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UT’s Greek community attempts to limit large gatherings

University of Toledo’s Greek community doing its part to limit populated events to slow spread of COVID-19.
Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 6:42 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) -The University of Toledo is officially back in session for the school year, and with it normally comes the gatherings, get-togethers, and parties.

UT’s first day of the semester was Monday, welcoming its students back on campus for the first time since mid-March.

On the night of the first day of classes, UT’s Interfraternity Council met to create a formal plan to manage the safety and control of twelve social fraternities.

“We don’t want to police everybody, but we want to protect our community and Greek life and the University of Toledo,” said IFC VP of Public Relations Chad Oswald.

The six Executive Board members of the University of Toledo Inter-Fraternity Council, including Oswald, signed into action an official resolution consisting of guidelines and preventive measures to ensure proper social distancing behaviors/practices within chapters.

The resolution included five promises for members to uphold:

1. Recognize that holding events in violation of above guidelines is willfully irresponsible, places others in harm’s way, and is subject to universal discipline;

2. Further Recognize that if public presence is necessary, taking precautions (i.e. masks, face coverings, physical distance, etc.) is the responsible course of action and can limit risk of spreading sickness;

3. Reaffirm Health and Safety guidance conveyed to community members by the UToledo Greek life office;

4. Strong Discourage our organizations and members from sponsoring gatherings of greater than 10 people for the foreseeable future, in accordance with applicable ordinances;

5. Strong Encourage anonymous reporting of offending events and behaviors, regardless of affiliation, to the Division of Student Affairs, Dean of Students, or professional Greek Life Staff.

“Essentially we told our community to be smart, be safe, and that we trusted them, but we also need them to know we are here to hold them accountable,” said Oswald.

The resolution comes to ensure the safety of all fraternity members.

“There’s going to be a spike, it’s going to happen,” said Phi Kappa Psi member Josh Cross. “You know we can’t really tell them no we can’t go out and party, there’s not a lot you can really do for that. There’s going to be a spike I just don’t know when that will be.”

The University is taking it upon itself to also mandate restrictions of Greek life by adhering to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s orders, and in turn, Greek organizations will limit events to ten or fewer members.

“We’re never going to fully eradicate the risk, but how do we provide them with education and the resources to help make them make the best decisions and the smartest decisions,” said UT’s assistant director for Greek Life Alex Zerechel.

UT’s Office of Greek Life explained that many activities have moved online to Zoom or Skype.

“We have encouraged our groups who still want to have that sense of brotherhood, that sense of sisterhood, and sense of normalcy is to use third party establishments off-campus, that have their own restart, reopening plans provided by Mike DeWine,” said Zerechel. “You know our houses here at McComas Village have 21 people living in them so if you go to a party and come back, you don’t know who you’re potentially exposing.”

Zerechel said that no matter what actions are put into place it comes down to how well the University of Toledo educates it’s Rocket students on how to best be safe.

“Our students want to be together. We are social human beings. So they have been away from campus or their college community since March. The best thing we can do is provide the most education,” said Zerechel.

Although the University of Toledo’s fraternity and sorority members are still within their first week back on campus, some are saying they are beginning to understand a new normal with Greek life.

“It’s tough, it’s not as fun as what it used to be, but we have to find new ways to adapt. Obviously we have Zoom and we have video games and online platforms, so I mean we’re adapting. We’re just finding new ways to enjoy our company even though it might not be as personable but it’s just learning to grow and adapt in situations,” said Oswald.

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