Rutgers Ban on Greek Parties Expires

By Michael Hill

Rutgers University says its house party ban on New Brunswick-Piscataway campus fraternities and sororities expired when the spring semester ended.

The two-month ban followed several alcohol-related incidents at parties — one resulting in the death of sophomore Caitlyn Kovacs last fall.

“I wasn’t a big fan of the ban and I’m happy to see it go. I feel like the best things for kids is to make sure that there aren’t any disincentives reporting any alcohol-related incidents and whatnot,” said 2015 Rutgers graduate Mark O’Shea.

Rutgers Panhellenic Council says the ban was like a time out.

A school spokesman says, “The university has determined there were no violations during the moratorium.” But, he declined to say how Rutgers monitored the ban, if at all.

The focus now is on the fall semester with no ban for the 19 campus Greek houses and most students back on campus.

“I actually give a risk management seminar every semester,” said Sigma Alpha Mu attorney and advisor Eric Morrell.

Morrell advises some of the Greek organizations about the university’s rules that govern social events and enforces the commitment with a written contract. He says it’s time for fraternity and sorority leaders, university administrators, judges and police to have a sit-down.

When asked if he’s talking about proactive measures, Morrell said, “Yes, I think it should happen because otherwise we’re going to have more problems. I think everyone needs to be on the same page.”

Some students say drinking often takes place before going to house parties, but better security and screening at house parties would weed out some of the issues.

“You need to hire like some guns to like handle it or card people. But, oftentimes that doesn’t happen,” said Highland Park resident Javier Zavaleta.

“The individual fraternities that are having these issues may be shutting them down for a semester and looking and saying, ‘OK what are you guys doing wrong? What could you do better?'” said Jennifer Goff, microbiology graduate student at Rutgers.

In a column for The Daily Targum last fall, Josè Sanchez wrote, “the Greek organizations on our nation’s campuses have to be abolished, or they must be reined in.”

“I think they should just ban them outright. I don’t think they really serve much of a social purpose besides binge-drinking and a couple dollars for charity here and there,” Sanchez said.

But Sanchez concedes that’s not likely so the university should impose “stricter regulations, stricter rules, more oversight.”

The university says the half dozen or so organizations suspended or under review will remain so. But looking forward to September, will the university impose any new or tougher rules of conduct for social events for Greek organizations? The university says it’s not speculating about the fall.