers will be based on academics, member participation, obeying university policy, and maintaining a substance-free environment in the chapter house.
Other recommendations include limiting social events with alcohol to Thursdays through Sundays and prohibiting parties during the first week of classes.
The university also wants a defined a policy encouraging students to report hazing.
"If you witness hazing, if you witness anything inappropriate, you need to tell us," said Basi. "You will not be punished for it."
Over the next few weeks, the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs will collect public input on the recommendation, according to Basi. Decisions will be announced soon after. Implementation of some of the measures may begin immediately, while others, like the issue concerning freshmen housing, will not go into practice until fall of 2019.