The Office of Student Development sent out a school-wide email on April 8, announcing that there will be no more parties for the remainder of the spring semester.
The email, sent to all Albion students, read: “Based on ongoing and new concerns and to create a safe space for all students on the Albion College campus, we are continuing the pause on socials, mixers and parties in all Greek houses for the rest of the 2021-22 academic year.”
The announcement comes after a year of turbulence on the Greek side of campus. Most recently, a fight took place at the Sigma Nu house where one student ended up in the hospital and an Albion resident, not an Albion student, was arrested on gun charges after brandishing a firearm, per an Albion College safety bulletin.
Violence is not the college’s only concern with the Greek community, sexual assaults at Albion have also been worrying. Reports of sexual assault have been trending upward, and the college’s decision to end all parties on campus has been done with that in mind.
“We did it out of an abundance of caution for all the students on campus after the incident that took place in March,” said Albion College spokesperson Cathy Cole, in reference to the fight at Sigma Nu. “It was just safer to stop all parties, socials or mixers.”
Cole said that the decision was made in coordination with the Greek leadership.
“In this instance, it was all or nothing,” Cole said. “The decision was made to take a reset, and then start again.”
The choice to pause parties has been met with outrage. Many members of the Greek community recognize the concern but feel that they have been dealt with unfairly.
“Women have felt uncomfortable or unsafe at every house, and that needs to be addressed,” said Brendan Ritchie, Holland junior and the former president and current director of recruiting for Albion’s Delta Tau Delta fraternity chapter.
The Greek community has taken steps to address the rising cases of sexual assault, including a cooperative effort between the fraternities and the sororities on campus to generate lists of things to make both sides feel more comfortable. But the administration’s decision indicates that this has not been enough.
The Assistant Dean of Campus Life, Sharese Mathis, oversees Greek life at Albion College. Multiple members of Albion fraternities have described their rocky relationships with Mathis.
Ritchie explained that the language used by the administration, especially by Mathis, indicates an expectation of failure.
“She doesn’t think that we can do it,” Ritchie said. “It feels like she is looking for us to fail as Greeks.”
The shut down of Greek events also means that fraternities and sororities cannot hold mixers, a social event between one fraternity and one sorority. The email sent to all Albion students says that the goal of the pause is to, “help sororities and fraternities establish healthier inter-Greek relations.”
Some feel that the pause on mixers works against this intended goal.
“I don’t understand how that’s going to work if we can’t do events with them for the rest of the year,” said Luke Seaman, Bloomfield Hills junior. Seaman is the current vice president of Sigma Nu at Albion.
Seaman explained that the frustration among students is widespread. They desire more autonomy in a system that they feel has become rather authoritarian.
“The administration is making everything more difficult than it should be,” said Seaman.
The same sentiment is shared by Ritchie.
“There are way too many hoops to jump through for everything,” said Ritchie.
Some members of the Greek community at Albion see a narrow path forward, and it is one they may not be willing to take. Sigma Nu President Everett Conely, Brighton sophomore, put it plainly:
“I have no reason to stay at this school if I don’t have my fraternity,” said Conely.
Assistant Dean Mathis declined to comment.