Date freshmen allowed on fraternities earliest in three years


Fraternities will officially open their doors to freshman guests on September 22 this year, more than a week earlier than in 2011.
For the past three years, the Interfraternity Council has slowly been shortening the time that freshmen are forbidden from greek property. In 2009, freshman were allowed on fraternity property for the first time during Halloween weekend. Tyler Witherspoon, President of IFC, says that using Halloween as the entry-date for freshmen has caused some problems.
"A holiday coupled with the excitement of going out led to a lot of hospital visits," Witherspoon said. "IFC felt that the October 1st date last year was still too late. It got hard to enforce, kids wanted to hang out with their upperclassmen friends earlier and our hands were kind of tied."
This new date was discussed last spring by IFC Executive Council, then presented to the administration with a few other dates, and finally voted on by each chapter president and its allotted IFC representative.
The September 22 decision was separate from the Panhellenic Association decision to open Panhellenic property to freshman women, which starts October 22.
According to Witherspoon, there have already been five separate rule-breaking incidents this semester. Each has involved a different chapter on campus that have warranted IFC involvement and fines.
In addition, IFC has already allocated sanctions due to freshmen being found on fraternity property, as well as greeks illicitly associating with the freshmen.
"There have been some fines for greek men trying to interact with freshman in dorms," Witherspoon said.
IFC imposed sanctions are determined on a case-by-case basis after an internal investigation of an incident.
"IFC's role is to hold fraternities to the highest standard," said PJ Mitchell, a greek life coordinator. "If they feel that fraternities aren't living up to their standard, then they can take the opportunity to hold a chapter accountable."
The IFC imposed fines for having freshman on fraternity property before September 22 has increased slightly in recent years in order to be more diligent with chapters.
"There's the idea that by increasing the fine on the front end, you're increasing accountability on the back end," Mitchell said.
Eric Wolfe, another Greek Life Coordinator, says the fines for having freshman on fraternity property have not increased in recent history although it may feel that way because in years past IFC hasn't always followed through with sanctions associated with the rule.
"IFC this year has been better at enforcing [the sanctions]," said Wolfe. "As IFC gets stronger, we'll see them acting on their policy and following through on it, which is healthy."
The paramount reasoning behind freshman restriction on fraternity property at the start of the year is double-sided.
"Initially, it's to create camaraderie between the [freshman] class themselves," Witherspoon said.
From a practical standpoint, restricting freshmen's access to fraternity property at the start of they year helps fraternities to get ready for big social events as well.
"It's more for the fraternities, to take time to get prepared and time to put in place proper risk management," Wolfe said.
As for Greek women going on sorority property, the Panhellenic Association, not IFC, made the decision that Panhellenic property will open to freshman on the Monday after fall break.
"We value the First-Year Experience program, and the support what it offers the newest members of the DePauw community," said Emeline Hansen, Panhellenic Association Vice President of Recruitment in an email. "With that in mind, we want to be certain that all first-year students have the opportunity to get to know their classmates instead of becoming concerned about Panhellenic chapter life."