Interfraternity Council

Students wait in line to receive their wristbands for RoundUp weekend on the East Mall on Thursday afternoon.
Photo Credit: Jack DuFon | Daily Texan Staff

Students from around the nation will flood West Campus for the 85th annual RoundUp event this weekend — and the Interfraternity Council is hoping all of them will be college students. This year, the Council tightened the event’s attendance policy to discourage high schoolers from trying to attend.

RoundUp is a weekend-long event hosted by the Greek community where fraternities traditionally host parties with big name performers, and sororities host food-based events to profit their philanthropies.

This year is no exception, and several parties will feature performers such as Riff Raff, Tyga, Travis Porter and Cherub.

“It’s all the big-name performers that you wouldn’t expect to come to a college party, but Tyga and all these other people are going to come,” advertising sophomore Celina Gimang said. “It will be cool just to get to see them for free, especially for girls since we don’t have to pay for the wrist bands.”

In previous years, high school students have flocked to RoundUp for a chance to experience college life, but the Interfraternity Council, which regulates the event, has increased restrictions to keep the events limited to college students.

General admission wristbands are available free to all UT students who show their student IDs. Some events require specific wristbands, and men usually have to pay to get into the weekend’s events.

This year, all non-UT students will be required to pay $10 for their wristbands, in addition to showing an official college ID. The IFC also changed its wristband
distribution system.

“Instead of having certain locations at certain times, we’re having all locations from certain hours, so we’re more spread out,” said Yuriy Dovzhansky, finance and Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies senior. “That kind of makes the lines shorter than they were last year. And the average wait time is about seven minutes, and, last year, it was a lot crazier.”

Dovzhansky, who helped coordinate wristband distribution, said the Council will cap non-UT students at 20 percent of RoundUp attendees.

Despite having to wait in line to get her wristband, geology sophomore Chloe Bell said she is excited for the big crowds and day-long events in West Campus.

“[Last year], I saw everyone walking around with their fanny packs and big tank tops — like, when else can you walk around wearing that kind of crap other than RoundUp — so I just thought might as well,” Bell said. “Everyone looked like they were having a good time last year, and then you see the pictures and you’re like, ‘Damn, should have gone.’”

Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

The number of mustaches on campus may increase this November.

Interfraternity Council members are using facial hair to raise awareness about men’s health, especially testicular and prostate cancer, in their fifth “Movember.” Beginning Saturday, members are asking men on campus to grow a mustache to show their support for men’s health, and, if they choose, to do so to raise money, which will be donated to the Livestrong and Movember foundations.

“The idea behind Movember is you start the month clean-shaven, and then you grow a mustache,” said Matt Lillard, economics senior and IFC vice president of philanthropy. “And when people ask you about it you say ‘Oh, I’m doing this for Movember to raise awareness for men’s health.”

To encourage participation, Lillard said IFC hired The Boondock Barbershop to park its trailer on Speedway and give out free shaves to students.

“We’re trying to get people clean shaven and signed up,” Lillard said.

Participating students receive a straight-edge shave that would otherwise cost $35, according to Edwin Qian, economics and management information systems senior and IFC president. The trailer will be on campus until Friday.

“We thought, what a better idea than for us to be a part of it,” said Ziridiana Mendez, manager of The Boondock. “Because we can bring out a little bit of our services with our awesome barbers and bring awareness to everyone else about what Movember is.”

Students who participate in Movember have the option to ask for donations while growing their facial hair. According to Qian, the IFC raised over $21,000 last year for Movember, and their goal for this year is $30,000.

“It’s been growing significantly every year,” Qian said.

IFC is the parent organization of 26 University fraternities. Qian said the fraternities are working with each other to raise money for
the cause.

“The council really wants to unite all the fraternities together to work toward a common goal,” Qian said.

The Movember Foundation is a global organization, and, according to Qian, other universities across the nation participate in the month, including Oklahoma State University, Iowa State University, Baylor University and Texas Christian University. Qian said the schools in the Big 12 are competing to raise the most money.

Isaac Reyes, mechanical engineering senior and member of Pi Kappa Phi, was waiting in line at the trailer. He said Movember was personal to him because he has known people with prostate cancer.

“I’m also a member of Texas 4000,” Reyes said. “We’re a big proponent of fighting cancer, and one of the big movements that we’re responsible for is tackling prostate cancer, which is something that several friends of my family have gone through.”

Reyes is not yet sure what type of facial hair he is going to grow.

“I was growing out a beard earlier in the semester, and I shaved it,” Reyes said. “So, I guess I’m going clean before the month starts. We’ll see. I don’t grow the best mustache, but maybe this is the time to figure out if I can.”

