The start of a new school year at the University of Mississippi will bring a halt to new construction projects for the Greek community.
Vice chancellor of student affairs Dr. Brandi Hephner LaBanc and assistant vice chancellor of affairs Dr. Melinda Sutton released a memo Wednesday instituting a moratorium on construction or outdoor renovation projects for fraternity and sorority houses on campus effective immediately.
Sutton said all projects that had been approved by the administration, such as the construction of two new sorority houses on Rebel Drive, will be allowed, but no new projects will be approved.
“As everyone probably knows, the core of the campus is becoming tighter and tighter, and we are trying to develop some sort of process to manage the growth and to make sure the university continues to be the beautiful place that it already is,” Sutton said. “Part of that moratorium is to manage that growth, and the other piece of it is to develop a process that’s very clear and transparent for our groups that want to request leasing land from the university or to request a construction project and make that a more streamlined process for them as well.”
Sutton said much of the discussion has revolved around the creation of a Greek village on the outskirts of campus where organizations can lease new lots from the university and build a new house. However, Sutton said that all organizations on campus would not be forced to move.
“The thought is for that those who want new construction or perhaps their current lot or structure is not meeting their needs and they don’t have the room to grow, there would be the option for them to build in this new Greek village,” Sutton said. “That is definitely still being studied to determine where would be the best place for that.”
Dirt work has begun for the new Alpha Delta Pi house on Rebel Drive, and Sutton said a lot has been designated for the Alpha Phi sorority, which will colonize in fall of 2015.
“If we add additional organizations, where will they go?” Sutton said. “The reason for the Greek village is to provide space for additional organizations that may want to build because we just have a finite amount of space within the campus core, and it’s actually a way for us to support the groups and their growth rather than squelch that growth.”
Representatives from multiple fraternities and sororities on campus declined to comment on the moratorium.
Sutton spoke with many Greek community leaders Tuesday night before releasing the memo to answer any questions or concerns. A plan for how to approach the situation should be finished by the beginning of the spring semester. Sutton, who drafted the memo, said she has received very few concerns about the moratorium but would welcome questions from the public at (662) 915-7705 or by email at email@example.com.
“I am looking forward to working with representatives of the Greek community as well as our campus colleagues to develop a process that will be fair, consistent and helpful to the growth of our fraternities and sororities,” Sutton said. “I think it’s a really positive thing for the community and gives opportunities for additional growth, and I hope that will be the way it’s viewed.”
To read a copy of the moratorium memo, click here.
Amelia Camurati is associate editor for HottyToddy.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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