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USC issues new guidelines for Greek life, including placing security near bedrooms to prevent sexual assaults

The new guidelines were unveiled Tuesday after Greek life activity was suspended in the fall following allegations of sexual assault and drugging.
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The University of Southern California has unveiled new strict guidelines for Greek life on campus, including having security guards in hallways leading to bedrooms at parties, months after the campus was rocked by protests over allegations of sexual assault and drugging at fraternities.

The university suspended Interfraternity Council (IFC) activities in the fall due to the allegations, and several fraternities were placed on interim suspension, school officials said.

The school created the Working Group on Interfraternity Council Culture, Prevention, and Accountability in November, which put forth new guidelines outlining how IFC activities can reconvene this semester.

Under the new guidelines shared Tuesday, in order for IFC chapters to resume social activities, each chapter must have 100 percent completion of required prevention education workshops.

Security will also be increased under the new guidelines. The working group said that the previous practice of IFC was that each chapter hired private security to manage entrances and wrist band distribution.

But now, each chapter will require security to be posted at the entry points and gathering areas of IFC chapter events, as well as at the stairs or hallways leading to bedrooms. 

Further, chapters must have pre-event planning to assure risk prevention and post-event reviews to review effectiveness of risk management plans and security implementation, a process that will be overseen by the school.

Provost Charles F. Zukoski, said in a release Tuesday that about 4,000 students participate in fraternity and sorority life at USC, and “many say that this is a central part of their USC experience.”

He said eligible IFC chapters will be allowed to begin alcohol-free recruitment activities as of Friday. 

Once chapters meet all conditions set by the working group, they will be permitted to have social gatherings starting Feb. 3. 

At the moment, the Chi Phi, Delta Tau Delta, Phi Kappa Tau and Sigma Nu fraternities are all on interim suspension, and the Kappa Sigma fraternity is on a modified suspension, according to the USC Student Affairs website. The reasons for each suspension are unclear. Monique Allard, interim vice president for student affairs and co-chair of the working group on IFC Culture, Prevention, and Accountability, told USC Annenberg Media that the university wouldn’t disclose the reasons for the suspensions.

Groups on interim suspension will not be eligible to resume activities, pending the outcome of the  USC’s Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity (EEO) and Title IX investigations. The chapter on a modified suspension can host recruitment activities, but not social gatherings, pending the results of investigations by EEO and Title IX.

The reports of possible drugging and sexual assault at fraternities cropped up in the fall. In a news release on Oct. 29, USC said the campus’s Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Services received between five to seven confidential disclosures of possible drugging and possible sexual assault at an unnamed fraternity in late September.

A University Safety Notification on Oct. 23 said the university received multiple reports of sexual assault and reports of drugging or “drugs being placed into drinks without consent” during the fall semester at various fraternity houses. 

It followed a report on Oct. 20 of a sexual assault at the Sigma Nu fraternity house. That initial report stated the university received “reports of drugs being placed into drinks during a party at the same fraternity house, leading to possible drug-facilitated sexual assaults.” As a result, that fraternity was placed on interim suspension.  

School newspaper The Daily Trojan reported that mass protests took place in wake of the sexual assault accusations.

Zukoski said he believes the implementation of the new guidelines “will enhance safety and effect positive change for USC’s IFC chapters.” 

“Our community must work together to end sexual assault on our campuses,” Zukoski said. “We appreciate everyone who brings forward concerns and reports sexual assault and other issues impacting safety and well-being, and we understand how difficult this can be.”

NBC News has reached out to IFC at USC for comment on the new guidelines.