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Greek Life

Changing policies of Greek life parties on college campuses

By March 27, 2018September 25th, 2023No Comments


At many universities, Greek life organizations dominate the social sphere of college campuses. Greek life organizations, and fraternities in particular, control the party atmosphere on their respective campus. The draw of the parties is often what gets students interested in joining a fraternity or sorority or even in applying to a certain university over another.

However, as many parents and students are aware, these parties attract all sorts of potential student and ethic code violations. These violations can be anything from an underage drinking violation to sexual assault. It is no secret that Greek life parties are a breeding ground for dangerous behaviors which have grown increasingly subject to public scrutiny. Certain instances of dangerous behavior have even resulted in a few cases with death, usually involving alcohol and/or hazing.

This awareness of the dangerous behaviors that occurs at Greek parties has led to calls for change as many University administrations to attempt to crack down on fraternities’ and sororities’ ability to host parties and provide alcohol. According to the New York Times, the “North-American Interfraternity Conference has proposed a voluntary pilot program that would bar alcohol in the common areas of fraternity houses, except during registered parties served by a licensed vendor.”

These new sanctions would require Greek life organizations to only be allowed to throw parties once a semester with strict limitations on how much alcohol can be served, when and to who. The basic idea is that fraternity and sorority leaders cannot be trusted to throw their own parties because they often provide too much alcohol which results in reckless behavior.

These policies are slowly making their way around to be implemented in various universities throughout the U.S. For example, at The George Washington University in D.C. it is against the student organization conduct code for a Greek organization to throw a party that is not registered through the school. As a result, almost every single Greek organization on campus has been found in violation of that conduct code. The truth is that Greek organizations need parties in order to get new recruits, and since many of these prospective members are underage, the organization does not want to register their event with the university because then they will not be able to offer alcohol to the underage pledges. By not registering their party, they are able to provide alcohol for anyone who requests it and thus, creates an optimal party environment. Currently, it seems that these new sanctions have had little effect on fraternities’ and sororities’ ability to throw parties with alcohol, but it has seemed to give them an incentive to register their parties before hosting them or have their parties elsewhere.

Despite the popular view that the only way to party in college is to attend a fraternity house party, students may also hold small scale “kick-backs” in their houses or dorms and also host events at private venues such as bars and clubs. The fraternity house party is often publicized in television and movies which causes students who start in college to immediately seek out Greek life in order to gain access to parties.

However, at schools like The George Washington University partying is restricted by small Greek life houses that are not able to hold large amounts of people without having an inevitable code violation. For this reason many students who attend schools without access to large fraternity house parties often end up going out to clubs or bars instead with a fake I.D. which is a huge risk to the student. Since these clubs and bars are off campus many students feel safe from their school, however if you get arrested or cited for having a fake I.D. off campus the police will usually alert your university officials of your fake I.D. which can result in student conduct code violations on top of your possible existing false identification and underage drinking violations with the police.

For that reason, students need to be very careful when going out and not feel that they are exempt from the consequences of underage drinking and using fake I.D.s.



These materials have been prepared by WGW for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.

These materials have been prepared by WGW for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.


These materials have been prepared by Cohen Seglias for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.

Shan Wu

Author Shan Wu

Shan’s professional and personal background gives him a unique understanding of academic institutions and the criminal justice system. A former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., he is at home in D.C. Courts and very familiar with all of the Washington, D.C. law enforcement agencies, especially the Metropolitan Police Department. His parents were university professors so he grew up in a university environment. He understands the mindset of academic institutions. As a prosecutor, he supervised in the misdemeanor crime section. This is the section of the Washington, D.C. prosecutor’s office that handles most college student cases. His understanding of charging decisions and how judges view these cases is invaluable to his student clients and their families. Shan served as a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for over ten years. During his tenure there, now Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. appointed him to supervisory positions in the Misdemeanor Trial Section and also in a police corruption task force. His outstanding legal work in the government was recognized through numerous Special Achievement Awards from the Justice Department as well as awards conveyed by law enforcement agencies and community groups. From 1999-2000, Shan served as Counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno, advising her on criminal and civil investigations, E-Gov, E-Commerce (electronic signatures, internet gambling, internet telephony, privacy & public access issues in electronic court filings), congressional oversight, and legislative review. His responsibilities included serving as liaison to the FBI, DEA, Criminal Division, Executive Office of United States Attorneys, National Institute of Justice, and White House Counsel’s Office. Shan serves on the D.C. Bar Association’s Hearing Committee of the Board on Professional Responsibility and is a past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association for the Greater Washington, D.C. area. He is a 1988 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, where he graduated Order of the Barristers, edited two law reviews, and was Co-Director of the Moot Court Program. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from Vassar College as well as a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Following law school, he clerked for the late Hon. Jerry Buchmeyer, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and the late Eugene Wright, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and Connecticut.

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