Proposed Cal Poly rules for Greek system good for a laugh

I’m all for smacking down the college Greek system.

I’ve never been a fan of a culture that requires members to pay money to develop friendships, has historically hazed — sometimes to extremes — the newest of those supposed friends, and seems to be most adept at devising new and inventive ways of getting wasted.

OK, I’m painting a bit of broad stroke there.

Your frat may also give you the contacts you need to land that plum job at Goldman Sachs, as if that’s still anything to brag about. And you get an instant bridal party courtesy of your sorority. Yippee.

Beyond that, I’d be perfectly happy to see the system abolished, starting with the one at Cal Poly.

So it was with no end of amusement, then, that I perused the proposed rules filling the four-page draft party registration policy that was leaked to Mustang News this past week.

It is this document that has resulted in all local fraternities and sororities landing on social probation for the near future because of a lack of agreement between the administration and Greek leaders.

In the time they’re not holding smokers and planning mixers, presumably the Greeks have been trying to figure out just how to strike as many of these onerous requirements as possible, lest they cast a permanent pall on the future of the college party scene.

They’ve also been consulting with their national organizations, which are tasked with the weighty challenge of simultaneously protecting their own existence in perpetuity while having one heck of a good time and ensuring their members don’t die. 

I’m sure none of them want to see a repeat of what happened to Carson Starkey, the Cal Poly freshman who died of alcohol poisoning in 2008, but I’m equally positive they don’t want to have their social lives micromanaged to obliteration.

These competing priorities don’t always go hand in hand.

In their public interactions, the Greeks are trying to put on a responsible front, but I’d be flabbergasted if there isn’t a lot of cursing going on behind the scenes.

No beer pong? No kegs? Parties that end at midnight with no new brewskis shotgunnable after 11?

Who gets the delightful job of checking IDs at the door, handing out wristbands and ensuring that no one visibly under the influence of alcohol enters the event?

It would be the same fellow who also gets to tally a BYOB of no more than six beers or a bottle of wine per person.

Obviously, hard-core partiers are going to find ways around these regulations.

Getting a head start by drinking at home is one method, although then you’d have to really practice acting sober when the door monitor asks you to walk the line and recite the alphabet backwards.

My favorite line in the draft policy is the one that goes beyond “no shots and drinking games” to include any “other activities that encourage inappropriate drinking behaviors.”


Did you ever go to a college party whose forms of entertainment encouraged “appropriate” drinking behaviors?

I remember swigs of Southern Comfort, upside-down margaritas and beer bongs. I don’t remember sips of pinot noir paired with an artisan cheese plate.

Another great line is this one: “The amount of alcohol available must not exceed the number of attendees over the legal drinking age at the event.”


If you’ve seen a more vague rule with room for shenanigans, I would love to see it.

Who determines this? Seems to me it would include such a number of variables (alcohol tolerance of partygoers, body size, amount of predrinking, etc.) as to require Google-level algorithms to even come close to a fair estimate.

Then there’s this admonition at the bottom of the sample IFC Party Registration Form, which accompanied the policy: “The host chapter(s) are responsible for the general welfare of their guests, and if anyone is displaying behaviors associated with intoxication, the chapter must report such behaviors to on-site security or local law enforcement.”


Now at this party with the closed guest list and the missing Jim Beam and the midnight curfew and the carding at the door and the wristbands and the “sober monitors,” someone is going to rat out their beloved frat brother to the 5-0?

The chance of that happening is about as high as this policy getting approved in its current form or ever being implemented to the letter of its overly ambitious law.