WVU students dean critical of Greek organizations pushing separation

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A West Virginia University official is speaking out against a group of Greek life organizations that are promoting disengagement with the institution.

Three groups have already joined the Fraternity Forward Coalition, which is urging fellow organizations to separate from the university. The coalition is calling WVU’s oversight “unnecessary and infringes on their right to assemble.”

Corey Farris, the university’s dean of students, said officials need to have oversight to provide students protection.

“We’ve got an office that supports fraternities and sororities 24/7 where those students can walk into that office or seek help at any point,” he said. “This coalition is encouraging their members to step away if they don’t agree with the rules.”

University officials have worked with fraternities and sororities to change the culture on campus, with the effort increasing after the death of Nolan Burch in 2014. Burch, a member of Kappa Sigma, died from alcohol poisoning.

“We don’t want that to ever happen again to any parent that sends their son or daughter off to school,” Farris said.

Farris added officials have also pushed the importance of being part of the community and university through volunteer projects and student life events.

“Homecoming Week or intramurals are great ways for them to engage with each other,” he said. “If you don’t want to be a part of those things that are a part of the student experience, then I think the students are losing out.”

While the university cannot pursue legal action, Farris said WVU can inform students and parents about recognized organizations and the benefits of associating with the institution.

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