A change in the Eagle Row blackout policy now allows freshmen to be in fraternity houses as of yesterday. Freshmen are still banned from registered parties until after recruitment in January but are allowed to participate in other events in the houses.
Previously, the policy stated that freshmen were restricted from the row in all cases until after fall break, when they would be allowed on the row at events where alcohol is not present and only if their names are on a guest list.
Although the complete ban has been relaxed, Interfraternity Council (IFC) President David Izbicki said safety and risk management regulations at fraternity parties will still remain important. He said each house will adhere to a strict guest list and check EmoryCards to ensure only upperclassmen attend parties. Those students 21 and older will receive a wristband allowing them to drink at the fraternity parties.
“Other students have already gone through recruitment and rush; they already know what fraternities are about,” Izbicki said. “We want freshmen to know that Greek life is not all about partying.”
The blackout period was extended this fall in an attempt to curb numerous past incidents of freshmen alcohol consumption in fraternity houses, according to Director of Sorority and Fraternity Life Victor Felts in a previous interview with the Wheel. Last year’s blackout period was the first two weeks of school.
Izbicki said the change to the current policy was implemented because the limitations were too restricting for both fraternities and freshman students.
He said that keeping freshmen off the Row entirely did not make sense, and it kept freshmen too separate from Greek life.
“The vast majority of issues happen at parties, not on random nights where we’re watching football,” Izbicki said.
The blackout, he said, was detrimental to recruitment because it was difficult for fraternity brothers to get to know first-year students, but also because the ban gave freshmen a negative view of fraternities.
He said students begin to view fraternities only as places where parties take place and do not see the philanthropy and community-based side of Greek life because they are kept away from fraternity life and are only hearing about the social events.
“When freshmen come and are told immediately at the beginning of the year that they can’t go to the Row, it paints a bad picture for us,” Izbicki said. “They assume it’s not a good place.”
— Contact Alice Chen