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Cougs Cut Off 

WSU announces a ban on fraternity and sorority social events; plus, City Council unanimously rejects North Indian Trail rezoning

click to enlarge WSU's Greek system is suspending all parties until next semester.
  • WSU's Greek system is suspending all parties until next semester.

LAST CALL FOR ALCOHOL

It's been a bad few months for GREEK LIFE at Washington State University. Multiple students have been seriously injured after falling from balconies. A WSU fraternity was suspended after a woman reported being sexually assaulted at a party hosted by that frat. Another student was found dead inside a bedroom at a frat house.

Citing concerns about too many alcohol-related incidents at Greek parties, WSU's Greek community has taken a huge step in trying to stop them from happening. On Monday, Nov. 7, the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council — both WSU student-run councils overseeing Greek life — announced a ban on all social events hosted by fraternities or sororities on campus. The ban is on all events, no matter if alcohol is served or not, according to a press release from the councils.

"The reoccurance [sic] of these incidents have been associated with the irresponsibility of alcohol and drug consumption by persons in our chapters," the letter reads. It goes on to say that "the future of Greek Life at this institution is in jeopardy."

The moratorium will end in the 2017 spring semester. Until then, the councils say there can be no formals, football tailgates, 21 runs, date dashes or other social events. The chapters will work together to create a plan for more awareness regarding sexual assault, alcohol and/or drug abuse, falls and mental health.

While many WSU students blamed the university for the ban after hearing the announcement, President Kirk Schulz stressed that it was not the university's decision.

"This was decided by the WSU student leaders themselves — let's give them credit for taking a bold stand for student safety," he wrote on Twitter.

The councils say the moratorium is not a punishment.

"The motive of this enactment is to encourage all chapters to reconsider the true meaning of being a Greek member and to work together to have a sustainable community in which standards are held high," says the letter. (WILSON CRISCIONE)

TRAIL'S OFF

After nearly 11 months of fighting against it, the NORTH INDIAN TRAIL neighborhood finally defeated a rezone that would have paved the way for a proposed apartment complex of at least 150 units.

The vote on Monday night, after a city council meeting stretching more than four hours, was unanimous.

"It was a long meeting, but this is how it's supposed to work," says Councilwoman Karen Stratton. "Everybody did a good job of staying on track and not getting personal, and keeping it about the issues."

The city's Plan Commission had already narrowly rejected the rezone proposal, saying that it did not comply with the city's comprehensive plan or fit with the character of the neighborhood. Stratton and Councilman Mike Fagan personally visited the neighborhood to witness the development's proposed impact on traffic.

Both came away concerned about the existing traffic on Indian Trail Road. "My first meeting at Indian Trail, [a father] looked at me and said, 'We have a son that is chronically ill. I go to bed every night and worry that if something were to happen and we need to get him to a hospital, we're not going to get through,'" Stratton says.

The opposition from councilwoman and county commissioner candidate Candace Mumm, meanwhile, was driven by a desire to stick with the comprehensive plan process. She noted that the developer, Harley Douglass, had already worked with the neighborhood to make a smaller zoning change seven years ago, and felt that this massive request, involving 45 acres, should bring the neighborhood into the process as well. She was also concerned that a rezoning to favor Douglass would be unfair to other nearby property owners who already have the proper zoning for a multifamily apartment complex.

In February, a different developer abandoned his push to change zoning laws to build up to 400 duplex units in the same neighborhood.

"I'm relieved. It's over. For now anyway, I guess." says Terry Deno, chair of the North Indian Trail Neighborhood Council. "We're deliriously happy." (DANIEL WALTERS)

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