September 8, 2013 in City

WSU to discuss possible fraternity ban for freshmen

William L. Spence Lewiston Tribune

PULLMAN – A proposal to prohibit Washington State University freshmen from living in fraternities didn’t generate much discussion Friday, but it could in the coming months.

WSU President Elson S. Floyd said he hopes to have a number of conversations this semester with alumni, community members, and fraternity and sorority students not only about that proposal, but about the future of WSU’s Greek system in general.

The freshman prohibition was one of 14 recommendations forwarded to Floyd by an alcohol and drug task force that was created following the death of a freshman last fall from alcohol poisoning.

The recommendations focus primarily on improving intervention training for staff and students, but also include greater sanctions for violating WSU’s alcohol and drug policies and the scheduling of more substantive academic activities on Friday to discourage students from getting an early start on the weekend.

After a WSU board of regents meeting Friday, Floyd said all of the recommendations are “reasonable and appropriate,” and that WSU will move forward with implementing them.

Given the potential effects of the freshman prohibition, however, he thinks there needs to be more conversations before proceeding.

“Prohibiting freshmen from living in fraternities will have a financial impact,” Floyd said. “Right now, we have almost twice as many fraternities as sororities at WSU. There are more women who want to go into sorority housing than can be accommodated – but with the men, there’s not enough (to fill all the rooms) if we exclude freshmen.”

In many cases, he noted, the mortgages on the fraternity houses are held by alumni.

The board of regents held a panel discussion with several fraternity and sorority leaders Friday but failed to discuss the freshman prohibition at all.

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