By Karolina Rivas and Madeline Purdue
Fraternities at the University of Nevada, Reno, have lost recognition from the university after failing to comply with new regulations by Thursday, Feb. 15. Four fraternities — Alpha Tau Omega, Kappa Alpha, Theta Chi and Zeta Psi — have declined to sign the agreement and have lost recognition as official university organizations for the rest of 2018. Two others are in negotiations with the university’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
The 33 university fraternity and sorority chapters had until Monday, Jan. 22 to agree to the new regulations. The fraternities that didn’t sign by the deadline have since been removed from the university’s Greek life website.
Sigma Phi Epsilon and Kappa Sigma’s national chapters are in negotiations with the university and have received an extension on the signing deadline. As of print time, neither organization had agreed to sign the new contract.
The new university regulations were sent to Greek life organizations in a 51-page agreement. The university has required each organization to hire a live-in advisor in their chapter facility before the 2020 calendar year. It also requires that a comprehensive report outlining incidents or conduct involving individual chapter members be sent to the university at the end of every semester. These reports are managed by the chapter’s internal standards board.
If a sorority or fraternity refused to sign the new regulations, they would lose recognition and would be disaffiliated with the university. Disaffiliation would mean that the fraternities will no longer be associated with the university rules and campus events, and will lose benefits and resources from the university.
“These policies are about prioritizing the health and safety of our students,” Megan Pepper, UNR director of fraternity and sorority life said in an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal. “We have a lot of good resources for students.”
The Nevada Sagebrush reached out to Pepper for comment, but did not receive a response by print time.
Pepper told the RGJ these disaffiliations were not a direct result of specific incidents, but this is the third time in the last two years that fraternities have been disaffiliated with the university.
In October 2016, Sigma Nu pledge Ryan Abele fell down a staircase at the fraternity’s house and later died from injuries sustained from the fall. An investigation conducted by the university showed the party had alcohol, marijuana and topless dancers, even though members signed the university’s policy agreement against these substances and activities. In January 2017, UNR revoked the chapter’s charter for 15 years.
In June 2017, the university also revoked Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s charter for four years following reports of hazing and underage drinking in October 2016. It is unclear if the student who reported the incidents to the university was injured or harmed because of the alleged hazing.
Furthermore, several fraternities were involved in alcohol-related incidents that violate university policies over the past two years. These fraternities faced repercussions such as not being allowed to accept new members, disciplinary probation and additional education requirements.
“I think these new policies are to address what isn’t seen behind closed doors,” Tristan San Luis, president of the student-run Interfraternity Council, said in an interview with the RGJ. “I think these are the right steps to fixing problems we have had in the past.”
Pepper told the RGJ that a live-in adviser will be helpful in offering guidance and support in emergency situations.
The Nevada Sagebrush reached out to the affected campus fraternity organizations for comment but none — including one national organization — provided a statement by print time.
Madeline Purdue and Karolina Rivas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.