Emory Residence Life and Housing (ResLife) has conducted walkthroughs of fraternity houses since the beginning of the fall semester in order to check for rule violations, according to Jeff Tate, assistant director of housing operations.
As part of the walkthroughs, house directors – Emory graduate students who oversee the daily operations of the houses – check the common areas of each house on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.
According to Tate, the walkthroughs are there to ensure resident comfort and safety.
“We encourage residents on Eagle Row to access the House Director On Call when they need support,” Tate said. “House Director rounds have taken place in the past and started again this past fall as a way to increase their visibility as a resource as well as enhance the safety of the community.”
College senior and former Interfraternity Council (IFC) President Jason Stern added that the reason for the walkthrough policy is to ensure that no unregistered parties occur, policies on alcohol are enforced and no hazing is taking place.
One of the policies enforced is a ban on drinking games, even for participants who are 21 years old, according to the housing policy website.
According to ResLife policy, “beer slides, drinking contests and drinking contest paraphernalia (i.e. funnels, beer pong tables and ice slides) are prohibited within residential facilities,” in addition to a ban on alcohol in common areas.
Some fraternity members take issue with the walkthrough policy and the perceived message that it sends.
“Even though it is University policy, no fraternity enjoys feeling they’re constantly being watched,” an IFC chapter president who requested anonymity to protect the identity of his chapter said to the Wheel. “Our chapters pay to use the common rooms in the houses and lately we feel restricted in a lot of what we do.”
College sophomore Alan Bleiberg calls the policy an invasion of privacy.
“Since they own our houses, they have the right to do this,” Bleiberg said. “Yet since Emory fosters such a strong Greek community, I don’t think it’s fair to then limit and direct the atmosphere of our experiences.”
Another IFC chapter president, who also requested anonymity to protect the identity of his chapter, said that while he understands the intent behind the walkthrough, he feels the reality of the situation is something different.
“The walkthroughs do a very effective job of making us feel uncomfortable,” he said to the Wheel. “I feel that the policy does nothing to address students pregaming in their rooms.”
He added that with the walkthroughs occurring, there is a perceived shift toward drinking moving “underground” or off campus, essentially eliminating oversight and creating a safety issue.
Tate said that the reintroduction of the enforcement of policies is in the best interest of the Emory community.
“In order to facilitate a safe and healthy living and learning environment, all residential staff address and document behaviors that may violate policies including the housing policy on alcohol,” Tate said. “In partnership with the leadership of each fraternity and sorority chapter residing on Eagle Row, we uphold the standards of community.”
– By Stephen Fowler
News Editor Dustin Slade contributed reporting