University of Michigan Considers Using 'Frat Moms' to Keep Unruly Fraternities In Line


The University of Michigan is looking to place live-in house directors in frat houses (better known as frat moms or house moms) to maintain order.

UM officials had a huge meeting last week with reps for the 30 Greek chapters on the school’s Ann Arbor campus to discuss re-implementing house directors in frats to help deal with issues of hazing, drinking and sexual misconduct.

The plans are part of an initiative to create a “comprehensive cultural change within Greek life,” according to the dean of students, Laura Blake Jones. While the university’s sororities all live with house directors, the frats have just two in total.

USA Today reports:

Administrators want to see more experienced adults involved in the day-to-day life of campus Greek organizations. The hope is that having those people around would help combat behavioral issues in Greek life, which sprang into full view this past school year when U-M frat members trashed a northern Michigan resort.

That incident led to several frat and sorority suspensions, and charges against three students.

Administrators haven’t mandated the frat mom policy yet, but it may be a requirement for incoming organizations moving forward.

Live-in advisers in fraternities peaked in the 1970s although they still exist in some spots, said Mark P. Koepsell, the executive director and chief executive of the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values. His organization hosts an annual conference for live-in housing directors.
“In sororities you’ll find they (the housing director or house mom) keeps the house going, but many also provide a mentorship role, particularly for the leadership of the house,” Koepsell said. “It’s like a hybrid role — more like a residence life adviser you’d find in a residence hall.”
The house mom disappeared from fraternities for several reasons, including money.
Frats tend to be smaller than sororities with fewer members living in the house. That means less money to pay for things like housing directors.

Blake Jones says, “There’s a focus on the social above service and philanthropy. We want to help return the focus to that.”

She adds that, “This was not just in reactions to the incidents of the last year, but the impact from those incidents on our campus was tremendous. We laid out our goals and asked for their help.”

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