As University of Texas students, we have all become very well accustomed to the daily emails from the University. Recently, the University emailed out its periodic memo regarding hazing in registered student organizations on campus. Although some may delete upon receiving, others may begin to wonder why they continually receive the same email, regarding the same topic, around the same time each semester. What many don’t know is that these notices are actually required by law and codified in the Texas Education Code.

In an act to inform the population of the possible dangers and extreme legal consequences of hazing, the Texas Legislature enacted Section 51.936 into the Texas Education Code to address concerns relating to hazing in 1995. This section states that within the first three weeks of each semester, each post-secondary educational institution in Texas shall distribute a memo to all enrolled students containing a summary of the provisions of Subchapter F, Chapter 37, where the legal definition and consequences of hazing reside, along with a list of all organizations that have been disciplined for hazing during the preceding three years. The law also requires that this information be public and must published in any generally available catalogue, including The Daily Texan, a student handbook or similar publication that is distributed by the university to the student body at large.

Recruitment for fraternities at UT Austin is somewhat different than at some other Texas institutions. Each fraternity is, essentially, allowed to choose the whens and wheres regarding its recruitment process. Although there is not a formal rush week hosted by the University, the Interfraternity Council, or IFC, does oversee and facilitate certain aspects of the recruitment process by providing prospective new members with information about all IFC chapters and access to IFC recruitment registration at IFC then provides its member fraternities access to the registration information so they can connect with incoming students interested in joining.

During each summer orientation session, there are optional programs available to both students and their family members that are hosted by Sorority and Fraternity Life in the Office of the Dean of Students. These sessions include information about the various Greek organizations, recruitment processes and information about hazing as mandated by law. This allows both the students and their families insight on the issue and the University's strong stance against it.    

Hazing is a very serious act that is, unfortunately, very real. It can happen in high school groups, sports teams, bands and spirit groups, though most only consider it a sorority and fraternity issue. I believe that, more often than not, the general public view on hazing in student organizations is not overblown, but perhaps misunderstood. I agree that instances of proven hazing should be taken seriously and proper action should be taken to ensure that victims are taken care of in a safe way. I also agree that organizations should face reasonable and fitting repercussions for their actions. However, just as one bare plant does not yield an entire poor harvest, the actions of one organization should not reflect the actions of all.

In 2008 the University of Maine conducted a study on the research and prevention of hazing entitled “Hazing In View: College Students at Risk.” The study shows that hazing is not a Greek-specific issue. In a survey of 11,482 students from more than 50 universities, it was found that more than half of the students involved in clubs, sports teams and other organizations had been involved in hazing incidents. Forty-seven percent of interviewees claimed to have experienced hazing before ever setting foot on a college campus. The legal terminology of hazing is also vague at best. Across the country, cases such as People v. Anderson, 591 N.E.2d 461 (1993) have made their way up to the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional overbreadth of the legal definition of hazing.

Certainly, there have been documented cases of physical, psychological, and emotional harm (e.g. alcohol poisoning, physical injury, emotional harm and, in extreme cases, death.) It may be impossible to measure with accuracy emotional and psychological harm related to hazing; however, it would seem improbable that the number of occurrences is significant given the number of people who report having had a positive college experience. Thus, from a statistical point of view, I think that public concern may be disproportionate to the actual probability for harm. However, if even one student were to suffer serious injury or death, on balance, I both completely understand and concur with those concerns.

I am confident that the University and IFC will continue to do their part in the fight to eradicate hazing and the perceptions of it at The University of Texas. It is the goal of the Interfraternity Council to ensure the safety and protection of all members of the Greek community, providing a safe and enjoyable place where young men grow in a scholarly, philanthropic, respectful and social manner.

Young is a government junior from Sweetwater. He serves as the assistant vice president of judicial affairs for the Interfraternity Council.

In this week's podcast, Jacob Kerr, Amanda Voeller and guest Bobby Blanchard discuss the Interfraternity Council's decision not to endorse any candidates in the student election races and the results of the Senate of College Councils election. They also discuss Bobby's recent in-depth story on connections between the executive alliance campaigns and student organizations on campus.

The Interfraternity Council decided not to endorse candidates this year after receiving criticism last year for an email sent to the leaders of the council’s 24 fraternities endorsing current Student Government President Horacio Villarreal and Vice President Ugeo Williams’ executive alliance campaign.

“We got backlash from [last year’s email]. People’s biggest concerns were his use of the word ‘endorse,’” said Edwin Qian, Interfraternity Council president and management information systems and economics senior. “What [the council] meant was for it to be an informational email, not an endorsement.”

