In 2014 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day last year, Arizona State University fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon was kicked off campus because of a party that was deemed racist after the theme went viral via Instagram posts and hashtags.
Fraternity and Sorority Life at University of Oregon uses these situations to evaluate social media for members. There is potential for an individual’s actions to reflect poorly on the whole community due to what they are posting, Director of FSL Justin Shukas said.
“A lot of times, situations like that will go viral, and then the university will step in because there is some type of policy violation that is discovered that way,” Shukas said.
FSL does not have a set social media policy, but some chapters have specific policies to follow, according to Assistant Director of FSL Mallory Wehage.
“I hope that in having a social media policy it makes students think twice not only about making the post, but about the action as well. I think our chapters are trying to instill better decision making by having those policies,” Wehage said.
However, if the situation became harmful, FSL would step in.
“If there would be any sort of evidence of hazing or excessive alcohol consumption through social media and it was linked back to a chapter, so it looks like a chapter was participating in something like that the university has the ability to follow up,” Wehage said. “Or if they’re co-sponsoring an event that isn’t an approved event, then they’re violating the FSL social policy. Then an individual and a chapter can be held responsible for whatever they post on social media.”
With such a large community, social media is hard to monitor because it has so many outlets, so it’s up to individual members to realize the repercussions their actions can have, and how fast that news can spread.
One founding father of Theta Chi, Mario Saldana, realizes the importance of monitoring members on social media.
“Greek life needs social media guidelines because as a Greek life member you are representing a nationwide organization,” Saldana said. “Social media news gets around very quick and the last thing you want for your chapter is a misrepresentation of it.”
Follow Lauren Garetto on Twitter @laurengaretto