Kelley Hungerford – Assistant editor. The next night you enter one of Linfield’s four fraternity houses, you may notice a group of clipboard-carrying students trolling around. But these students aren’t conducting surveys or taking names. They’re part of the newly formed Greek Safety Patrol.
“We like to see it as a level between the Greeks, community safety and the police,” junior Sarah Spranger, president of the Linfield Panhellenic Council, said. “Our goal is to protect against any incidents that may cause campus security or the police to be involved.”
Spranger, senior Tal Edman and InterFraternity Council President senior Joshua Atiyeh, worked closely with Jeff Mackay, director of residence life and associate dean of students, to develop the patrol’s bylaws.
Every Friday and Saturday night, trained representatives from each Greek chapter tour the fraternity houses on the lookout for dangerous or potentially hazardous situations.
They are allowed to search public areas, such as the kitchen, hallways and dance areas, but are prohibited from entering bedrooms or chapter rooms.
Because GSP duties resemble Resident Advisor rounds, some Greek members have dubbed GSP the “Greek Gestapo.” But the nickname is inaccurate.
“We don’t want to be seen as the enemies,” Spranger said.
Unlike RAs, the patrol has no authority to write up students and has no affiliation with Residence Life. It’s an entirely Greek-run
“The purpose of our patrols is not to stop underage drinking; it’s more to notice risky and dangerous behaviors and put a stop to that,” Atiyeh said.
If GSP witnesses any belligerent or unsafe behavior,
it notifies sober executives, who are stationed in each house, of the disturbance.
The purpose of these records is to track trends. If certain students are consistently being unsafe, then the GSP will address them without publicizing names.
When dangerous situations arise that are outside of GSP control, such as alcohol
poisoning, sexual assault or fighting, patrollers contact
the McMinnville Police Department or Linfield’s Community Public Safety & Security Department.
In such a situation, every person — affiliated students, unaffiliated students and minors — in the house at the time receives medical clemency.
“We can’t force [minors] to leave,” Atiyeh said.
However, if the police or community safety become involved when patrollers are off-duty, then the individual students and
fraternities involved face the
“The purpose of GSP is not to create a safe haven,” Greek Life Advisor Carl Swanson said of the
clemency policy potentially encouraging minors to use fraternity houses as a secure place to consume alcohol.
Greek safety sends monthly reports of its activities to Mackay and President Tom Hellie, although names and chapter affiliations are excluded from the documents.
Last school year, Hellie addressed the Greek organizations. He said the high volume of weekend noise complaints from the surrounding community and the subsequent police and campus security involvement at the fraternities was a problem for Linfield.
“When [Hellie] came to meet with the Greek presidents and executive council, he didn’t come into the meeting and give directions or give orders,” Swanson said. “He expressed his concerns, and he challenged the Greek community to come up with solutions.”
The GSP was its answer.
Spranger said trial rounds were held in the spring, and Atiyeh added that they went smoothly.
“At first, there was some hostility toward us [from Greek affiliates] because people thought it was like RA rounds,” he said.
The idea was well-received, however, after explanations, discussions and feedback about the group’s purpose were shared with Greek community members.
“I think that it’s important to know that this is a big, positive step for the Greeks,” Spranger said. “I think it’s brought a lot more communication to the Greeks because the organizations are spending more time together through training and rounds.”
The two presidents emphasized that GSP exists for the benefit of non-affiliated students as well as Greeks.
“I just hope that the non-Greek student body is able to appreciate the job we’re doing along with the Greek community,” Atiyeh said.