Thousands of Furman University students sign petition against fraternity housing ban

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Many students on Furman University’s campus are voicing concerns about fraternity housing.

Since 2001, Furman University has enforced a rule that all students must live on campus for all four years of attendance. The one exception to that rule has been senior fraternity members who have been approved to live off-campus in fraternity houses.

Earlier this week, officials emailed students saying that starting Fall of 2020, all students must live on campus.

In response, the Interfraternity Council at Furman University started an online petition addressed to the school’s board of trustees. 

The petition claims that the school has “decided, without any input from Greek Life students or any students on campus, to force fraternities to get rid of their fraternity houses by the Fall of 2020.”

The petition received more than 7,000 signatures in a day.

University officials said they have been considering this change for a year and has met with fraternity leaders in three meetings since Fall of 2018.

Connie Carson, Vice President for Student Life, said the decision was based on research conducted by a consultant, who met with several students on campus. That consultant found that more violations occur at fraternity houses than at third party venues or on campus spaces, she said. 

Carson also said that currently, out of a body of 2,600 students, only eight students are living in four fraternity houses and all are graduating in May.

Jackson Robinson, President of the school’s Interfraternity Council, said he was blindsided by the decision. 

“No one saw it coming,” he said. “Everyone was very confused and shocked that was the decision that was made. They were like ‘This is insane; we are not going to let you make decisions about our lives without hearing our voices at all.”

During a Greek Life Town Hall meeting Friday morning, faculty and staff met with students in an attempt to create transparency. 

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