The council held a meeting Wednesday to allow all candidates running for SG positions to discuss their platforms to the leaders of the council’s fraternities. After the meeting, the council sent an email informing council fraternities about the candidates who spoke at the meeting, but did not endorse any of them, Qian said.

“While the IFC is not endorsing any candidates in this SG election, we appraise these candidates for showing strong pro-Greek interest and thank them for taking the time to speak to IFC leaders,” the email said.  

According to Qian, the council’s role in SG elections has been inconsistent in the past. Qian said he will urge candidates running for the executive alliance, Texas Student Media, University-wide representative positions and the Co-op Board of Directors to discuss their platforms with fraternity leaders.

“This year we’re still trying to promote the election because our ultimate goal is to get more students involved and informed about the election,” Qian said. “The only thing that’s really changed is that last year’s email didn’t really include any platforms, but this year we want people to know why they’re running and what their plans are.”

Villarreal, a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Williams were endorsed in last year’s email and won with more than 53 percent of the vote.

Villarreal said he did not see last year’s email as a big issue and would expect other organizations to endorse candidates who are members of their organization.

“It’s a tricky thing for someone that is involved in the community such as myself,” Villarreal said. “I didn’t see it as an incredibly big issue, especially if whoever was running was involved in another organization.”

According to Qian, if a member of the council chooses to endorse a candidate, the endorsement would be personal and not a council endorsement. He said individual fraternities are still entitled to endorse anyone they want.

The candidates for the executive alliance are not a part of a fraternity. Caroline Carter, the vice presidential candidate running with presidential candidate Kenton Wilson, is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, a sorority in the University Panhellenic Council.

Wilson said he thought it was great the council would not be sending out an email endorsing a particular candidate.

“It will keep us on our game to make sure we reach out to all students instead of just relying on some electronic form of communication,” Wilson said. “We’re getting more of a chance to explain ourselves because [Greek members] know the email is not coming out, so they can’t just sit back and wait on it.”

Taylor Strickland, the vice presidential candidate running alongside presidential candidate Kornel “Kori” Rady, said the change would give students an opportunity to learn about each platform. 

“I don’t think it affects the turnout as much, as it will really urge people to go out and be informed voters, which is all we can really hope for as candidates,” Strickland said.

UT’s Interfraternity Council urged men on campus to get a clean shave to kick off Movember before they grow a mustache for the rest of the month.

For the rest of November, 12 teams from 23 fraternities will compete to raise the most money to fight prostate cancer by growing mustaches. The Movember Foundation dedicates the entire month to promoting the growth of mustaches to draw attention to and educate the general public about the dangers of cancer in men.

The Interfraternity Council started Movember by handing out information sheets and shaving packets to students on campus. Students had the option to register to grow mustaches or raise money for the rest of the month.

Interfraternity Council President Kyle Harlan said many students mistook Movember for No Shave November, a separate event that does not restrict the type of facial hair and is not associated with charity. He said the misconception actually made passersby more interested in learning about Movember and the cause it supports.

“We urged as many people as we could to grow just mustaches instead of full beards,” Harlan said. “Even for girls or for guys who can’t grow a mustache, we still want them to register just to raise awareness.”

Harlan said the kickoff was a success in terms of the number of people who stopped by to learn more about the dangers of undetected prostate cancer.
Interfraternity Council director of communications Nick Isbell said most of the students who took information sheets or talked to members of IFC at the kickoff didn’t previously think of Movember as philanthropy, but rather as a fashion statement for men. He said there seems to be a growing interest among students in the reasons prostate cancer is so dangerous.

“In a week and a half, there are going to be tons of people walking around campus with mustaches,” Isbell said. “Even if people don’t know about Movember now, they’re going to see all these crazy mustaches and ask questions.”

Isbell said the council has worked for the past three years to focus its philanthropy work on Movember and on highlighting the dangerous health risks men face.

Computer science sophomore Matt Ebeweber said his fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, is excited to compete alongside the other 22 fraternities to raise the most money this Movember.

“Even though a lot of our guys won’t be growing real mustaches, the point is to grab people’s attention, and it’s already working,” Ebeweber said. 

Printed on Friday, November 2, 2012 as: Frats fund men's health, hold mustache contest

Austin Police Department and University administrators took extra precautions to ensure student safety at Roundup, the annual Greek philanthropy and social event. Despite such efforts, the event included a violent altercation at 25th and Leon Street, Friday at midnight.

APD spokesman Anthony Hipolito said the stabbing was non-lethal and occurred outside of a fraternity house in West Campus. Although officials have not confirmed if the stabbing is connected to Roundup, fraternity houses Pi Kappa Alpha, Omicron and Sigma Alpha Mu are all in the area.

