Two UVA Fraternities Are Refusing To Sign The University’s New FOA Following The Rolling Stone Scandal

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The rough ride for Greeks at the University of Virginia is still a few steps away from finally reaching its conclusion. It has been an exhausting several months for the Cavalier Greeks, and it all started when Rolling Stone published a graphic feature story, which detailed an alleged rape at the UVA Phi Psi house. Shortly after the story broke, major media outlets began questioning the legitimacy of the allegations. Rolling Stone followed these questions with a surprising admission, claiming the publication “misplaced trust” in Jackie, the woman who claimed to be the victim of the rape. Finally, after a period of chaos and nightmares, UVA announced it was lifting the suspension placed on fraternities and sororities.

It seemed as if the end of the suspension would be the culmination of this entire saga. Instead, a new battle has begun between the university and two fraternities. Kappa Alpha Order and Alpha Tau Omega are refusing to sign the new Fraternity Operating Agreement (FOA) presented to them by the school. Both fraternities are doing so because they viewed the university’s blanket suspension of Greek life without due process as a major red flag, and one that was wrongly imposed upon 25 percent of the UVA student body.

From NBC29:

Alpha Tau Omega and Kappa Alpha Order say the university violated the original fraternity operating agreement (FOA), going as far as accusing UVA of strong-arming fraternities by suspending them.

Both fraternities also say the new agreement creates unique legal burdens on students.

“I think the fraternities want to understand why it is the university took action against 25 percent of the student body and suspended them without any thought to due process,” said KevinO’Neilll, member of the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee.

The fraternity that suffered the most from the Rolling Stone debacle, Phi Kappa Psi, has already signed the new FOA.

The agreement was developed by students, and it features several changes to Greek party rules.

The agreements were developed by student groups and would require that parties not serve pre-mixed drinks or punches, beer to only be served from unopened cans, wine poured by a sober brother, and security at the doors.

The two fraternities refusing to sign the agreement issued nearly identical statements on the issue.

Kappa Alpha Order is not signing the new Fraternity Operating Agreement (FOA) for two reasons:

The University violated the previous FOA as well as student individual and organizational rights. The system-wide suspension, which was initiated for reasons that were found to be untrue, unfairly punished all members of fraternities and sororities. It was maintained and used as leverage to require the changes to the FOA. Because we do not accept the validity of a suspension imposed in contravention of the existing FOA, university policy, Virginia law and the constitutional rights of our members, we are not compelled to sign a revised FOA to continue operations on campus.

Second, Kappa Alpha Order’s own risk management policies, much like the policies of all national fraternities and sororities, are as strict or more strict than this new FOA. Our chapter will comply with the more restrictive of the policies in its activities. We are concerned that the university’s revision to the FOA may create new liability for individual members of our organizations that is more properly a duty to be borne by the university itself.

Together, these circumstances set a dangerous precedent of an erosion of student and organizational rights.

Kappa Alpha Order fully welcomes the opportunity to work with UVA on continuing dialogue of partnership and risk management education. This should occur on an ongoing basis, not under these pretenses.

INDIANAPOLIS-Alpha Tau Omega is not signing the new Fraternity Operating Agreement (FOA) for two reasons:

The University violated the previous FOA as well as student individual and organizational rights. The system-wide suspension, which was initiated for reasons that were found to be untrue, unfairly punished all members of fraternities and sororities. It was maintained and used as leverage to require the changes to the FOA. Because we do not accept the validity of a suspension imposed in contravention of the existing FOA, university policy, Virginia law and the constitutional rights of our members, we are not compelled to sign a revised FOA to continue operations on campus.

Second, Alpha Tau Omega’s own risk management policies, much like the policies of all national fraternities and sororities, are as strict or more strict than this new FOA. Our chapter will comply with the more restrictive of the policies in its activities. We are concerned that the university’s revision to the FOA may create new liability for individual members of our organizations that is more properly a duty to be borne by the university itself.

Together, these circumstances set a dangerous precedent of an erosion of student and organizational rights. Alpha Tau Omega fully welcomes the opportunity to work with UVA on continuing dialogue of partnership and risk management education. This should occur on an ongoing basis, not under these pretenses.

This entire saga only continues to take unexpected turns.

[via NBC29]

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