Fraternities and sororities experience new kind of blackout

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    There are some significant changes to bus loading at fraternity and sorority social events this semester.

    Of the 18 nights set aside for social events, 12 nights are blacked out. Of those blackout dates, seven are on Friday nights and four are on Saturday nights.

    These blackout dates leave fraternities and sororities digging between the couch cushions for availability.

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    Melissa Smithey, Fraternity and Sorority Life graduate assistant/hall director, said the blackout dates were put in place because of the lot being used for baseball games, but ultimately, the decision wasn’t made by FSL.

    “The final decisions on blackout dates were made through discussion with TCU PD,” Smithey said.

    TCU Police Department Chief Steven McGee said the lots are reserved for baseball games and athletic events.

    “Athletics uses a lot of the lots we use for bus loadings,” McGee said. “We have baseball coming up, we have track — they have many events that they use those lots for. It’s kind of like for football. During the home games all the lots have to be vacated.”

    Lot 2 and Lot 13 are currently set to be closed for the home games and special events.

    The blackout dates have accumulated a cloud of confusion.

    Because every Friday night and most Saturdays are blacked out, the 23 different Panhellenic and IFC organizations have to fight for a spot Thursday nights.

    Morgan Spencer, a sophomore member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, said Thursday nights aren’t easy for students.

    “Theta has a lot of nursing majors,” Spencer said. “Thursday nights are difficult when you have to be awake at 6:30 a.m. on Friday mornings.”

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    Thursday night events also make it tough for students with class at 8 a.m., as well as guests from out of town.

    To make it more difficult, organizations are required to put down a deposit before their event, but even then, a spot isn’t guaranteed.

    “By putting down a deposit before your event is approved by the FSL calendar, you are at risk of losing your deposit,” Smithey wrote in an email sent to Panhellenic and IFC presidents. “FSL does not make exceptions solely on the basis of an organization putting money on a date before approval.”

    The possibility of losing money and playing musical chairs with social dates has increased frustration in the Greek community.

    Spencer said she’s frustrated because it’s hard to get a compromise with FSL.

    “Greeks make up 50 percent of the school population and we are the majority of the TCU sports fan base,” Spencer said. “We are also paying money every month to work with this organization that isn’t helping us find a solution. FSL’s job is to not be cutting this down — they should be enhancing us.”

    However, FSL is working with the TCU police department and TCU Athletics to make space for the Greeks.

    In fact, a solution is already on the horizon.

    The 12 blackout dates are dwindling down to two, McGee said.

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    “I’ve talked to athletics and we decided that we’d be able to use Lot 2, except for a few dates. So that will allow us to open up several of the dates that were originally blacked out,” McGee said. “[We] think it’s only going to be two dates: one in April and one in March on a weekend.”

    Constant construction has made it difficult to utilize other lots around campus for bus loading. They’ve tried loading in Worth Hills before, but it just didn’t work, McGee said.

    “There’s only so many places on campus that can be utilized for that,” McGee said. “Without Lot 2 we were limited. There wasn’t really a safe location to have these large groups and crowds unload and load buses.”

    Now that Lot 2 is back on the table, things are looking up for the Greeks.

    “I don’t think it will be the big problem that it looked like it was going to be,” McGee said. “We’ve pretty much, I think, fixed it.”