As students return to school and the COVID-19 number spikes on campus, Greek life organizations across the country have come under fire for not having responsibility for maintaining safe practices.
At the UMKC, however, Greek life was relatively uncritical.
“I think our university provides excellent guidance on event planning and personal behavior. We go virtually with IFC (Interfraternity Council) meetings, our house on campus has a limited capacity and we no longer allow guests, ”said Noah Kuzca, IFC President of UMKC. "These are just a few examples of how we can make our contribution to the security of UMKC."
As an additional protective measure, the IFC can now punish members of Greek organizations if they fail to comply with the new binding regulations. Violations will be reported to the UMKC Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Advisor in order to expose students to further disciplinary action.
"We have an internal court case for the IFC," said Kuzca. "It was required that our fraternities follow all UMKC protocols. If a violation had been reported, we would have opened an investigation."
In addition to new regulations, Greek life organizations had to adapt to the social challenges of the coronavirus.
"Regarding the events in our chapters, many creative ways have been found to come together safely," said Panhellenic of UMKC Council President Emily Rackers. "From hosting small-group outdoor events to using the zoom features I've never heard of, I've been impressed with how well our community has adapted to keep our members safe."
While it is impossible to say how effective the changes were, UMKC has reported fewer infections than other regional universities.
Just across the state line, the University of Kansas (KU) is currently booming with COVID cases on its campus, especially within fraternities and sororities. According to the KC Star, as of September 1, more than half of the campus' 546 cases involved Greek life. KU Chancellor Douglas Girod also noted that within the Greek community, every tenth student tested positive for coronavirus.
In view of the increasing number of cases, the KU students are demanding that their campus be closed and that lessons be held entirely online. This resulted in a massive march last Monday during which students protested the personal tuition. The IFC President of the KU, Joe Davidson, declined to comment.
Despite national challenges, it was possible to continue a more reserved Greek life at UMKC.