Information for Parents and the Community
Fraternities and Sororities at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
Fraternities and sororities are self-governing student organizations affiliated with the university and a national or local sponsor. Most fraternities and sororities operate residential facilities, although several chapters do not maintain such facilities. The national organization, an alumni house corporation, or a local landlord owns these facilities. Fraternity and sorority chapter houses are classified as “approved student housing”. Second year students may fulfill the University residency requirement by living in an approved chapter house facility. However, the University is not responsible for the maintenance or upkeep of these properties. Maintenance of the facilities and the upkeep of the grounds are the responsibility of the local chapter and the sponsoring organization.
The Office of Fraternities and Sororities is the primary campus agency that supervises the fraternity and sorority system. The staff facilitate the interactions between the various agencies and bodies that have interests in the fraternity and sorority system. The Office of Fraternities and Sororities advises the governance structures of the system (Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, and Multicultural Greek Council) and the member chapters that comprise the system. Each chapter and each governing council selects its own officers, who represent the chapter/governing council to various constituencies.
Because the chapter houses are located off-campus, they fall under the jurisdiction of the Amherst Public Safety Office (Amherst Police). However, the Code of Student Conduct does apply to the students who reside in fraternity and sorority chapter houses. This arrangement exists as part of the requirements to receive the “approved student housing” status that allows second year students to reside in them. The Office of Fraternities and Sororities and the Dean of Students Office addresses those incidents that violate the Code of Student Conduct. Each fraternity and sorority is also subject to the codes and policies of the sponsoring organizations (inter/national body or local Alumni/ae Corporation). Town by-laws and other local regulations also govern the operations of the chapter houses. Amherst Town Inspection Services and the Amherst Fire Department periodically inspect each property to verify compliance with local and state codes. The University’s Environmental Health and Safety Office and the Office of Fraternities and Sororities both assist with this process.
Fraternities and sororities offer an array of activities for its membership, including leadership development opportunities, community service programs, academic support, and social opportunities. In regards to social events, each chapter and governing councils are mandated to abide by the regulations of the University, the Office of Fraternities and Sororities, the Town of Amherst, and the inter/national organizations. Fraternities and sororities are obligated to abide by all policies. In brief, fraternity and sorority social events:
- must be registered with the Office of Fraternities and Sororities
- are restricted to chapter membership and their invited guests
- must not provide alcohol or other illegal substances to guests or members
- must abide by the guidelines of the various agencies regulating such events
For more information about the policies regulating social events, contact the Office of Fraternities and Sororities.
If students, parents, and/or community members have concerns about the fraternity and sorority system, specifically in regards to disruptive behaviors, alcohol, or potential hazing activities, please consider one of the following options:
- contact the chapter leadership at the chapter(s) in question
- contact the UMass Police Department or Amherst Police Department
- contact the Office of Fraternities and Sororities during office hours, Monday through Friday
- contact the Dean of Students Office during office hours, Monday through Friday
For serious concerns or for an immediate response, it is best to contact the police. The both UMPD and APD have contact information for the various chapters and for the staff of the Office of Fraternities and Sororities. For ongoing concerns, contact OFS or one of the governing councils.
Office of Fraternities and Sororities 545-2711
Dean of Students Office 545-2684