New policy confronts Greek underground

By Bethany Grov?

Beginning in Fall 2008, there will be a new policy prohibiting students from participating in underground “Greek” organizations. Undergrounds will not be allowed to meet as a group, participate in on-campus activities as a group, wear or display the letters or insignia, according to Amanda Rose, assistant director of college activities.

“As a college we are taking a strong stance on exterminating underground organizations,” said Rose. “Looking at some other schools shows the best way to do it is having a policy, so new students coming in realize that it is not okay. If you choose to be a part of these groups or associate with these groups, there are consequences for your actions.”

Rose said the disciplinary action will depend on the student’s judicial history and the context of the actions, such as displaying an organization’s insignia or defacing the campus.
The new policy is part of an overall attempt by Student Affairs to eliminate underground organizations, a process that involves meeting with the members and asking them to cease and desist.

According to Rose, underground organizations do not have insurance or supervisors, so they have more liability issues than the recognized chapters. If someone in the group were injured or killed, the college and the individuals in the organization would both be liable.

Rose said the college is taking a strong stance because they want the Greek community to be stronger and safer.

Rose said organizations mainly go underground due to suspension by the college for hazing or alcohol use, but it could also be due to lacking manpower or finances.

Senior Paul Boyd, a member of an underground organization, Chi Delta Upsilon, said he feels their case is unlike most. In 1994, the fraternity could not pay the national dues to Delta Upsilon, so the national organization would not recognize them as a chapter. McDaniel refuses to recognize Greek organizations that are not affiliated with a national organization, so the group became Chi Delta Upsilon and went underground.

“I feel as though it’s taking away some of the basic freedoms people have to organize in general,” Boyd said. “I don’t really understand why people can’t meet. Some of the organizations have done things wrong, but we never have.”

Rose said the seven Greek organizations that are recognized by the college have jumped on board with the new policy. The new rule will also prohibit established Greek organizations from holding socials or functions with underground groups.

Junior Laura Davis, president of Phi Mu, said she thinks this new rule will benefit the Greek community as a whole by sending a clearer message about underground groups.

“The new rule is not designed to discourage personal friendships with members of these groups, but rather to show that their organization is not a legitimate part of the Greek community,” Davis said. “Students often complain about underground groups but still hold functions with them, which sends mixed messages. Hopefully this new rule will discourage future students from joining underground organizations since it takes away one of the benefits of being affiliated with a Greek chapter on campus.”

Junior Erika Wawzyanick, the president of Alpha Nu Omega said she agrees with the new policy and also thinks it will be advantageous to the Greek community.

“I think that the new rule is a great step in a process to improve Greek life at McDaniel,” Wawzyanick said. “I can say confidently that everyone in my organization is behind this proposal in the hopes it will bring … more people into the Greek system and we will build a stronger Greek community.”