Emails between the Morgantown fire chief and police chief show an interest by city officials to take more control over fraternity events.
In an August email exchange obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request, Fire Chief Mark Caravasos said to Police Chief Ed Preston that he took issue with WVU authorizing parties in places it doesn’t own.
“Since we just updated the assembly permit regulations, we could address this issue and tie it into the ability to revoke the assembly permit if things happen to get out of hand,” he wrote.
In response to Caravasos, Preston wrote, “In [sic] with you.”
Morgantown Public Information Officer Andrew Stacy said Preston and Caravasos could not comment.
“The Police and Fire Chiefs do not comment on personal views or internal discussions about city policy,” he wrote
It is not clear how the city could put the additional requirements on Greek life mentioned in Caravasos’ email, since current city code does not require a permit unless a party exceeds a certain sound level.
WVU Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Matthew Richardson said if the city wanted to begin requiring permits for other kinds of house parties, he would have no problem partnering with the city to enforce that.
“I would, though, advocate for consistency across the board,” he said. “What about those students who just live in a house together? How would [Morgantown] go about ensuring that they go through the city permitting process? I think it would raise other issues that we would have to deal with.”
The email exchange between Preston and Caravasos began when WVU sent the lineup of University-approved social events for Alpha Sigma Phi: an event on Friday, Aug. 17 from 9 p.m to midnight and an event on Saturday, Aug. 18 from 9 p.m. to midnight.
University spokesperson April Kaull said these were considered “By Invite Only” events. These events, which fraternities are only able to have three times a year, limit the amount of people each active member can invite to two.
The Greek life Manual of Operations currently does not say fraternities hosting “By Invite Only” events have to go through the city permitting process to do so.