CU Student Government passed the “Shoulder to Shoulder Bill,” otherwise known as the “Greek bill,” on Thursday evening, allowing fraternity organizations to use campus facilities at student rates for the first time in eight years.
In a vote of 10 to 6 with two abstaining, the legislative council granted unaffiliated student group organizations, namely fraternities, the use of areas on campus that CUSG oversees at the standard student rate.
Prior to the bill, fraternities could not hold gatherings on the Boulder campus at the student rate because they were, and remain unaffiliated; large groups of students are generally not allowed to rent space to protect against damages. Ties were severed after the alcohol poisoning death of Lynn Gordon “Gordie” Bailey, Jr. during a Chi Psi hazing ritual in September of 2004.
It was the third time that Logan Schlutz, author of the Greek bill, had introduced legislation to grant fraternities student rates.
“I’ve always had this belief that students who are paying student fees should be able to access the cost centers and services that are supported by their student fees,” Schlutz said.
Because fraternities rarely use campus facilities at this time due to the high cost of renting space at the non-student rate, Schlutz argued that the university may profit from the legislation.
“My bill, if you read through it, actually meets university policy – as much as I think is appropriate,” Schlutz said. “I think our bill is very reasonable, and I think that’s why it passed.”
CU senior Vojo Vlahovic, President of Theta Xi in Boulder, attended the Thursday meeting with fraternity brothers in support of the Greek bill.
“Basically, the bill is supposed to relieve us from paying too much for campus services,” Vlahovic said, adding that Theta Xi does not organize on campus. He sees the legislation directing fraternities toward a renewed relationship with the university.
“They got divorced in ’04 and right now we’re trying to work things together,” Vlahovic said. “I know that for the past seven years we’ve had a very bad relationship, as far as IFC and fraternities go. There have been a couple of incidents that have contributed to that, and I am very sorry about that, but I believe that our actions and our events that we hold really help out the community.”
Megan Schwabauer, a freshman at CU, thinks that fraternities would benefit from a renewed affiliation with the university more than the campus would.
“If they’re going to continue not doing what they’re supposed to, then our university is going to look like more of the party school that it already is labeled,” Schwabauer said. The Greek system is a mystery to a lot of students on campus, she added, and may not be a big deal to a lot of her friends.
The Greek bill opens the doors to a university-fraternity relationship that had not been addressed since the 2004 incident. As one of the founding fathers and the outgoing president of the reorganized Chi Psi chapter in Boulder, Schlutz said that Boulder fraternities have improved since Bailey’s death and that the legislation reflects that.
“I understand the history there and why they separated and why CU has that policy, but I also believe in the autonomy of CU Student Government and I believe in our ability to create change,” Schlutz said.
He is unsure what implications the bill will have on fraternities’ future relationship with the university, though the legislation does inevitably tie the two, however minimally.
“The next steps in terms of this bill having legitimacy with the university officials is that there will be at least a discussion between the two groups,” Schlutz said. He and other CUSG members will sit down in private with Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Deb Coffman sometime in the near future.
“The university has said that they’re willing to work with us on this and they want us to have us create a solution, they want a positive outcome out of this, and I believe the IFC does, too,” Schlutz said.
The bill applies to all unaffiliated student group organizations that form on the Boulder campus, as long as the group is composed entirely of CU students and has a constitution and the ability to hold members judicially accountable.
Additionally, the bill reauthorizes funding for publicly held, on-campus events affiliated with sororities and multicultural Greeks, which was accidentally de-funded in June.
“Sororities, because we are affiliated with the campus, we’ll be able to get event funding for all-inclusive events for everyone on the community, whereas the IFC will just be paying the student rate to rent rooms in the cost centers,”Coco Wham, a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma said.
At least eight of the 13 CUSG legislative council members are affiliated with a Greek organization.
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Alison Noon at Alison.firstname.lastname@example.org.