U Michigan President Predicts Greek Life May Not Survive


University of Michigan’s president recently made a prediction concerning Greek life on campus, saying he sees a day when fraternities and sororities will not exist as a part of campus life any longer.

Mark Schlissel made the comment earlier this week at the Detroit Economic Club, arguing that if the organizations want to survive, they need to change their attitude about partying.

“It’s not my ambition to get rid of fraternities and sororities,” Schlissel told reporters after speaking to the Detroit Economic Club on Tuesday afternoon. “There’s a tremendous amount of positive they bring to our campus.”

However, Schlissel added that those students need to “moderate some of the risky behavior” in order to survive, arguing that if they do not do so, people may choose to stop seeking them out to join.

“There is a culture problem not only among students of Greek life but significantly inside of Greek life having to do with the overuse of alcohol, which really does need to be moderated.”

Greek life at the school has made its way into the news recently, starting with the trashing of a northern Michigan resort by a UM fraternity in January.  As a result, UM officials met with representatives from several of the local chapters in an effort to decide how best to handle the situation.  Ultimately, it was decided to reintroduce “Greek moms” to frat houses in order to have more experienced adults involved that will act as advisers to help reduce behavioral issues, writes David Jesse for The Detroit Free Press.

“Parties at frats and sororities send the wrong message that the University of Michigan is a party school and not a serious research university,” said Schlissel.

The school made it onto Playboy magazine’s 2015 Top Party Schools List released in September.

He added that he is most concerned about excessive drinking, as liquor law arrests at the school have increased from 203 in 2013 to 254 in 2014.  At the same time, liquor law violations that resulted in disciplinary action rose from 1,234 in 2013 to 1,429 in 2014.

In order to combat the drinking problem on campus, the university announced this year that it will notify parents if first-year students have more than one drinking-related incident.

Schlissel did go on to discuss all the good that fraternities and sororities bring to campus life, including charity fundraising and helping students connect.

It is estimated that 25% of the student population at the University of Michigan is involved in Greek life.