The University of Missouri Interfraternity Council states that its values are brotherhood, leadership, scholarship, and service, but these values are being overshadowed by the continued accusations of hazing and violations of alcohol policies. As a member of a Panhellenic organization at MU, I refuse to have my organization punished or its reputation diminished as a result of the actions of my Interfraternity brothers. MU fraternities are currently under harsh examination and analysis as a result of their actions, and rightfully so.
MU Greek life has been under scrutiny since the Dyad Strategies report was released in November 2017. This report states that MU Greek students were especially at risk for hazing, drinking, and other forms of substance abuse when compared to other universities. This release was followed by the formation of the Fraternity and Sorority Life Advisory Board as well as multiple fraternity suspensions on campus.
Just this fall, the Sigma Chi fraternity was suspended from the MU campus because of its accused hazing practices towards new members. Sigma Chi is the first fraternity to come under pressure since the start of the school year. However, this new suspension comes after numerous other MU fraternities were suspended or expelled the previous spring. Farmhouse, Kappa Alpha Order, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Sigma Pi are currently suspended, making a total of seven fraternities banned from partaking in campus activities.
After the media coverage over the suspensions at various universities last spring, MU appears to be attempting many initiatives to improve the safety, quality, and reputation of its fraternities as seen by the missions and statements releases by the advisory board.
Amnesty for members who report hazing, shortening “new member” periods, limiting chapter sponsored events with alcohol, and additional Greek ambassadors have all been suggested as methods to combat the hazing and alcohol problems on the MU campus. It seems apparent that at least some of these discussed changes have been implemented.
“It’s definitely not as bad as it used to be,” said Jacob Boucher, a new member to fraternity life on campus. “Pledgeship is shorter, there are very strict rules, [being a new member] is for sure easier than I think it use to be.”
Overall, Greek enrollment is still down, even though MU’s overall enrollment is increasing. This appears to correlate with the worsening reputation of Greek life on the MU campus. The number of individuals who rushed in the fall of 2018 was 6 percent less than the amount that rushed in 2017, and the smallest group since 2010. If the reputation of MU’s Greek life remains the same, it appears as though these rates will continue to decline.
The suspension of Sigma Chi is also an example of some of the new initiatives taking place. MU’s Interfraternity Council has grown and is attempting to become more involved with students. They appear more adamant about creating and discussing rules regarding hazing and alcohol as made evident by their recent suspensions, the creation of the advisory board, and multiple released statements.
The future of MU Greek organizations relies on the university’s involvement. The university must continue its initiatives to change its system for the betterment of MU Greek life and the university as a whole. Their actions going into the future will dictate the reputation and safety of sororities and fraternities and the benefit they will have to future and current students such as myself.