By: Sheridan Kate Murray, Staff Writer
On April 18, 2016, Wofford College’s administration presented copies of lease agreements to the advisers of Greek organizations on campus. The lease agreement included restrictions on displaying flags and letters on Greek houses and granted the College right of entry and discretion to temporarily close houses based on any violation of the agreement.
The leases were presented to the student body less than a week before the scheduled move-in date of Monday, April 25, 2016. In order to access the houses for the weekend of April 29, all fraternity and sorority presidents had to sign the proposed version of the lease. When every president refused to sign, the college allowed organizations to sign temporary leases.
The process of determining appropriate lease agreements was further complicated by a number of petitions from students, statements made by administration like Dean Hammett and Dean Bigger and general frustration on behalf of the student body.
On May 9, 2016, President Samhat issued a statement addressing the “difficult and emotional conversation” regarding the lease, and assuring the student body that the administration is working toward “finding a swift and mutually agreeable solution.” No further official statement was made on behalf of the college or the Greek community.
Since the school year began in August of 2016, the Greek row has been fully functioning and all houses are currently in use by Greek organizations. The lack of follow-up on the lease process has caused concerned community members like Professor John Lane to raise questions on where the row stands today in regards to the agreements.
“There was no real follow-up or conclusion made in regards to letting the Wofford community know about the agreements,” he says. “The majority of the progress was made on the buildings and lease agreements over the summer, but students and faculty still wonder what happened with the agreements.”
While the lease agreements caused confusion and frustration for members of Greek life at Wofford, ultimately members in leadership positions felt as though the agreements were handled in a satisfactory manner.
When asked for her opinion on the communication between Greek presidents and the college during the negotiation process, Kass Johnson ‘17, president of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority at the time, states that she felt the communication was sufficient.
“I felt like I was involved to the level I should have been at the time of lease agreements,” she says. “We had a couple of conference calls involving all of Greek life going over what changes needed to be made for each group in order to produce a lease that could be signed by all groups after the first lease agreement had already come out.”
As to where the organizations stand now in terms of the lease agreements, Johnson states that she believes things ended “relatively well.” She says, “In terms of insurance needs, the points that groups presented were listened to and those changes were made.”