Zingg grinds 1,000 Greeks

In his second address to the Greek community in as many months, Chico State University President Paul Zingg laid out his expectations of the way fraternity and sorority members must behave if they want to remain part of the campus community.

Zingg made it clear to the nearly 1,000 people in attendance at the Bell Memorial Union auditorium Tuesday evening, April 12, that the Greek system would no longer operate as drinking clubs under the guise of fraternities and sororities or continue to endanger students in any way.

“You will no longer be an embarrassment to yourselves, your national organizations, your university and your host city,” Zingg said.

Members of the Greek community have until the start of the fall 2005 semester to begin implementing these mandates, which Zingg said will apply to the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic, local and ethnic Greek groups.

Zingg said all organizations will be expected to meet a certain GPA requirement and that only currently enrolled students will be eligible to join. Houses will be subject to annual fire and building code inspection, and written reports will be kept on file with the Student Affairs Office. The president said all recruitment events must be alcohol free and that hazing will not be tolerated in any form.

“These terms and conditions are aimed no less at the transformation of the Greek system at Chico State University, so that, if we continue to have one, it will be one of the premier Greek systems in the country,” Zingg said.

Since his first address in February, Zingg said, there has been a positive response from the Greek community, including the Inter-Fraternity Council’s agreeing not to host alcohol-related events during the first few weeks of the fall semester.

However, in that time the Greek system has made more headlines—most notably, the recent discovery that the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity participated in the filming of a hardcore porn film in October, 2004. Alcohol-related incidents have also continued to be problematic in the Greek community.

Zingg said that, although the burden falls on the Greeks’ shoulders, Chico’s drinking culture goes beyond fraternities and sororities.

To illustrate his point, Zingg read a letter from the father of a prospective student who decided against attending Chico State because, although he “was not the sort to get in trouble … he was not immune to the lures of Chico’s ‘party school’ reputation.”

Zingg’s first address to the Greek community came on Feb. 20, three weeks after 21-year-old Matthew Carrington died while pledging the Chi Tau fraternity. In his speech, Zingg announced the establishment of a task force to be headed by Vice President for Student Affairs Jim Moon that would conduct a thorough review of Chico Greeks to be concluded by the end of the current semester.

Although the review is ongoing, Zingg said in Tuesday night’s speech that he had received enough guidance from the task force, alumni and a university-contracted Greek-life consultant to begin directing actions immediately.

Following Zingg’s address, IFC President Nick Hollingsworth said revamping the Greek system will be a good thing. He said the IFC will be working with the university to improve recruiting in an effort to bring in more academic-minded students.

“We need to find those students who have higher standards for themselves,” Hollingsworth said.

Zingg said after his speech that he believes the members of the Greek system will respond to his conditions. Although the president has stated that he will go as far as shutting down the Greek system, he said it’s an avenue he’d rather not take.

“I think if we got rid of the Greek system, it would be a failure.”