Two fraternities at the University of Virginia are refusing to endorse strict new regulations on alcohol-serving events, saying the rules were created under false pretenses.
UVA announced this month a set of new guidelines it wants all fraternities to adhere to in order to improve safety at their parties. The rules, which include requirements for sober brothers to monitor the premises during a party and impose limits on what can be served, are laid out in an addendum to UVA's existing Fraternal Organization Agreement, which must be signed annually by each fraternity. The deadline for signing the new agreement is Friday.
The guidelines were drafted during a suspension of Greek life in the wake of a now-disputed Rolling Stone article that alleged one fraternity was the setting for the gang rape of a female student.
The Kappa Alpha Order and Alpha Tau Omega on Tuesday issued statements nearly identical to one another that said UVA "violated the previous FOA as well as student individual and organizational rights."
"The system-wide suspension, which was initiated for reasons that were found to be untrue, unfairly punished all members of fraternities and sororities," the fraternities said. "It was maintained and used as leverage to require the changes to the FOA. Because we do not accept the validity of a suspension imposed in contravention of the existing FOA, university policy, Virginia law and the constitutional rights of our members, we are not compelled to sign a revised FOA to continue operations on campus."
The fraternities added that their own risk management policies were "as strict or more strict" than the new UVA rules.
"Our chapter will comply with the more restrictive of the policies in its activities," the fraternities said. "We are concerned that the university's revision to the FOA may create new liability for individual members of our organizations that is more properly a duty to be borne by the university itself."
UVA spokesman Anthony de Bruyn pointed out the addendum was developed by student leaders, including representatives from the Inter-Fraternity Council, but would not say if a refusal to sign it would result in any sanction.
"We remain hopeful that all groups will commit to these reasonable protocols designed to improve student safety," de Bruyn said in an email to HuffPost, adding that the school would have no further comment or action until the deadline has passed.
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