Viewpoints: Texas State Greek life needs a culture shift

Texas State University lost two students in fraternity-related deaths over the past two years — not because the university’s rules allowed reckless bingeing on alcohol, but because the culture did.

This week, the university announced sweeping new policies for Greek organizations after the deaths of Matthew McKinley Ellis and Jordin Taylor. We welcome this more vigorous effort to prohibit underage drinking, but let’s not forget that Texas State already had such policies on the books. Bulking up the rulebook isn’t enough. Administrators must promote a culture shift by using new tools to publicly hold fraternities and sororities accountable and by imposing swift, seriouspenalties for students who endanger others.

Texas State suspended all Greek activities and launched its policy review after the November death of Ellis, a 20-year-old Phi Kappa Psi pledge who died of alcohol poisoning after an off-campus fraternity event. His autopsy revealed a shocking blood-alcohol level of 0.38, more than four times the 0.08 legal limit for driving.

Apart from the state laws and campus policies prohibiting underage drinking and providing alcohol to minors, Ellis’ death never should have happened: A week earlier, the fraternity’s national organization ordered its Texas State chapter to cease social activities because of an investigation into another complaint, the details of which have not been made public. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

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