Jon Allen, Director of Student Activities and Greek Life, informs residential fraternity members of the decision to keep fraternity houses closed during the spring semester to prioritize student and community safety amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dear Residential Fraternity Members,
I’m writing today to share an update about fraternity housing for the Spring 2021 semester. I know many of you have been waiting on this decision. I appreciate your patience as we worked through our careful deliberations.
Over the past several weeks, the College has been considering many factors regarding the use of fraternity houses, including how many rooms are needed in order to provide a single for every returning student, the conduct of several residential organizations in the fall semester, and feedback from students, alumni, and faculty during the fall semester. In these discussions, it was determined that while the College wants to support a residential fraternity experience, the risks associated with permitting the use of unsupervised living and gathering space as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country are too great. It is also important to note that the College has sufficient residential space for the students who are planning to return to campus without using the bedrooms in the fraternity houses. We, therefore, have made the decision to keep fraternity houses closed through the end of the Spring 2021 semester.
We know this decision is disappointing, especially for seniors who had hoped to spend their last semester on campus living in their chapter house. Having looked at every other possibility, we have concluded, unfortunately, that this is the most practical option as the College works to meet the imperative of prioritizing the safety of our campus and local community this spring.
Many of you will likely have questions about housing for the spring semester. Early in January, all students who have indicated that they would like to live on campus this spring will receive an email from Residence Life with information about how to select housing and your assigned housing lottery numbers. As previously communicated, and as summarized on our COVID-19 website, seniors will be given priority in the housing lottery. If you have additional questions, please contact COVIDupdates@gettysburg.edu.
We recognize this decision has implications for your organizations beyond housing and we are committed to working with you to address these implications where we can. We have already begun to talk with chapter and alumni leaders to identify ways to support chapter recruitment efforts this spring and to mitigate some financial issues caused by this change.
I want to emphasize that this is a temporary action being taken for the spring semester during extraordinary times. We will resume a robust residential fraternity experience on campus as soon as the conditions of the pandemic permit us to do so. This academic year has been distressing in so many ways, and we are sorry to have to make this decision. We have asked so much of you, and we are grateful for all you have done for one another and your fellow students across this incredibly challenging time.
Director of Student Activities & Greek Life