New houses are built in Greek Village on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. This construction project is Phase 3 of the Greek Village Project and four new houses are planned to open in Fall 2020-2021.

On Aug. 26, University Housing announced students would have to move out of all on-campus housing by Sept. 7. However, students working as resident advisors; those approved for special circumstances, such as living on the other side of the country; and Greek Village residents, who were overwhelmed with a huge spike in COVID-19, are staying where they are. This spike came after a party was thrown at Sigma Nu fraternity house on Aug. 13, with multiple WolfAlerts pertaining to COVID-19 clusters in Greek Village being sent out.

While Greek Village is considered on-campus housing because it is on university property, each chapter house in the village is managed by it’s own house corporation, according to Shelly Brown Dobek, director for the Fraternity and Sorority Life.

“Each house corporation has the opportunity to make a decision that best serves their organization and its members,” Brown Dobek said. “Zeta Tau Alpha has decided to close for the remainder of fall semester and focus on the opening of their new facility in spring. Other groups have decided to move forward with reopening.” Alpha Gamma Rho also decided to move out for the remainder of the fall semester and return in the spring. 

One of the groups who decided to reopen after an outbreak was Sigma Phi Epsilon; the fraternity reported a cluster with at least seven positive cases Aug. 20. Sigma Phi Epsilon President Camden Carmicheal said they had plans to quarantine the house as soon as they had any cases, and they followed through with this plan. 

“We encouraged mask use among all guys in the house,” Carmicheal said. “If you were an out-of-house brother, or you had guests in the house, they had to have a mask on at all times”

The fraternity house also had has sanitizer stations set up at entrances to the house, and out-of-house members were not required to be on the chapter meal plan as they were required to be in previous years. Any out-of-house brothers who opted to remain on the meal plan are asked to eat meals outside to encourage social distancing. 

Another notable difference between university-owned housing and Greek Village housing is Greek Village residents are considered a family unit, according to Brown Dobek. Carmichael said the entire house will quarantine if any of the 45 house residents test positive for COVID-19.

“The 45 guys in the house are considered to be a family unit, which means they don’t have to wear a mask with each other,” Carmichael said. “They don’t have to socially distance if they are walking around the house.” 

Although Greek Village is choosing to keep members on campus, changes are taking place, according to Brown Dobek.

“All staff within Greek Village are completing training with Environmental Health and Safety, and students are being provided with guidelines for safe living and learning in line with the University’s community standards,” Brown Dobek said. “The University is providing testing for students living in Greek Village on a regular basis moving forward, primarily for students who either tested negative during our previous round of testing in mid-August or those who were not tested.” 

Carmichael and Brown Dobek both said cases in Greek Village were brought to the attention of the University through self-reporting, something that Brown Dobek still encourages among residents. 

Brown Dobek also said students should still follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and university COVID-19 guidelines which state:  

“Any student found in violation of the community standards will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct and could face disciplinary actions. University disciplinary actions could include probation, interim suspension or even expulsion in certain circumstances, in addition to any criminal fines or charges brought by law enforcement.”

Carmichael said he believes it is important to keep housing open and was an advocate for Greek Village residents receiving the opportunity to stay. 

“I think it’s wrong to kick anyone out that is a sophomore or higher because those are the people who have established jobs and established positions wherever they're at,” Carmichael said. 

Carmichael also said he believes sophomores, juniors and seniors who were living on campus should have also been given the option to stay. 

All students staying in Raleigh should remember to follow CDC guidelines, self-report to the University and quarantine if they have been exposed or are not feeling well. 

A full list of updated policies and procedures for Greek Village can be found here

*Editor’s Note: Jordan Prosser is a member of NC State Fraternity and Sorority Life