Greek houses will shut doors to freshman fratters

by Jess Jacob | 10/31/97 6:00am

The extra day off from classes and party-scene emphasis of Homecoming may bring even more members of the Class of 2001 to the doors of fraternities this weekend, but will they get in?

Despite the Coed-Fraternity and Sorority Council policy which is supposed to keep them out, many freshmen said they have already attended parties at Greek houses this term.

According to the "Freshmen Visitation" policy which members of the Coed Fraternity Sorority Council unanimously agreed to uphold two weeks ago, every reasonable effort will be made to ensure that freshmen do not enter the houses illegally at any time during the term.

Greek leaders said they check College identification cards at the main entrance and keep all other doors locked from the outside to prevent entry by freshmen.

But all but one of the freshmen interviewed said they have already gained access to fraternity parties this term.

Nathaniel Morgan '01 said he used the "relay" method to get into a party -- he had one of his friends who was already inside a house convince an upperclassmen to let him into the party.

Alyssa Rower '01 said she has attended fraternity parties every weekend.

Rower said the visitation policy is mostly enforced, "but there are easy ways to get around it." Although she has been turned away a few times, she said women are usually let into parties more than the men.

Jen Tlumak '01 said she was not let into parties if she was in a "big pack" of freshmen, but had no trouble when she was with a few people.

Although Jeremy Linden '01 said he knows many members of the Class of 2001 who have been to fraternity parties, he has not been allowed in yet. "But I didn't try that hard," he said.

Presidents of Greek houses said many of the freshmen sneak in through windows or back entrances. Due to the increase in traffic this weekend, some houses are stepping up the security to stop the freshmen from getting in.

Gamma Delta Chi President Fouad Elnaggar '98 said freshmen's attempts to get into his house last weekend led to broken window frames and storm windows.

As a result, this weekend, "one of our brothers volunteered to walk around the perimeter of the house with a large wrench," Elnaggar said.

He said he hopes that will be enough of a deterrent, but he knows the visitation policy is not well enforced on campus.

Elnaggar said houses with many Freshmen Trips leaders, for example, are bound to let in many members of the Class of 2001 this weekend.

Kappa Kappa Kappa fraternity President William Bleier '98 said his house will have more people than usual watching all of the entrances so that freshmen do not get in.

Other houses are having invite-only events this weekend and have not invited any freshmen.

Psi Upsilon fraternity President Adrian Durbin '98 said he expects more freshmen to try to get into parties this weekend, but his house will not be changing any of its security measures.

Many freshmen have made plans to attend Greek house parties this weekend.

Julia Gertsberg '01 said she has three friends from Smith College coming to the College this weekend and she intends to bring them to some fraternities.

Because of the policy, though, "I'm going to have them climb in windows and climb up fire escapes," she said. "I'm also going to have to find some way to make older friends by then."

In the worst case, she said, she can just go to the fraternities which are easier to get into.

She declined to list those houses, but she said Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Psi U are among the more difficult houses for freshmen to gain access.

Tlumnak said she plans to don a Halloween costume and attend a variety of events, including Greek house parties if her friends are going.

Although there is quite a disparity in opinion about how well the visitation policy is enforced, some said, when it is upheld, it is valuable to the Greek system.

Assistant Dean of Residential Life Deb Reinders said she encourages the Greek houses to adopt the policy every year.

She said the original intent of the policy was to encourage freshmen to visit fraternities and sororities when parties were not occurring.

"There is an interest in keeping freshmen out during Fall term so they don't immediately go to houses and see them as a source of alcohol," Bleier said.

CFSC President Chris Atwood said the Greek house atmosphere may be too overwhelming to freshmen when they need to focus on academics.

"Freshmen being exposed to the environment for the first time don't deal with it well and they pose a risk for houses," Atwood said.

The policy is also meant to encourage the freshmen to bond as a class.

Rower said she agrees her class needs to bond, "but that's what Freshmen Week is for."

She said she sees more of her classmates if she attends the fraternity parties, rather than small, private dormitory room parties.

Regarding the idea that freshmen cannot handle the party scene their first term, Gertsberg argued that some of the freshmen might be more reserved than the upperclassmen.

Ann Bedichek '01 was one of the few freshmen who did not think the policy is unfair since most freshmen are under the legal drinking age. "But it doesn't make much sense if it's just for one term," she said.

Todd Jelen '01 said he thinks freshmen have the ability to make their own decisions about attending fraternity parties.

"If people think they're responsible to be in fraternities, they should be able to go," he said.

The "Freshman Visitation" policy prohibits students from attending "Tier Two" CFS events during their freshman fall. Tier Two functions are open parties where alcohol is present.

If a freshman is found in violation of the visitation policy, the organization is subject to action by the CFS Judiciary Committee.

A fine of $100 per freshman may be levied against the house, with the money being deducted from the social fund of the organization in question.

This policy is enforced by students in Greek houses, not by the College, and has been in effect since 1994.