The institution of house directors on Fraternity Park Drive began this year in the houses of Beta Upsilon Chi and Phi Sigma Kappa.Zach Ivey, one such house director, supervises the BYX fraternity that lives in the old Pi Kappa Alpha house.
"I'm very excited to be in the house," Ivey said. "This is a huge opportunity that God has given us. It is an opportunity for us to get to know the other fraternities better as well." Down the street at the Phi Sig house, chapter president Ryan Vernich said the first week with a live-in house director has gone well.
"You can already tell in the first couple of weeks there's been improvement," Vernich, a senior in biosystems engineering, said. "The house director is a very personable guy."The house director himself, Kevin Burdorf, said the transition into Phi Sig was the result of some internet sleuthing. He was looking for a cheap place to live in Knoxville so he could be closer to his fiance.
"I found it on Craig's List," Burdorf said, "and I ended up getting a hold of the chapter's [housing corporation] president, Dale Akins. One thing led to the next, and I was handed the job." Living with the fraternity, for Burdorf, has been a positive experience.
"I love it," he said. "The guys are great."
The Greek Task Force recommended the expanded supervision on Frat Row last spring. In its executive report, the task force states that they studied the fads, history of substance-related infractions and the university judicial processes to fully understand the problem and improve the situation. After several discussions, a majority of the task force felt that adult supervision on Frat Row would help stop negative behavior such as hazing and alcohol abuse.
The goal of the suggested regulations is to provide a safer environment for UT students and to enforce a code of conduct among members of UT fraternities. The plan was set in motion as school started this semester. However, the Task Force recommendations were not followed precisely due to physical limitations in some of the houses.
As a result, only two fraternity houses and one sorority house have adopted the mandate.
Since not all fraternity houses are home to full-time house directors, the other houses have entered into an agreement to pay off-duty police officers to supervise the row. Patrols occur every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
"The cop walks through the main areas, but never the halls without probable cause," said Davis Leach, a sophomore with a history interest and a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. "They never walk through our rooms.The new regulations have not affected us much, but they have affected us in a good way."