GPA Requirements Going Up for Greeks

Grade point average requirements for UNC Greeks who want to participate in rush activities will inch up under new guidelines approved by the UNC trustees in March.

The Office of Student Affairs also is setting up a new and expanded Greek affairs office in Granville South, a location close to many of the Interfraternity Council’s off-campus frat houses. The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life will have four full-time staff — up from the current two — and will provide offices and meeting space for all four Greek organizations at Carolina. The plan calls for Greeks to supplement the cost of the office with an annual fee that has not been determined but could be on the order of $25 per student.

Greeks came under renewed scrutiny by campus administrators and the trustees after the death in August 2009 of Delta Kappa Epsilon President Courtland Smith in a confrontation with police officers and after some alcohol and drug policy violations by other Greeks that fall. The GPA changes sprang from a student affairs probe into ways to help Greeks improve the reputation that some have acquired for behavioral problems, primarily violations of alcoholic beverage rules.

The 2.5 GPA standard for rush participation, believed to date to the 1970s, was raised to 2.7 for the fraternity or sorority to engage in rush. The standard to participate in fall rush, which includes freshmen, will go up to match the all-campus average by 2012. That currently is about 3.1, said Jonathan Sauls ’94, director of fraternity and sorority life.

Sauls emphasized that a failure to meet the standard would not immediately cut off rush privileges but would trigger a process by which his office would try to find out where the problem existed. A fraternity with a very small number of members could, for instance, be dragged under the standard by “two guys having a rough semester.”

“It’s not a ‘gotcha’ system,” Sauls said. He said his office would expand its resources to be in a better position to help Greeks improve academically and with social and behavioral issues.

He added that the move to the expanded program in Granville could be the beginnings of something some universities have but Carolina does not — an organization focused on the off-campus activities of students. Such a group within the Greek system easily could become a resource for all students.

Carolina has four separate organizations of Greeks: the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, Greek Alliance Council and National Pan-Hellenic Council. The first two include almost all of the fraternity and sorority houses, all of which are located on private property.

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