MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– Students at West Virginia University are owning up to behavioral issues and the party culture around campus that led to riots, arrests, a student’s death and the suspension of Greek life this semester.
“One of the things they told us was ‘we own the problem. We recognize it and we’re the ones who are going to fix it,'” relayed WVU Dean of Students Corey Farris.
Members from WVU’s 30 fraternities and sororities met with nationally known facilitators Kimberly Novak and Rick Barnes during an invitation-only forum Monday night to address the problems head-on and discuss how to the students and Greek community could begin changing the party culture around campus. During the fall semester riots broke out in Morgantown following an upset win over Baylor. At least three students were expelled as a result of the riots. Several more were disciplined by the university.
19 students were charged after police responded to the South Park Neighborhood in November to reports of intoxicated students screaming, yelling and engaging in disorderly conduct.
Finally last month, freshman Nolan Burch, 18, died during a fraternity activity. He was reportedly a Kappa Sigma pledge.
WVU placed a moratorium on all Greek live activities on campus. During that time, national fraternity leaders announced the revocation of Beta Theta Pi’s charter for unrelated issues.
“The issues we’ve had this fall semester, they bubbled to the surface. We didn’t get there overnight and the problem’s not going to be fixed overnight.”
During the discussion, students put everything on the table to be modified in an effort to begin address how to remedy the problem. Students talked about how to recruit new quality members, the best time to recruit new members, how long a period do you need for pledging and how to change their perception in the community.
“They know there are some thing their nationals are guiding them on that they need to modify locally but they also know they need to repair their image with the community. Not only are they looking at themselves as a Greek community but they’re looking at all students and all student organizations on campus,” said Farris.