All IFC chapters to have live-in house directors upon lease renewal


Daniel Tian/The Daily Northwestern

The fraternity quads house most Interfraternity Council chapters’ houses. A new University policy will require IFC chapters to have a non-undergraduate house director who lives in the building when a chapter renews its on-campus house lease.

Fathma Rahman, Assistant Campus Editor

When Interfraternity Council chapters renew their on-campus house leases with Northwestern, the University will require them to have a non-undergraduate house director who lives in the building, a University official confirmed.

The previous rules, created in the mid-2000s, required chapters to have either a director or house manager, who could be an undergraduate student. But going forward, chapters must have a live-in house director who is not an undergraduate.

Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, associate vice president for student affairs, said a director is tasked with overseeing crisis management and response, facility maintenance and assistance to students who may be in need. Having a non-undergraduate in this role will allow members to focus on academics and their involvement in the chapter, she said.

“Northwestern, along with other universities across the country, have found that non-undergraduate house directors have been more successful than undergraduate students in helping to provide this type of support,” Payne-Kirchmeier said in an email.

Payne-Kirchmeier also noted that Panhellenic Association chapters have had house directors — also known as “house moms” — for years, and the position is not a new invention.

IFC president Will Altabef said a house director can act as a “liaison” between a chapter and the University.

“A lot of it is serving an adviser in a lot of capacities — not necessarily in a formal capacity, but more of an informal one,” Altabef said. “They provide someone who is older and knows all the resources on campus for any sort of need.”

Phi Delta Theta — which Altabef was president of last year — is one of the few IFC chapters with a live-in house director. Phi Mu Alpha also has a live-in director, and the recently relaunched Delta Upsilon will add one next year due to the new added requirement on its lease.

Altabef said when Phi Delt first got assigned its live-in house director three years ago, no one was sure how she would function in the chapter. However, the Communication junior said she has become part of the brothers’ everyday lives, and the chapter doesn’t feel that it has been altered negatively because of it.

Weinberg sophomore Ryan Evenson, DU’s president, said he’s not sure what role a director will play in the new chapter, but he’s optimistic that they will collaborate well with the leadership.

“I have mixed expectations for how having a house director will play out,” Evenson said. “I don’t quite know the degree to which our incoming director will be involved with our chapter, or the extent to which he will alter the group dynamic, but it’s my hope that our interactions will be positive and mutually beneficial.”

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life could not be reached for comment.

A previous version of this story misstated the fraternities that currently have a live-in house director. Phi Delta Theta and Phi Mu Alpha have live-in directors. The Daily regrets the error.

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