Policy amended at Assembly

Nearly 80-year-old ban on fraternities receives updates

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The policy that banned students from involvement in fraternities and sororities outside of Queen’s was amended last night at the

AMS assembly.

The amendment means that penalties are no longer in place for AMS members who choose to join a fraternity or sorority. Such groups are still prohibited from affiliating themselves with the University.

The amendment, which was devised by the AMS executive team, carried in its first reading at Assembly on Jan. 17. On Jan. 31 it carried in its second reading and the voting members of Assembly adopted the addition to policy.

Vice-President of University Affairs Mira Dineen said she and Vice-President of Operations Tristan Lee began looking at existing policies in October.

She said students expressed concerns that fraternities and sororities would “detract from the school environment that we have here, which is really unique to Queen’s.”

On Nov. 22, Dineen, Lee and President Doug Johnson presented a report to Assembly, which included letters from Queen’s and the AMS’ legal counsel and the results of an online feedback form, among other documents. The ban on fraternities was originally implemented in the 1930s.

“The void that we saw in the last statement was that it really didn’t list all of the reasons why fraternities and sororities were banned,” Dineen, ArtSci ’11, said. “It was really short.”

She added that the old policy didn’t outline how the AMS would enforce the ban or what kind of sanctions that they would impose on a student who was involved with one.

“[The ban] was symbolically taken into account but there was no practice of it,” Dineen said.

Although the University and the AMS believe that fraternities and sororities have no place at Queen’s or in the AMS, the constitution will no longer prohibit AMS members from being a part of clubs outside of the student government.

Dineen said it’s difficult to please everyone on this issue. They have been in contact with students, alumni, the University’s legal council and the Ontario Human Rights Office.

“The policy that we put forward I believe accomplishes the spirit of the AMS and the Ontario Human Rights Code,” she said.

Many alumni repeatedly asked the AMS to maintain the ban on membership, she said.

“Some alumni were understanding that controlling what students do off campus isn’t really keeping with our mandate,” she said.

At the Assembly last night, an amendment was added to the original amendment. It prohibits fraternities and sororities from recruiting on campus.

“It’s something we thought was implied but we want to put that in there just in case,” Dineen said.

The executive team looked to policies from other universities, but decided to start from scratch for the AMS. “Queen’s is unique and the AMS is unique and we did look at what other universities do, but we really sat down and thought what makes sense for the AMS,” she said.

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