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February 16, 2006 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-16

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Courtney's death is a horrifying exam-
ple of what can go wrong at any college
party - and it does not stand alone in the
University's recent history. In the fall of
200, Engineering sophomore Byung-Soo
Kim died after trying to consume 21 shots
on his 21st birthday. In the fall of 2003,
Kinesiology junior Evan Loomis suffered
kidney failure, after being hazed at the
Sigma Chi fraternity. That same year, 25
percent of University students reported
that they binge drink on a frequent basis.
In light of these incidents the Inter-
fraternity Council and the University's
Office of Student Activities and Leader-
ship have led a two-pronged movement
to improve the safety of life on campus
for students. The IFC recently passed a
controversial revision to its social policy
and SAL has recently reorganized its stu-
dent groups to better protect the health
and safety of students, and the liability
of the University. The two movements,
while independently prompted, executed
and motivated, strive to remedy similar
concerns.
Formalizing the University's
group recognition process:
usan Eklund, dean of
students, said that the
incident with Loomis
was a wake-up call
for the University,
which discussed taking
action. Two of the more

controversial proposals the Univer-
sity discussed implementing were
postponing rush until the winter
term and having live-in guardians
within fraternity houses.
"We thought that students might
have time to find themselves a bit
more, and maybe would be able to
withstand the social pressure behind
hazing," Eklund said.
Both proposals were wildly
unpopular among students.
Deferred rush had been discussed
at the University even before Loo-
mis's incident. After the death of
Courtney Cantor, her father, George
Cantor, told the Michigan Daily that
he hoped fraternities and sororities
would delay rush until the winter
term to give students time to adjust
to life at a big University.
The idea of deferred rush was
highly unpopular on campus, and as
a result of the way in which the Uni-
versity recognizes student groups,
deferred rush is not an option at
this point in time, because fraterni-
ties and sororities are recognized
the same way as any student group.
If the University were to impose a
deferred rush policy for the Greek
system, they would have to restrict
every group from recruiting new
members until the winter semester.
Some Universities operate suc-
cessfully under deferred rush. At
Emory University in Atlanta, all
sorority rush events are delayed
until after winter break, and all

freshman fraternity rush events are
also delayed. While upperclassmen
at Emory can rush fraternities in
the fall, the big push comes after
winter break, at the start of second
semester. About a third of students
at Emory participate in Greek life,
compared with about 15 percent at
Michigan. The bigger the school,
the smaller the percentage of cam-
pus that participates in Greek life,
because fraternities and sororities
can only accommodate a limited
number of people. At the University
of Texas-Austin about 4,200 out of
52,000 students participate in Greek
life - about 11 percent.
Emory IFC President Brian Espie
said that the deferred rush provides
several advantages.
"A pretty large percentage of the
freshman class registers for spring
rush," he said. Espie also said that a
large number of those who register
for rush eventually accept bids.
He added that the system is a good
compromise between the Greek
organizations and Emory's admin-
istration.
"I think that it's good ... (because)
you have a full semester to find your
identity and invest yourself in dif-
ferent groups and organizations,"
he said. The administration likes it
because they think it cuts down on
the alcohol-related incidents."
The University has never taken
steps to pursue this measure beyond
preliminary discussion. Instead, it

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decided to revise its relationships
with all student groups on campus,
and treat its relationship with the
Greek system like every other stu-
dent organization.
Up until last year, the University
of Michigan was one of the few uni-
versities in the country that did not
have a formal recognition process
for its student groups.
In the fall of 2004, E. Royster
Harper, vice president for student
affairs, asked Eklund for permission
to gather information from other
universities, as well as Michigan
faculty, staff and students, in order
to make a recommendation regard-
ing the University's recognition
process for student groups.
From this report, a committee
approved the SOAR application pro-
cess, which has five steps.
All groups must have completed
these five steps in order to be fully
registered with the University. The
University offers registered groups
different advantages, depending on
the degree to which the groups are
connected.

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LEFT: Members of the Greek system atter
ABOVE: Residential College sophomore Mol

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