This seems a little extreme, even for Amherst.

Susan Kruth of The FIRE reports.

Amherst Bans Fraternities, Sororities, and Similar Organizations On and Off Campus

Amherst College’s Board of Trustees sent out an email Tuesday announcing that it was reaffirming its 1984 ban on the college’s recognition of fraternities and sororities—and that it would be taking things a step further this summer in a move that will take a significant bite out of Amherst students’ ability to freely associate. The Trustees’ resolution reads:

Student participation in off-campus fraternities and sororities, and fraternity-like and sorority-like organizations, is prohibited. Violations will be subject to appropriate penalties, including suspension or expulsion from the College.

The Trustees’ statement on the resolution reveals that its reconsideration of its 1984 policy was motivated by Amherst’s Sexual Misconduct Oversight Committee, a group of faculty, staff, students, administrators, and trustees tasked with tracking the campus climate, as well as college resources and policies. Buzzfeed reports that some sexual assault victims’ advocates have praised the move as a belated and necessary step to address the problem of sexual assault on campus. Yet, according to Inside Higher Ed, the committee stated: “[I]t is important to note that we are not saying [fraternities] are disproportionately guilty of sexual assault; we have no evidence that this is the case.”

Some students are planning to protest the Trustees’ decision—as they should. While universities may decide not to support a Greek system, students should be extremely wary of limitations on the ways in which they can associate with their peers, even at private institutions like Amherst that are not legally bound by the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of association. This is especially true when a college enacts new provisions to be effective within months, leaving students the option of trying to quickly transfer to another university or abandoning plans they made based on the school’s previous policies for student groups.