Murray State Lifts Suspension On Greek Life Social Events, Implements Policy Changes

Aug 24, 2018

Murray State University has lifted its suspension on Greek Life social events. University officials outlined changes to the social event policy in a press conference on Friday following committee meetings over the summer.

Director of Communication Shawn Touney said “the matter is considered closed” and the university is moving forward.

Murray State suspended Greek Life on campus in May following the death of a non-student in an off-campus fraternity house in April and a reported sexual assault in an off-campus fraternity house in early May. University leadership formed a committee to examine the Greek Life policy and its enforcement. The committee included university leaders, law enforcement and students and received feedback from alumni, active members, advisors, national headquarters and reviewed policies from other colleges.

Vice President of Student Affairs Don Robertson
Credit Matt Markgraf / WKMS

“After a thorough review of these recommendations, changes will be implemented to the Greek Life social policy and the recommendations have been accepted by the office of student affairs,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Don Robertson. “As a result, the current ban on Greek social events has now been lifted and chapters can begin planning for the 2018-19 academic year.”

College of Business Dean Tim Todd and Department of History Chair Kathy Callahan expressed gratitude to the committee, particularly the students involved, for bringing ideas to the table.

Todd said some of the highlights of the implemented changes include increasing the GPA standard, lowering the number of attendees at social events, increasing event security and enhancing education and training.

Regarding monitor training, Callahan said the training being developed over the fall semester is different than Title IX training, which covers issues such as sexual harassment and bystander intervention. She said the training will be based on social events, “about recognizing situations where people are both drinking responsibly and irresponsibly.” She said several aspects will enable students to “do a better job at hosting events.”

Robertson explained that lowering the number of attendees makes events restrictive to members of Greek chapters and invited guests. “It’s very important that there be a very specific guest list when chapters are having these social functions,” he said. When checking in and out of social events, one must go through a check-in process and show identification. Previously, people could be signed in at the door if there was available space - this has been changed in the new policy. The Greek ID system is in the process of being developed.

In limiting non-Greek MSU students to up to 15 at events, Robertson said past problems typically have been from non-Greek members. “This should be activities for Greeks.” He said the committee, involving student input, didn’t want to prohibit non-Greek students all-together.

The new $10 Greek fee per semester will cover educational programs, bring in speakers, new check in/out software and most of what is to be required under the new policy. Robertson said Murray State may supplement periodically if there was a need to do so.

As to how to enforce the policies, Robertson said there will be specific training for monitors and are required to have a hired security official at the front entrance. The job of the monitor, he said, is not just to monitor who comes into the event, but to monitor what’s going on during the social function. Callahan added that security must be a licensed and bonded member of law enforcement.

The Greek Standards Board would provide much of the oversight, Robertson said. He said the Greek Life and Student Affairs offices would also assist and students should self-monitor. Should a group choose to not follow policies, they’d go before the standards board and could lose their social privileges.

The policies affect approximately 20 chapters on campus, officials said, and about half of those have houses.

“There is no chapter under this total social policy ban,” Robertson said. However, two groups are still suspended and are scheduled to go before the Greek Standards Board in the next week or so, according to Robertson.

Vice President of University Advancement Adrienne King said the names of those houses won’t be released until after they’ve gone before the Greek Standards Board. “Those two houses are on a separate suspension that was not impacted by the university’s overall Greek event policy suspension,” King said. She clarified that thought the suspension has been lifted, those two houses cannot have events. Robertson said, “Those two chapters know who they are.”

As for the policy changes, Robertson said, “We feel strongly that they are supportive of these new procedures and guidelines and will follow them. If they don’t then we do have a Greek Standards Board that can deal with that.” He said student involvement in the changes was “critical.” He said moving forward will require a collective effort from everyone. Callahan added, “People support what they help create.”

Overview of the committee and changes:

A handout at the Friday press conference outlining the committee and policy changes.
Credit Matt Markgraf / WKMS
Page 2 of a handout at the Friday press conference outlining the committee and policy changes.
Credit Matt Markgraf / WKMS