Two fraternities that had initially resisted approving updated agreements with the University of Virginia said Friday that they had signed the new contracts under pressure from the school’s administration.
The Kappa Alpha Order and Alpha Tau Omega fraternities joined the 29 other U-Va. houses in signing the Fraternal Order Agreements with the university by Friday’s deadline. Inter-Fraternity Council president Tommy Reid said that all 31 members of the organization had agreed to accept the new rules, which were designed by the university to discourage binge drinking at parties and enhance campus safety.
Kappa Alpha and Alpha Tau Omega officials said in a statement that a campus-wide ban instituted by the administration following a Rolling Stone article detailing sexual assault allegations at a U-Va. fraternity was unfair to the Greek system at large. The two fraternities said that the administration had coerced the local chapter into signing the documents and that the Greek organizations are “exploring the right to pursue any legal remedies.”
“It is extraordinarily disappointing to see a university of this caliber sacrifice the ideals of freedom of association and due process on the altar of public opinion,” the statement says. “The University has made it clear in writing today that our organizations will remain suspended if we do not sign the new FOA immediately and have rejected our requests for an extension to continue discussing our concerns. Given the threat of further sanctions and retaliation by the University the chapters reluctantly have agreed to sign the FOA so that our students can resume normal operations.”
The new FOA contracts expire in May.
“We anticipate more equitable treatment by the University in any possible future agreement,” the fraternities said in the statement.
University officials commended the student leaders who helped develop the new agreements.
“These student-driven, thoughtful agreements have now been signed by all of the fraternities and sororities as part of their FOAs with the University,” University officials said in a statement late Friday. “We are grateful for the leadership shown by our students in achieving this result. We have jointly committed that the University and Greek council student leaders will revisit the FOA in May – upon the expiration of the existing agreements – to evaluate any adjustments or improvements that may be warranted.”