Fraternities and sororities at the University of Virginia must now have "sober monitors" at their parties and beer kegs and mixed drinks will be forbidden, according to new rules decreed by University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan.
Sullivan said that all recognized social groups must sign an agreement before Jan. 16 pledging to follow the new rules. Only then, she said, will the university lift the ban on parties that was put in place in response to a November 2014 Rolling Stone Magazine article about an alleged lack of response by the university to sexual assaults.
The Rolling Stone article centered on a woman named “Jackie” who claimed she was gang raped at a fraternity party in 2012 and the article made assertions that the university did not do enough to address sexual assault on campus. But the veracity of Jackie's allegations have since been questioned and the magazine was criticized for poor fact checking.
”I believe the new safety measures recommended by the student leaders in the Greek community will help provide a safer environment for their members and guests," Sullivan said in a statement issued Tuesday.
The new rules say “a minimum of 3 brothers must be 'sober and lucid' at each fraternity function.” Sober and lucid is defined as “a brother acting without influence of any substance.” And a section of the agreement entitled "Eliminating Discomfort and Chaos” allowed for a sober monitor to check the door at smaller parties, but for larger parties, frats must hire security guards to do guest check ins.
Kent L. Gardner, the executive director emeritus of the Order of Omega, a fraternity and sorority leadership organization that has a chapter on the UVA campus, said the new rules are a step in the right direction.
“Will they stop every kind of bad behavior?" he asked. “Probably not, but these are the kind of rules you put into place that help young people make better decisions and limit their bad decisions.”
Gardner added that many of the rules are ideas that have been implemented at other schools throughout the country. He said he was also heartened by the fact the guidelines would apply to all 700 social organizations on campus, not just fraternities and sororities.
Frat parties can still serve beer but only in unopened cans, according to the new rules. Mixed drinks are now forbidden. Wine is still allowed, but must be poured by one of the designated sober monitors.
The UVA statement outlined other new safety measures that will be put into place later this month, including a new police substation and increased security patrols, as well as better lighting and more cameras throughout the campus.
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