On the weekend of Sept. 1, Geneseo's Greek organizations cancelled all their "open rush" events after a warning about alcohol from the dean of students.
Just days before the scheduled open rush events, a poster was brought to Dean of Students Dr. Leonard Sancilio's attention advertising two "open parties" that the Delta Kappa Tau (DKT) fraternity had planned on hosting that weekend. The two parties advertised each featured a different sorority that would have attended each night: Phi Kappa Pi (Clio) one night and Alpha Kappa Phi (Ago) on the other.
After the flyer was brought to his attention, Sancilio sent an undated memo to the executive board of the InterGreek Council as well as to members of the three organizations listed on the flyer reminding them of the IGC's policy on a "dry rush," pointing out that giving away free alcohol violates both college policy and the law.
"According to IGC rules/regs/guidelines, all recruitment/rush events are to be dry, so unless these 'open' parties are dry, we/you have a problem," Sancilio said in the memo. After reviewing the memo, Greek organizations decided to cancel their open rush events for the weekend.
Fraternities' open rush events often involve free alcohol for all who attend, regardless of age, although the flyer did not mention alcohol.
Sancilio said he did not order the cancellation of the opens, but was evidently pleased to see it executed. "I absolutely support [the cancellation], but I did not send out a mandate for that to happen," he said.
DKT Vice President Blaine Gallson declined to comment, as did the presidents of the Clio and Ago sororities.
The flyer came out one day after an IGC meeting in which members were reminded of the IGC-instituted policy of a dry rush period. This policy was originally generated by the IGC, not the College. According to the IGC's Constitution, Section 1 Article D, "No alcoholic beverages will be served at any rush functions."
IGC President David Barner admitted that in the past, this rule was never heavily followed or enforced. According to Barner, Greek organizations at Geneseo are attempting to follow the rules and provide alcohol-free events for students who choose to rush this year.
"This policy was not strongly enforced in the past, so this year we are trying to implement a dry rush," Barner said. "We are also trying to transition into a state where fraternities realize that they do not need alcohol to recruit new members."
Barner also mentioned that sororities have previously been better than fraternities at following the dry rush rule, but the InterFraternity Council is working to equalize the situation. "The fraternities are working hard with the dean and administration to improve this," he said.
IFC President Kyle Reilly acknowledged that Greek life at Geneseo is changing, but said the progression is positive. "Geneseo is changing, especially with the honors college reputation. We have to go along with those changes. We can't just be 'party party party' all the time," he said.
Reilly also mentioned cooperation between the IFC and the school's administration. "We were presented with two optionsmake an effort to change or blow off the school. We chose to make the change because we want to better ourselves as Greek life as a whole and better our school."
Reilly said that the new changes are helping Greek recruitment. "I feel [not having open rush parties] makes kids want to come out more because they have to go to a recruitment event to find out more about the organizations."
Barner mentioned that the recruitment period will continue as scheduled with more events in upcoming weeks.
Sancilio and Barner are also both optimistic about the future of Greek life at Geneseo with the ongoing changes.
"I don't believe that fraternities and sororities need to revolve around alcohol," Sancilio said.
Barner summed up his hopes for the future; "Rush is a very positive thing, but us Greeks shouldn't need alcohol to promote ourselves to students on campus."
-Staff writer Carmen Chan contributed to this report.