Monday, December 18, 2006

University of Colorado Fraternities Discuss Re-affiliation

CU fraternities prove their worth
By Paula Pant, Colorado Daily

Leaders in the InterFraternity Council, a student board overseeing fraternities at the University of Colorado, say they want to re-affiliate with the university.

But they continue to refuse to sign an agreement the university says is conditional to re-affiliation. So the IFC is planning a variety of moves in the upcoming semester -- like joint service projects with student groups and volunteering for campus departments -- to prove their worth within the CU community.

It's "almost a grassroots-type effort," said Aaron Eisenberg, Vice President of University Relations for the IFC.Fraternities lost their official affiliation with CU two years ago after refusing to sign an agreement that would defer rush until spring semester and require a live-in guardian at each house."

Our biggest sticking point with (CU) is we're not willing to move toward deferred recruitment," said Eisenberg. "... we feel it would kill the lifeblood of the fraternity system."

In spite of that separation, fall recruitment numbers for fraternities grew by about 15 percent this fall, when more than 350 freshmen men registered for rush.

Eisenberg said recruitment would have been lower had the frats waited until the spring, after freshmen have already thought about future roommates and are weighing their housing options for the following year.

A CU junior elected to his IFC position last month, Eisenberg said he's going to continue to push fraternities along a less insular route."In being alienated by the administration we have to seek other routes to build relationships (with CU) and show that we're still the biggest student group on campus," Eisenberg said.

That includes volunteering for campus organizations such as the CU Museum.

CU senior Chris Kline, the newly elected President of the IFC, says he's hopeful CU and fraternities can reach a compromise that would allow re-affiliation."We hope it's not a zero-sum game, either we sign (the agreement) or we lose," Kline said.

Kline said this spring semester, he'd like to propose that local police, fire and alcohol education leaders sit down with CU administrators and IFC leaders and, as a team, hammer out a workable solution.

Such a deal, Kline said, is preferable to "sign(ing) a mandate that people have no interest in at all."CU Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Ron Stump told the Colorado Daily two weeks ago that CU's current position on re-affiliation is what it always has been.

Stump said he's interested in engaging in talks with the IFC, but asked if a compromise -- sans agreement -- can be reached, he replied, "I'd have to talk to him (Kline) first about what he has in mind."

Eisenberg doesn't expect re-affiliation to happen quickly."It's something I don't think Ron is willing to compromise on, and it's certainly not something we're willing to compromise on," Eisenberg said.

Eisenberg sees himself "laying the groundwork" for re-affiliation several years down the road.If frats can show CU their value, he said, "two or three years down the line there's a much stronger positive image of the fraternity community."
(C) 2006 Colorado Daily