Hipolito said the victim was transferred to Brackenridge Hospital, although the suspect was not apprehended. Hipolito said police have been interviewing witnesses and are currently investigating several leads.

UT spokeswoman Marcia Gibbs said Roundup has not been an official University activity since 1990. However, she said the Interfraternity Council and the University Panhellenic Council, concerned about campus safety and crime during Roundup, instituted a wristband requirement for the students’ own benefit and to prevent high school students from attending the events. Students could get a wristband at various locations by showing their college student ID.

“Over the years, at the request of the Interfraternity Council and University Panhellenic, the University has worked and continues to work with these organizations on developing effective risk management policies and measures to ensure safety at their events,” Gibbs said.

Psychology freshman Jacky Vorlop said security guards were present at several Roundup parties, checking to make sure that attendees had the required wristbands. She said the mandatory wristbands not only kept high school students out, but many college students too, as the University ran out of wristbands at one point.

“On Saturday the police were really on-call, and if you didn’t have a wristband ... but you had a student I.D., that didn’t work,” Vorlop said.

However, Plan II freshman Parker Berg said the crowds contributed to the positive experience of Roundup.

“If there are a million people milling around on West Campus, it’s going to be fun,” Berg said.

Berg said the wristbands might have been helpful in keeping some high school students out, but he did not think it kept them all out.

“I think it all comes down to who you know, just like any other party,” Berg said.

Nate Sokolski, vice-president of Alpha Tau Omega, said he felt the wristbands was an overkill measure taken by the Interfraternity Council.

“If the IFC wants to have no involvement with a fraternity party, they shouldn’t have a wristband that says IFC on it,” Sokolski said. “It’s silly, I understand they’re doing it because it’s something I guess they should do, but I don’t see the purpose of it.”

For example, Sokolski said he did not understand why wristbands were needed for philanthropy events.

“There are a lot of hypotheticals that really make these wristbands pretty imperfect, and I don’t think it’s done a good job,” Sokolski said.

Biology Freshman Kyra Malicse tries on a fake moustache given out by the Interfraternity Council in honor of ‘Movember,’ a month-long event to raise money for prostate cancer. Movember participants are encouraged to grow moustaches throughout November and make an online profile on the IFC website to raise donations.

Photo Credit: Victoria Montalvo | Daily Texan Staff

Fake moustache kits are usually associated with use in a private eye’s disguise routine, not to raise awareness for men’s prostate cancer.

Passers-by on Speedway were treated to Interfraternity Council members wearing thick, black moustaches and handing out free fake moustache kits for the Mo[ustache]vember charity on Monday. The IFC hopes to raise $20,000 for men’s prostate cancer research — double last year’s efforts.

The kit included a can of shaving cream, a razor, some candy for Halloween and a prop moustache to be applied to the upper lip to promote sponsorship for the month-long event. Participants start the month clean-shaven and grow a moustache for all 30 days in November. Meanwhile, they can create a profile to track their progress through the Interfratenty Council website and receive donations.

President Chris Felicetta said the IFC, which represents all 23 Greek fraternities, hopes to sign up more than half of the 2,200 council members this November. Three hundred members sported moustaches to raise $10,000 for the Movember charity in 2010, the first year the month-long event was run on campus, Felicetta said.

“We’re asking our members Greek-wide to grow facial hair, make a profile on the web page and then raise money for prostate cancer,” Felicetta said. “This is our big philanthropy of the semester.”

Female students can also participate by signing up as “Mo-Sisters” to help take donations and raise awareness, Felicetta said.

Vice-president Matthew Ziemnicki said he didn’t believe young men were aware of how common and serious prostate cancer can be.

“I didn’t know much about it myself until I started this campaign,” Ziemnicki said. “It happens to one out of every six males. It is out there and it doesn’t get enough press, and we’re just doing our part.”

More than 240,000 men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer in the U.S. alone this year, according to the National Cancer Institute, about 7,500 more than the number of men and women with breast cancer, which receives much greater public awareness.

Architectural engineering freshman Jordan Figueroa said he had tried to grow a moustache over the summer without much success, but raising awareness of men’s health and prostate cancer might convince him to try again.

“I tried to go for the typical Latino moustache, but I didn’t get it,” Figueroa said. “Prostate cancer isn’t something that was really on my radar. I don’t know much about it. Awareness couldn’t hurt, I’m going to look into it.”

Printed on Tuesday, November 1, 2011, as: Fake moustaches, fundraisers stand up to prostate cancer