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No more parties in Durham: Frats rule to bar first-years from O-Week parties

<p>O-Week parties are often heavily attended by new first-years, but a new IFC rule is designed to prevent them from attending.</p>

O-Week parties are often heavily attended by new first-years, but a new IFC rule is designed to prevent them from attending.

A new Interfraternity Council rule hopes to keep first-years away from fraternity parties this upcoming Orientation Week. 

The regulation applies to parties from move-in day on August 20 through the first day of classes on the following Monday. Typically, newly arrived first-year students comprise a significant portion of O-Week party attendees for some fraternities. 

“IFC decided that aligning with the University's long-standing expectation that first-year students not attend O-Week parties would be in support of the orientation experience, and would better align with the [North American Interfraternity Conference] Standards around alcohol and recruitment,” wrote Emilie Dye, director of student engagement for fraternity and sorority life, in an email.

This change comes on the heels of North American Interfraternity Conference guidelines announced earlier this year. Those guidelines—set to go into effect Sept. 1—influenced the O-Week rule, Dye mentioned.

Duke’s IFC fraternities are under the NIC umbrella and will be expected to comply with the changes, which include substance-free rush events and third-party bartenders to serve hard alcohol.

IFC has informed fraternity chapters, New Student Programs and other relevant organizations to dissuade first-years from attending parties, Dye added. 

“Some of the other expectations around the NIC's Health and Safety Standards also include enforcement of a guest list at events, so first-year students should not be on guest lists for O-Week,” she wrote.

Any potential violations of the O-Week provision will be referred to IFC’s executive board, Dye explained. If chapters are determined to have violated the rule, the board will issue punishment, such as fines or recruitment sanctions.

Sue Wasiolek, dean of students and assistant vice president for student affairs, wrote that she was “enormously proud and pleased” with the decision, and that the new policy will benefit incoming students and fraternities.

“This decision will better enable the first-year students to focus on their transition to Duke while the fraternity members are able to get settled back on campus and begin to plan for the new year,” Wasiolek wrote.

Although potential rule violations are often routed through the Office of Student Conduct, she explained that IFC will be tasked with enforcing its new rule. Whether they are able to effectively enforce it remains to be seen.

“It has the potential to be an outstanding example of student self-governance,” she wrote.  

Senior Harrison Labban, president of IFC, declined to provide additional comment.