Building a New Greek System

By Erika Mahoney

September 21, 2012 Updated Sep 21, 2012 at 6:44 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Binghamton University students involved in Greek Life are working hard to create a better image of their reputation.

Earlier this week, a New York Times article painted a scary picture of dangerous hazing last spring in the BU greek system.

Several BU students at the rally said the article was very disheartening.

"We really went into this new school year with a renewed attitude, a renewed sense of cooperation, and then this New York Times article drops and it kind of just shook things all up again," said Sigma Beta Rho member Jamal Lama. "[It was] demoralizing and it just re-hashed a lot of feelings we had last semester, which was counterproductive."

Holding signs and wearing their letters, about 100 students stood together on the same platform, a platform for moving on.

"Greek life stands for so many great things and for us to have the negative publicity is an issue," said Professional Fraternity Council President Jessica Iankowitz. "We have had problems in the past, which is why we are charting a whole new system. We are going to have a new greek adviser and we are instilling a lot of new rules that I think will put us in a good direction."

While several of the students said they wish the negative press and past issues never happened, they also said it offers an opportunity to turn a new page.

"I know things weren't great two years ago and last year," said Iankowitz. "If this is what it takes to change, well then I'm glad it happened because a lot of people weren't proud to wear their letters."

Iankowitz says new changes to the system include caps on how late students can stay out and party packs which will require pizza and water to be served at parties.

BU Dean of Students says the university is also in the process of hiring a new greek director.

"I feel very proud for a couple of reasons," said Dean of Students April Thompson. "One, there is so many of them, two, this was their project. This wasn't something where I came in and said we are going to do this."

New recruitment, or rush, begins Sunday, Sept. 23.

"I do think that some people are scared, so that's why we are here today, to show that we really are serious about the no hazing and that the article is not really right in what they said," said Delta Phi Epsilon member Danielle Napear. "We are here to change and we are serious about it."

Thompson said all investigations are complete.The fraternities and sororities under investigation have been offered an agreement that they can either sign or move forward with hearings.

Thompson did not want to say how many organizations, or which organizations, were under investigation.