By Lily Abromeit and Grace Pateras
In light of a student death this weekend during a fraternity formal event in Lake of the Ozarks, University of Iowa greek leaders issued a statement banning all Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council events with alcohol.
Kamil Jackowski, a UI freshman, was found Sunday morning at Sigma Chi’s formal at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. In April 2016, another fraternity-related incident involving two UI students falling from a balcony while at a formal in Lake of the Ozarks, also caused concern on campus.
The statement is addressed to the UI and Interfraternal community and is signed by the Panhellenic Council President Anna Long and Interfraternity Council President Zach Rubenbauer. The statement says the ban is in effect as of today and “will continue until further notice.”
The statement also announces an immediate and permanent ban on all out-of-state formals. The details are not included in the statement as specifics will be discussed with UI administration and chapter leaders.
The statement acknowledges there is a “pervasive and dangerous alcohol culture that exists within” the greek community.
In addition, a task force will be convened this fall to address alcohol culture in the fraternity and sorority life community.
“It is evident we must band together as a community in this moment and demand improvement for the safety and wellbeing of our members,” the statement reads.
The Daily Iowan spoke to a member of the greek life community who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity.
Speaking after the tragedy this weekend, he said something needs to change.
“I think that first off, I think members of the greek community need to be willing to talk about the faults and flaws that have been going on, especially what’s been happening in the last year,” he said.
He said he had been told about chapters causing “thousands of dollars of damage during a formal a few weeks ago.”
This type of acknowledgment from leaders in the greek community is exactly what he was looking for.
“I honestly think the Interfraternity Council and FSL need to take a stand,” he said. “To show chapters that things don’t get taken lightly, especially like this.”
One of the obstacles, he added multiple times, is that people in fraternities and sororities often don’t want to talk about these and other problems because of fear of backlash.
“Members of the greek community get mad that we’re not seen in a good light but it’s stuff like this, which is really unfortunate, that makes us look even worse because we don’t want to talk about it,” he said. “I just think mainly members of the greek community don’t want to talk about anything negative because I think the perception of greek life is already really negative. I think they want to protect their chapter.
“By starting to talk about these types of situations it can maybe change as a community.”
The statement, released Monday, ends by addressing the need to move beyond just a conversation about the dangers of out-of-town formals and other issues, and instead take action.
“It is more evident now than ever that we must move beyond discussion and into action — the future of our community depends on it,” the statement reads.