Post Classifieds

UAlbany seeks to crack down on "illegal" fraternities

By Jessie Markovetz
On January 29, 2007

Forget double-secret probation from Dean Wormer.

"Animal House" frats that aren't recognized by the university may start feeling the heat as officials look to crack down on questionable off-campus fraternities.

Students involved in the "illegal" fraternities and sororities face disciplinary warning and possible suspension.

The Office of Student Activities is beginning to crack down on unrecognized fraternities and sororities at UAlbany.

Last semester, students in these organizations had the opportunity to reapply for recognition by the school. As of publication, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity is the only one attempting to be re-recognized.

The amnesty program was offered to students in October 2006 as a means of reuniting groups with their national chapters. Students who applied had to provide documentation verifying the national chapter's support of their recognition.

As part of the amnesty month, judicial sanctions against groups and individuals were not processed based on information from their applications.

"The safety and security of our students is our number one priority" said Mike Jaromin, Director of Student Activities.

There is no way of knowing how many unrecognized fraternities and sororities are operating off campus according to Jaromin however, Interfraternity Council President Dave Fooden puts the number at three to four.

But, it's possible there could be many more.

Students involved in unrecognized fraternities and sororities are in violation of the Community Rights and Responsibilities. Penalties range from disciplinary warning to suspension from school depending on how serious the violation is according to Clarence McNeill, director of Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility.

"Groups can be banned depending on the seriousness of the incident" said Fooden.

Currently, there are no fraternities or sororities completely banned from UAlbany. Groups can become unrecognized for a variety of violations including allowing first-semester freshmen to rush, hazing pledges, and offering alcohol to underage students according to McNeill.

"I feel very positive about the amnesty program as it seems consistent with our restorative justice model for working with our students," said McNeill.

The Student Activities Office consulted both McNeill's office as well as the Office of the Vice President of Student Success. This program was even discussed with late president Kermit Hall in spring of 2006.

"I think fraternities are very important....they provide a community within a community" said Fraternity/Sorority Affairs Coordinator Nancy Lauricella.

The main reason for offering groups the opportunity to be recognized is to create a strong Greek system at UAlbany according to Lauricella.

Only three percent of students at UAlbany are involved in Greek life and nationally, membership in fraternities and sororities has declined, according to Lauricella.

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