Fraternity social event policy changes, guest lists explained

Since the beginning of November, Randolph-Macon students have received fraternity party invitations via email from the Randolph-Macon BUZZ website. Fraternities have previously been required to submit guest lists and social registration forms before holding registered weekend parties, but the process has recently become more transparent to the student body.

The primary difference between the past and current systems is that fraternities now may submit guest lists to the school one business day before their event instead of the Monday prior. Students included on guest lists will then receive an email from the BUZZ the day of the
social event.

According to Assistant Dean of Students James McGhee, it is the policy of all national fraternities, the college, the FIPG (Fraternity Information and Programming Group), and the North American Inter-Fraternity Conference for fraternities to hold closed, invitation-only events.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon president Conor Moran said that following party lists helps fraternities manage risks more effectively.

“If someone gets alcohol poisoning at a party and is on the list, the fraternity’s insurance can cover any legal issues. If not then the brothers of the house are subject to lawsuits,” he said. “If someone gets hurt and they weren’t on the list than the president and risk manager could be sued for negligence at a minimum.”

McGhee said that if an organization chooses not to follow their list, they are not only violating the rules and policies of their governing bodies, but also defying the values of their organization. Doing so could also result in judicial action at the collegiate and headquarters level.

“Fraternities and sororities are values based organizations,” McGhee said. “Among the chief values of almost all organizations are honesty and integrity. If they choose to not follow their list, then they are choosing to disregard their values.”

Sigma Phi Epsilon president Matthew Terry said that getting on the party list is easy for students who speak with fraternity brothers ahead of time.

“Students who do not receive emails [from the BUZZ] one week should talk to a brother about the following weekend,” Terry said. “We don’t like being the bad guy when turning people away. If you are turned away, there’s nothing we can do. Please don’t argue, we are simply following the rules.”

Moran said that students who behave appropriately and cordially when turned away at the door of a party at SAE are sometimes added to the list the following weekend.

Enforcing party lists can be a challenging job and requires brothers on “door duty” to be responsible and stay calm when turning students away.

When asked to address rumors on social media app Yik Yak about female students having a higher likelihood of being let into parties, Terry said that any student on the guest list has a “100 percent chance of getting in the party.”

Moran said that it is “common sense” that a group of all males would be more likely to put more female students than male students on a guest list.

Recent anonymous commenters on Yik Yak said that the party policy “Is what it is, their house
their rules,” and “don’t blame them [the fraternities].”

“Our fraternities have come a long way,” McGhee said, “They are constantly and consistently working to become better more values based organizations. I hope our campus community will support them for doing what is right.”

Randolph-Macon offers weekend events for students who are not on fraternity party guest lists such as movies in the Brock Commons as well as the Late Night Buzz, which offers student groups the opportunity to receive funding to host events and programs each Saturday night.

-May McNeil ’16, Junior Features Editor

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