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The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life will closely hold chapters accountable to new COVID-19 guidelines, which cover procedures such as social distancing, cleaning, and dining.

Credit: Kylie Cooper

Not all students who were committed to living in greek housing for the coming school year will be permitted to do so after new guidance from Penn requiring students to live in single bedrooms.

After the University announced its plan to invite all students back to campus on June 25, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life met with chapter presidents that evening to discuss changes to greek life for the upcoming semester. Greek organizations that do not have the space to provide all of their members with a single room have the power to determine who gets to stay in the chapter house, according to a document from OFSL summarizing the meeting. 

Students planning to live in greek housing in the fall were given three possible scenarios: remain living in the chapter house, obtain University assistance to find housing if not granted a spot in their chapter house by the end of the selection process, or choose to leave their greek housing commitment and seek a new housing arrangement for themselves, according to the OFSL document. 

“For students displaced from the chapter house, OFSL and Residential Services are assisting them with housing needs through the master lease options also being offered to students from CHAS,” Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs Tamara Greenfield King wrote in an emailed statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian. 

Every chapter house resident will pay the same price for a room regardless of its size. 

If a chapter is unable to fill their house to capacity in the fall, the University reserves the right to place an eligible undergraduate resident in the chapter house if they match the gender-identity of the chapter, the document reads. To accommodate their members, chapters that faced an overflow of housing demand given the new restrictions were permitted to work with other chapters in their council that had empty bedrooms.

Credit: Hannah Lazar OFSL and Residential Services are assisting the students who were displaced from their chapter house find new housing options.

Rising Wharton senior and Sigma Delta Tau President Rachel Brenner said her sorority used a lottery to determine which of its 39 members, who were originally planning to live in the house in the fall, will ultimately receive the 36 singles that Sigma Delta Tau can provide. Sigma Delta Tau is taking over the house that formerly belonged to Alpha Delta Pi to accommodate the high demand for its chapter house. 

Rising Wharton sophomore and Phi Gamma Delta member Diego Noriega said he will live in his fraternity’s chapter house this year, although some of his fraternity brothers will not be able to do so and will instead likely live together off campus.

University facility partners are working through a robust and regular cleaning schedule for each chapter house and Facilities and Real Estate Services will provide the houses with cleaning supplies as needed, according to the OFSL document.

Chapters with chefs or meal plans will be allowed to continue them with some modifications, the document reads. Residents will be able to eat inside their house, while members who are on the meal plan but do not live in the house will be required to utilize a "Grab-and-Go" option from the chapter house and will not be permitted to eat inside.  

This fall, the University is requiring students to avoid all gatherings and large events of 25 or more people, including in extracurricular activities and classrooms. Smaller gatherings of under 25 people are permitted to take place while following social distancing guidelines of maintaining a six-foot distance, wearing face coverings, and washing hands frequently.

All chapters will be required to conduct their meetings virtually, according to the guidance from OFSL.

King wrote to the DP that Penn will deal with greek life organizations that violate the University's coronavirus prevention guidelines “on a case-by-case basis.”      

“Chapters who violate social procedures will be held accountable — please do not jeopardize your house being closed for the remainder of the year if you violate this,” the OFSL document reads.

Rising Wharton senior and President of the Kappa Alpha Society Jordan Taylor said he believes fraternity members will have to hold each other accountable for keeping the house clean and ensuring there are not too many people in the common areas at the same time. 

“I really think this year’s gonna be a lot of fun still, and a lot of people can really benefit, build strong connections, and I think that as long as we take the proper steps to keep everyone healthy, I don’t think we’ll have any big issues.” 

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