UVA Sorority Members Outraged Over Frat Party Ban

PHOTO: Students pass by the Phi Kappa Psi house at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. in this Jan. 15, 2015 file photo.PlaySteve Helber/AP Photo
WATCH UVA Sorority Members Outraged Over Frat Party Ban

Sorority members at the University of Virginia have been ordered by their national chapters to avoid all fraternity events this weekend and stay in their homes during those functions, sparking outrage among many students at the school.

This new mandate comes right before a night famously known throughout the Greek community as Boys’ Bid Night -- a night where fraternities welcome new members and invite sorority sisters to their parties. Traditionally, Boys’ Bid Night is a night of heavy drinking and partying, for both fraternities and sororities, but now sorority sisters are being ordered to not leave their houses at all.

University president Teresa A. Sullivan released a statement Thursday regarding the mandate.

"The National Panhellenic Conference and its member national organizations arrived at this decision and issued relevant instructions to their chapters in Charlottesville pursuant to their own policies. The University was not involved in this decision, and we consider this a matter between the national organizations and their local chapters here in Charlottesville," she said in the statement.

Earlier this month, the University of Virginia lifted a suspension on Greek life after fraternities and sororities agreed to new regulations aimed at making parties safer for students. These rules were announced as part of the process of restarting Greek activities on the scenic Charlottesville campus that was rocked last semester by a now-discredited Rolling Stone magazine article that described a culture of drinking and sexual abuse at UVA.

Many students are not taking the most recent regulation lightly.

Nicolette Gendron, a fourth-year student in Kappa Alpha Theta at UVA, said she is angered by the situation.

“It takes away choice, and a women’s choice over her own safety and over her own body and I think it codifies women as sex objects. Just completely take the women out of the equation for their own good,” Gendron told ABC News. “How come men still get to have their parties and we have to be locked in our sorority houses? It just doesn’t make sense.”

Lindsey Bond, a former member of a sorority at UVA and a fourth-year student, also finds the mandate upsetting, believing that it is hurting women rather than helping them.

"I think it's an ill-placed attempt to promote something positive. I think that it comes from a place of wanting to help but ultimately it kind of does the opposite because it stigmatizes women and sort of places them once again in a position where they don't have authority," Bond said. "What would have been more apt would have been really to sort of foster a conversation with sororities."

Student Council representative Abraham Axler, Chair of the Representative Body, co-sponsored a resolution asking for the sorority national presidents to come to campus Friday and have a conversation about this issue.

“It is a fundamental mischaracterization that cancelling Boys Bid Night makes women safer.”

"Where [this mandate] crossed the line is that there was no communication, there was no collaboration with Greek women of the University of Virginia,” Axler said.

“This is not just a bunch of women who are just upset since they can’t go out on Saturday night. I think what people are really upset about is this absolute affront to our self-governance.”

Fraternity members are also furious, since the situation comes after they had to undergo major changes under the new Fraternal Organization Agreement.

“Under the new fraternity rules we are required to have an invite list and invite people out to parties by 11:59 p.m. the Tuesday before an event, which we have done already, and we are getting a lot of women saying they aren’t going to come because of this ban,” said a third-year student in a fraternity, who asked not to be identified because his organization instructed members not to speak with the media. "I don’t understand how the ISC thinks they can lock people up until two in the morning."

The university's policy now requires beer to be served in cans, fraternities to register their functions with the Inter Fraternity Council by 11:59 p.m. on the Tuesday before an event and "sober monitors" on hand wearing a designated identifier for all official chapter gatherings.

The University of Virginia says it was not involved in conversations with the sororities regarding this ban.

“This is a matter between the national organizations and their local chapters here in Charlottesville," University Spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn told ABC News in a statement.

“With regard to activities scheduled for this weekend, we have confidence in our students’ ability to use good judgment, be mindful of one another’s safety, and adhere to the new safety practices developed by them and outlined in the recently revised Fraternal Organization Agreements,” de Bruyn added.

The National Panhellenic Conference said it has nothing to do with the new mandate, saying the decision to enforce it falls on each sorority’s national president. However, it remains unclear how it will be enforced by each sorority.

"Sorority organizations with chapters present on UVA campus, that are also NPC member organizations, collectively made the decision to not participate in men's bid night events. This directive from the sorority organizations and their inter/national presidents is intended to help uphold a NPC Unanimous Agreement of women not participating in men's recruitment and address safety and risk management concerns associated with this tradition," the National Panhellenic Council said in a statement to ABC News.