Wash. U. to tighten fraternity social event security regulations
Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Austin Sweeney will continue to work alongside Washington University Police Department to determine if the Washington University fraternity social event policy warrants additional private B&D Security, Sweeney announced in an email to fraternity presidents and social chairs Oct. 13.
This policy does not reflect a change but a continuation of prior policy. Its loose implementation in previous years, however, caused confusion amongst many members of the Greek community, who believed Sweeney’s correspondence detailed changes.
Sweeney clarified that “dry mixers and date parties in houses do not require B&D.” According to Sweeney, the goal of having B&D security staff at larger events is to increase safety and comfort at events by providing more resources for the hosting fraternities, thereby mitigating any risks that may come with hosting many guests.
Many students involved in Greek organizations expressed concern about the security presence of B&D.
“B&D is a very difficult organization to work with. They’re not very respectful of guests, and people generally have a pretty negative attitude toward them,” junior Jacob Noel, Beta Theta Pi’s social chair, said. “They’re pretty rude to guests; they’re yelling at them. They’re kind of rough with people and just not really very respectful. I feel like they create more problems than they solve.”
Some students think that using a different security company could be a viable alternative.
“I think people overall have a really negative experience with B&D—so just having a different type of security company would really help,” senior Max Thompson, Beta’s president, said.
B&D Security declined to comment on the matter.
Other students think security services are unnecessary so long as each chapter is willing to take on responsibility.
“What I’ve witnessed in my two semesters as social chair is that really the best way to control risk and liability is for members of the fraternity to step up and step in themselves to take care of it,” junior Justin Coskey, the social chair of Alpha Delta Phi, said.
Despite their qualms about B&D, students involved in Greek life say they appreciate Sweeney’s openness to student input.
“I think [Sweeney] is very receptive, and he’s not by any means just throwing the policy at us,” Noel said. “I think he’s trying his best to work with us, but it’s a tricky situation.”
Members of the Greek community are also hopeful that Sweeney is prioritizing student safety.
“I think, since Austin Sweeney comes from the [Relationship & Sexual Violence Prevention] background, safety really is his number one priority,” Chi Omega Social Chair and junior Celeste Bleiberg said. “I think he’s really receptive to what people have to say regarding making events like this safer and more comfortable.”
“What’s great is that all the chapters and [Sweeney] are cooperating together to create a better Greek community at Wash. U.,” Coskey said. “A prerequisite to having fun is being safe and being comfortable. So, that’s a top priority for us, to ensure that everyone is safe, welcome, comfortable and having a good time.”
Although Greek organizers have been satisfied with Sweeney’s approach, some expressed concern that the increased stringency of security protocol will strain fraternities’ financial resources.
“My main problem with it is that everyone does their budgets at the beginning of the semester. And so, when you aren’t clear in whether or not we have to hire B&D, and then after all the budgeting and money is accounted for, then you tell us we need to do this—like we haven’t budgeted money for this,” Noel said. “So, I think it’s tough to implement this in the middle of the semester and expect people to just pay out of their dues to this.”