Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cal Poly Holds Greek Summit on Alcohol and Hazing

Cal Poly's Greek Summit discusses alcohol abuse and hazing
Reported by Ryan Foran

Alcohol abuse and hazing were the primary points of discussion at Cal Poly's Greek Summit this past weekend.

The annual meeting took on more importance this year after the recent death of Cal Poly fraternity pledge Carson Starkey. Investigators believe hazing led to Starkey's death. The fraternity he was pledging, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, has since been kicked off campus.

"Up in Cambria, the message we as a university really wanted to give to the students was, you are under a microscope. We will be watching you and there will be responses to what might have been a warning in the past, is not going to be a warning in the future. Everything changed on December 2nd," said Stephan Lamb the associate director of Student Life and Leadership at Cal Poly.

Many things did change on the day Carson Starkey died. Now Cal Poly's Greek community is changing as well.

At the summit, Cal Poly administrators and members of its Greek leadership agreed to eliminate alcohol from the pledging process. Winter recruiting for new fraternity and sorority members has been suspended. And a first of its kind Greek Academy will be held next month to further the discussion.

"It's going to be tough, but the way I see it, with every great challenge comes great opportunity. And, I feel like we can make a difference now and hopefully better our Greek community in the future," said Anton De Leon, the Interfraternity Council president at Cal Poly.

De Leon knows changes need to be made, but he also realizes it won't be easy convincing the more than 2,000 students that make up the Greek community on campus.

"The presidents and the executive board members, we were all on the same page. We all had the same philosophy, but when I got back here some of the people here weren't really on the same page," added De Leon.

"Life will never be the same, and the institutions' response to behaviors will never be the same," Lamb explained.

De Leon and Lamb also said Cal Poly's fraternities and sororities will be stepping up their social outreach programs in the community as well.

Nearly 70 Greek leaders were at the summit. The school is expecting 300 students at the Greek Academy next month.

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