alters course in dealings with Greek system
University's relationship with fraternities, long built on an
arm's-length strategy of limited liability, appears to be undergoing
Board of Visitors on
Jan. 19 embraced a report that calls for increased cooperation
between fraternities, alumni and the University, including new
investments in fraternity house renovations, the hiring of additional
staff in the Dean of Students' office to work with Greek organizations,
and the provision of leadership training for fraternity members.
exchange, the Inter-Fraternity Council has vowed to improve self-governance
structures and increase accountability, while requiring chapters
to name the University as being co-insured on its liability insurance
policies. The report also recommends chapters collect damage deposits
from their members in an effort to better maintain chapter houses.
think I would describe the change in philosophy as a needed partnership,"
said Dean of
Students Penny Rue.
report was prepared by the Fraternity Working Group, formed last
spring after the board directed University officials to work closely
with the fraternities to address the health of the system.
two decades ago, the University distanced itself from the fraternity
system in an effort to limit its liability, Rue said. That move
was welcomed by the Greek system, which sought greater independence.
However, the University also lost much of its positive influence
over the houses as well, she noted.
we want the fraternities to better reflect the University's core
mission and purposes, the University has to take more responsibility,"
self-governance is at the core of the University's mission and
purpose," the report states. "The charge of the Board of Visitors,
to strengthen the fraternity and sorority system, can best be
achieved by strengthening student self-governance in the Greek
The report, which calls fraternities "a powerful component of
the student experience," stresses the need for individual members
and chapters to take increased responsibility for their own behavior.
At the core of this philosophy is a recommendation that individual
chapters set up "standards boards," charged with keeping their
own members in line. It also recommends that the Historic Renovation
Corporation, which handles maintenance at many fraternities, hire
chapter members to make small repairs and perform routine maintenance,
thus giving them "sweat equity" in their houses and increasing
accountability between peers.
report also calls for the chapters and University to work together
to increase faculty and alumni involvement in the fraternity system.
Members of the working group were unable to come to an agreement
on an alcohol use policy, although the report declares "it is
also evident that alcohol is at the root of many of the ongoing
challenges the system faces."
including the student members of this working group, resist University
regulation of alcohol, and the administration is not eager for
a divisive battle with students on this issue," the report states.
In place of an agreement, the report adds, "simply monitoring
groups' compliance with national risk management policies would
represent a significant improvement."