By Ann Tipton Lesslie
Looking for more ways to meet people? Are you interested in going to a fraternity house party? If so, you may be out of luck… unless you know a fraternity brother. Fraternity house parties have long been a part of Furman’s Greek life and have provided a venue for social gatherings on the weekends. However, a recent change in the Inter-Fraternity Council rules has reshaped the way fraternities host parties.
Now, fraternities must submit a guest list 24 hours in advance of the party, and the fraternity is only allowed four guests per member. If there are more people that the fraternity wants to invite, there are 25 extra guests who can be included in addition to the four-per-member limit. This type of regulation is unreasonable. Previously, the rules concerning fraternity guest lists were more comprehensive, including all freshmen students, all members of Greek organizations, and a list of independent students that the fraternity wished to include. The former policy included many more students than the current rule allows. The new rule makes the guest list more restrictive and could be detrimental to fraternity-hosted events.
This new rule poses a specific problem at Furman because unlike other universities, Furman usually has only one fraternity house party per night. If students want to go to an event at a fraternity house, they usually have only one option, compelling students to congregate at the same party. This has been beneficial in the past because it encouraged camaraderie among students. With the new rule, the guest list will be more confined, and students who are not on the list will have few alternatives.
The rule was changed because a national representative from one of the fraternities on campus alerted Furman that the university had been violating its guest list policy. The representative told Edward Young, Assistant Director of North Village and Greek Life, that the guest list policy should be changed in order to be in accordance with the risk management policy of the Fraternal Information and Programming Group.
Although the guest list policy now complies with FIPG regulations, it may put a strain on fraternities, as they must now turn students away who are not on the list. This could put the fraternities in a compromising position. No fraternity wants to turn people away from an event, especially during the fall rush season. This new policy is contrary to Furman’s spirit of inclusiveness. For a freshman who might not know many upperclassmen, this could be a huge discouragement.
Requiring organizations to turn in a formal guest list prior to the event seems unrealistic. How could a complete and accurate guest list be formed that far in advance? Many students decide merely a few hours before an event whether or not to attend. It is also impractical to expect fraternities to send students home when they are given no resources to help them do so. There are no third party security personnel present at these events to help check the list and send students away; it is solely up to the fraternity. These measures do not seem feasible given that many more people might want to attend than the new guest list allows.
Although the new policy now complies with FIPG regulations, the guest list rule is an obstruction to the Furman sense of community, promotes exclusivity, and is simply not a viable solution for fraternity events.