With Sigma Alpha Epsilon opting not to sign the university Greek relationship agreement, the statement they’ve made will go further than just the lions in front of their house.
On SAE’s side, it is almost a no-brainer for them to not sign the agreement. According to members of the chapter, their national board had supported the brothers at the University of Nevada, Reno in their decision to not sign the document since an offense against a fraternity at the university can be reported with little oversight in order to issue a cease and desist.
On the university’s end, it comes down to having a united Interfraternity Council with little talk of potential hazing or other potential infractions that could hurt its effort in making the university more of a “college town.” With Lambda Chi and Pi Beta Phi getting knocked off campus and Sigma Phi Epsilon electing not to sign the agreement last year, the Greek system is in a state of flux. Having a united Greek front would bolster the efforts of changing the city with an entertainment base to one that is focused on the “School on the Hill.”
So what is the endgame between the university and the Greeks? While distancing itself from Reno’s infamous reputation as a Sodom to Vegas’s Gomorrah is admirable, only time will accomplish this, and the university doesn’t have as much as they would like. Reno is making progress towards becoming a college town and the Greek system is a staple of any college experience. At the end of the day, a large percentage of college students enjoy drinking alcohol and it is especially prevalent within the Greek system.
The result of the way the Greeks have been treated is unclear at this point. Of course, the university wants to have a cohesive unit within the system, but could they go without the numerous rumblings of hazing within the various houses that are scattered along University Terrace and beyond? The statement SAE is making does have its benefits to the house on campus, but it might hurt the rest of the Greek community in the long run. Other houses will look to SAE to make a statement as one of the most respected organizations nationally, and if this continues, the results could be devastating, especially as one house slips up again.
This brings us to the point of possibly eliminating the Greek system altogether, which, although a slim possibility at this point, is not entirely out of the picture as proved by Chico State in 2012. (This, however, was due to an extremely unfortunate event that involved one student losing his life because of drinking.)Without a united and focused system within the IFC, Panhellenic and also the Multicultural Greek Council, the university is going to lose some potentially big donations from alumni of those groups.
Of course, the power of the Greeks is tied to how involved they are in student affairs on campus. ASUN is dominated largely by Greeks and is somewhat of an afterthought to the rest of the student body, who have little interest in affairs that are being decided by a group of 30 or so people, even though they should be invested.
The university needs everyone on board to be able to push towards becoming a college town, and without some of its most powerful members, it will have a difficult time in doing so. SAE’s refusal to sign the agreement along with prior Greek controversies could be detrimental to both the Greek system at the University of Nevada, Reno and the chances of Reno becoming a college town.
The Nevada Sagebrush editorial staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.