UCF Halts Many Greek Life Activities to Address, Alcohol, Hazing Issues

The University of Central Florida has halted Greek Life social, new member education and initiation activities in order to work with fraternity and sorority chapters on comprehensively addressing alcohol and hazing issues.

Fraternities and sororities are prohibited from holding social, new member education or initiation activities. Organizations are permitted to hold organizational business meetings.

Fraternities and sororities are encouraged to continue philanthropic efforts, which benefit our campus and our community. The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life must specifically approve each event and will work with chapters to do so in a timely fashion.

Generally speaking, alcohol-free philanthropic events, such as an organization holding a walk to raise money for a local charity or cause, are expected to be approved. Other events, specifically those that involve alcohol, are likely to not be approved at this time.

“Chapter activities will resume when we are satisfied that our Greek culture reflects the values of the UCF Creed and, more importantly, that we can ensure compliance with laws and university regulations governing hazing and alcohol,” said Maribeth Ehasz, vice president of Student Development and Enrollment Services, in an email to sorority and fraternity members this afternoon. “For many chapters, I am hopeful that will occur before the end of the spring semester.”

Specific criteria for resuming chapter activities will be developed during the coming weeks. The university will consider best practices from around the country as well as conversations with UCF chapter members and advisors and national organizations.

“UCF’s Greek community should live up to the values espoused by the UCF Creed,” Ehasz wrote in the email. “It should foster excellence — in the classroom, in philanthropy, in leadership and in community service – with no tolerance for the illegal or inappropriate use of alcohol or for hazing.”

Many Greek chapters and students exhibit model behavior and set high standards for success in the classroom and as campus and community leaders. However, recent events have demonstrated that the UCF Greek community needs a culture change when it comes to the use and abuse of alcohol and hazing.

More than 3,100 UCF students participate in 48 recognized Greek organizations. Students will continue to live in UCF’s fraternity and sorority houses.

The university is asking fraternity and sorority members – along with their national organizations, advisors and chapter alumni – to engage in conversations about the future of Greek Life at UCF.

“I understand this action will not be popular, but some of our Greek organizations’ student leaders have expressed to us that it may be the best way to change our culture,” Ehasz wrote in the email. “Some may ask, “Why are we being punished when we have done nothing wrong?’ It is true that there are many model fraternity and sorority chapters at UCF. The community can seize this opportunity to be part of the solution, and I believe this decision will produce a thorough and timely change.”

Ehasz met Wednesday with the executive boards of UCF’s four Greek councils that oversee the fraternity and sorority chapters as well as the presidents of the chapters. Staff members from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life will be attending chapters’ upcoming business meetings, and they will be available to meet with chapter members individually or in groups.

Additionally, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life will establish a Greek Advisory Committee comprised of staff and faculty members, students, alumni and community members to generate feedback and recommendations that will strengthen Greek Life at UCF.

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life website, www.fsl.sdes.ucf.edu, will include frequently asked questions about the university’s decision.