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Question of the Week: Should ETSU move all fraternities to campus?

Johnson City Press • Feb 12, 2018 at 8:15 AM

Is it time for all East Tennessee State University fraternities to be housed on campus?

University officials have discussed developing a campus Greek village for decades, but some chapters have owned their off-campus properties, making relocation difficult. Their neighbors in the Tree Streets area adjacent to campus have long cried out for resolution, as complaints of noise, safety issues and other disruptions have been frequent. The Southside Neighborhood Association even has threatened litigation.

In recent years, some fraternities have been suspended from ETSU for various violations of university policy, including hazing, a shooting, alcohol use and unauthorized parties.

As Press Staff Writer Zach Vance reported last week, the city of Johnson City’s code enforcement division has initiated an investigation into whether four properties — current and former fraternity locations — remain in compliance with “grandfathered” zoning allowances. A letter from Tree Streets resident and attorney Amber Lee promoted the city’s probe as she described several reasons she believes the properties do not merit exceptions to the neighborhood’s R-2 zoning.

Meanwhile, Vice President for Student Affairs Joe Sherlin told Vance the university was continuing to explore options to bring all fraternities onto the campus, but no formal decisions had been made.

We’d like to hear from you. Should the university finally act? Do you think ETSU’s fraternities should be forced to move to university property in short order?

Send your comments (up to 300 words) to mailbag@johnsoncitypress.com. Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification.

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