For graduating students at WVU, summer is a time for new beginnings. For administrators, it’s a time to plan for the future. One university executive has his sights set on changing some aspects of student life next year to keep students safer.
“I believe parents across the country think about these issues when their sons and daughters go off to college. I know I have,” said Dr. William Schafer, vice president of Student Life. “This is a very real issue around the nation, and it is here, so we need to take it seriously in how we approach it.”
Schafer plans to tackle the issues of Greek Life in two ways. The first is by deferring rush week for pledges to the sixth week of the semester, rather than the third, to allow students to grow socially and academically. Research shows that new students need to take time to adjust to their surroundings before exploring Greek Life.
Schaefer also wants to implement a medical amnesty for underage students who seek help for friends who have had too much to drink.
“What often happens is a student passes out, they’re sick, and students are actually afraid to get help because they’ve been doing something illegal or against policies,” said Schafer. “Through that process, they’ll be allowed to seek the kind of help they need to for their friends and not worry about disciplinary action from the university.”
These changes come in wake of the death of 18-year-old Nolan Burch, who had a blood alcohol level of 0.493 when he was found dead in November. Schafer hopes these adjustments to Greek life will create a better environment for WVU students.
“I believe from what happened last fall – the tragedy with Nolan in November – it has really crystallized for this campus the urgency of doing some new and different things related to Greek Life,” said Schafer.
The next step in Schafer’s plan is to conduct a national search for a new director of Greek Life. He also plans to meet with each of the student leaders of all the organizations on campus.