June 11, 2013

Contact: Matt Lazier
805-756-7109; mlazier@calpoly.edu

Cal Poly Announces Changes to Greek Life Policies

New Plan Aims to Foster Students’ Wellness and Strengthen Community Relations

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly today announced several changes to policies governing its fraternities and sororities, aimed at improving  students’ wellness and strengthening the university’s and Greek organizations’ relationships with the San Luis Obispo community.

Among the changes, Cal Poly fraternities and sororities will:
– begin registering their off-campus parties with the university and adopt new alcohol-management policies, which, for example, would limit the amount of alcohol allowed at registered parties;
– require new members to participate in health and wellness programs, which will include education on alcohol safety, anti-hazing, and sexual assault awareness;
– participate  in a student-run review  process, through which fraternity and sorority chapters will be assessed on positive qualities and informed of areas of needed improvement; and
– commit to establishing more chapters at Cal Poly with the goal of giving students the options of choosing to affiliate with smaller chapters.

These and other policy changes will be phased in over a three-year period beginning in Fall 2013.

Cal Poly’s Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association and United Sorority and Fraternity Council all approved the new policies in separate votes recently.

“We will look back on these changes as the start of a new era for Greek life at Cal Poly,” said Interfraternity Council President Jason Colombini. “Fraternity and sorority life on campus will become more responsible and accountable while continuously enhancing the college experience of those who make the decision to go Greek.” 

In creating these new policies, Cal Poly consulted with Aware Awake Alive, the nonprofit group founded by the family of Carson Starkey, a Cal Poly freshman who died in Fall 2008 in an alcohol related fraternity hazing incident. With assistance from the Starkey family, Cal Poly has put Aware Awake Alive programming in place to provide students information on the dangers of alcohol abuse.

“I am proud of our students for making the choice to focus on the health, wellness and academic success of all members of the fraternity and sorority community,” said Keith Humphrey, vice president for student affairs at Cal Poly. “Student Affairs is in the business of building strong student organizations, and this new plan is an important pathway toward achieving our goals. We believe these changes will allow us to more pointedly address matters of health and wellness for our students who choose to take part in Greek life.”

As part of the new policies, Cal Poly has agreed to again allow first-year male students to join fraternities in their first quarter on campus. Sororities and culturally based Greek organizations currently have that privilege. This change in policy for fraternities, which will begin this fall, reverses a policy of deferred rushing, which barred first-year men from joining fraternities before their second quarter. That deferred rush policy was instituted in 2010 in the wake of Starkey’s death.

For more on Cal Poly’s Greek Life programs, visit http://www.studentlife.calpoly.edu/greek/.

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