Eight fraternities at USC have disaffiliated with the university this month over new rules that were supposed to address allegations of sexual assault at parties. The chapters have formed their own council and are hosting activities for prospective members now. That’s despite USC’s ban on fall rush for new students, which was instituted in 2017 after reports of hazing and concerns over the negative academic effects of the pledge process for new Trojans.
The new rules stemmed from allegations that students were drugged at the Sigma Nu fraternity house in the fall of 2021. One person reported they were also sexually assaulted. Widespread and sustained protests followed, and the USC Interfraternity Council condemned the allegations, while the university stopped all social gatherings at fraternity houses.
Then in January of this year, USC rolled out new requirements ahead of the spring 2022 semester, which included prohibiting guests from entering bedrooms during social events and posting guards at entryways, as well as hallways leading to bedrooms. Eight fraternities, excluding Sigma Nu, then cut ties with the university and formed their own umbrella organization called the University Park Interfraternity Council (UPIFC). They say they shouldn’t be disciplined for the actions of other fraternities, and believe USC's new blanket bans are too strict. Those frats say they've also helped create rules to prevent sexual assault. That’s all according to Debbie Truong, who covers higher education for the LA Times.
“They felt they weren't really being heard by USC. They decided to separate because they felt that USC was painting everyone with the same brush,” Truong explains.
USC has condemned the breakaway fraternities.
“They are saying that the rules that the university is trying to put in place [are] intended to prevent sexual assault and to address some of these issues that were such a major flashpoint in the fall, and that by breaking away, the fraternities are chafing at them,” Truong says.
In separating themselves, the UPIFC fraternities are not allowed to use any USC logos or brands, participate in campus-wide clubs or committees, and have lost access to the Greek life online portal.