Climbing cases of COVID-19 among Greek life has threated to overrule universities’ carefully constructed plans for students to have a safe fall semester. Schools across the nation have traced Coronavirus outbreaks to social gatherings surrounding sporting events and Greek life. Specifically, fraternity are taking a significant amount of blame for a rising number of active cases on campus.
Universities in almost every state have used contact tracing to link virus clusters back to fraternity parties on campus. Many campus Greek Life organizations in the U.S. have shut down chapters for the fall semester in hopes of eliminating these weekend gatherings. Campus medical directors are saying that over fifty percent of Coronavirus cases on campus can be traced back to fraternity parties. These infections are directly related to the ignorance of both Greek and non-Greek members. Outrageous event sizes annihilate social distancing measures and it is clear that the reduction of Covid 19 isn’t these students’ top priority.
University Deans across the U.S are stating that the reckless behaviour of individuals attending fraternity parties are the groups that are going to lead universities to fully remote learning. Through contact tracing, universities are attempting quarantining those that attend fraternity parties with positive cases. However, most universities cannot control the gatherings themselves. The challenges of enforcing guidelines over such a large community, remains a difficult task. Universities carry a limited amount of authority over much of Greek housing.
Greek life leaders have put a stop to most social events such as philanthropies and mandatory chapter events. Controlling individual chapter members’ will to socialize on their own, proves next to impossible. Some fraternities and sororities have implemented financial consequences or probations on individuals who participate in fraternity parties, although, it is difficult to catch members in the act. Many college students who are overlooking the rules, view these consequences as scare tactics set in place by their organization to deter them from gathering. Many do not take them seriously.
Both Greek and non-Greek students view fraternity parties as insensitive and irresponsible, however, as the semester continues on, even these students are feeling the urge to be in contact with their friends and fill their social needs. “I know if I don’t spend time with my friends now, I will regret it”, explains a senior fraternity member from the University of North Dakota, “I can’t put my entire social life on hold in my last year of college. Students mental health is going to start to fall if they are cut off from their friends and aren’t allowed to do anything except sit in their rooms and study”.
Other students at the University of North Dakota are wondering why fraternity parties are taking a hit, when other forms of socialization are untouched. A junior sorority member questioned, “Why are fraternities and people going to frat parties getting in so much trouble and threatened with consequences, when other students are going to the fully packed bars downtown every weekend and nobody seems to care?”.
Whether universities choose to implement consequences on those who are found guilty of attending fraternity parties, the University of North Dakota will continue to monitor the situation. Routine testing will still be encouraged, and contact tracing will attempt to find out the root cause of Coronavirus clusters.
Brooke Kruger is a Dakota Student Opinion Writer. She can be reached at [email protected]