President Weiss recently sent a message (copied here) to the entire Lafayette College community discussing the Implementation and Assessment Group on Greek Life (IAGGL). The IAGGL is charged with implementing the Board approved recommendations from the Greek Life Working Group and measuring results over the next three years. DKE’s actions position us well for achieving the goals of the Board of Trustees and President Weiss.

Below are DKE Leadership’s thoughts on President Weiss’ message announcing the IAGGL, highlights of DKE’s actions, and a request for alumni to support our DKE students with specifics about What You Can Do. Please free to comment directly on this post, e-mail the post or share it via Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

DKE thoughts on the content and tone of the IAGGL announcement

Positive Indicators

Areas of Concern

Board of Trustees acknowledgment of Greek tradition and noteworthy contributions to campus life

Transparent implementation and assessment process More than 5% (53 days) of implementation period (953 days) already passed before forming  IAGGL
Speaks to successful outcomes
Call for all constituencies to work towards common goal of strengthening Lafayette through Greek Life
Representative membership on IAGGL

  • 5 of 19 members are students
  • 5 of 19 members are alumni (one administrator is also a Greek alumnus)
  • 4 of 19 members are administrators
  • 6 of 19 members are faculty members
  • 5 of 19 members are in a fraternity or sorority
    • 2 of 5 students on par with 40% student population
    • 3 of 5 alumni

Only one fraternity (Zeta Psi) is represented on the IAGGL

  • Lack of leadership by example on inclusiveness since fraternity representation to IAGGL  will be filtered through the lens of only one organization instead of including more perspectives representing  the diverse fraternities at Lafayette College
Promise to communicate openly, clearly, and frequently Lack of Alumni Interfraternity Sorority Board (AISB) communication plan to ensure Greek alumni representatives effectively represent interests of each Greek chapter. NOTE: This one is on us, not the IAGGL or President Weiss’ message
Commitment to open and transparent process
Commitment to solicit input & feedback from all stakeholders in quarterly Town Meeting webinars
President and Board commitment to successful implementation and assessment process

Website already in place outlining goals:

1.      Establish clear and measurable metrics for the four criteria outlined by the Board in their directive, including annual benchmarks leading up to the June 1, 2014, end date of the review period

2.      Develop a plan for implementing the recommendations approved by the Board of Trustees from the Working Group study that primarily reflect the four criteria outlined by the Board in their directive

3.      Oversee and monitor the progress of the Greek organizations in the established metrics

4.      Provide faculty, students, staff, and alumni with regular progress reports on their findings and also solicit input and feedback from those constituencies to aid the group in its efforts

5.      Provide the President of Lafayette College with recommendations concerning the Greek Life system at Lafayette that reflect the metrics established to measure the four criteria outlined by the Board in their directive

No explicit goal to implement the Board endorsed recommendations, only to develop a plan

No consideration of the statistical relevance of the results of the measurable criteria

 

 

DKE Actions

DKE alumni reviewed the 4 criteria written by the Faculty Academic Policy Committee, endorsed by the Administration, and approved by the Board of Trustees. Alumni conducted this review with the entire DKE chapter at the Winter DKE Leadership Conference on 12/3/11.

  • Fraternities and sororities must provide open access and engagement opportunities to all students at Lafayette (non-discriminatory in selection of members).
  • Fraternities and sororities must facilitate demonstrated learning opportunities for students and provide benefits to the College as a whole.
  • The academic performance of students affiliated with fraternities and sororities must be comparable to the student body as a whole.
  • The disciplinary profile of members of fraternities and sororities, as well as the individual organizations, must be comparable to the student body as a whole and other student organizations.

Transparent Access / Non-Discrimination of Membership

DKE identified this issue as one of primarily education/communication as to our current selection process, which is already non-discriminatory. DKE needs to find a way to uniformly communicate the following key points to the public:

  • DKE reserves the right to regulate our membership
  • Our chapter is bound by requirements of DKE International, one of which is single gender
  • DKE is a member of NIC (North American InterFraternity Conference), which Lafayette recognizes as a national body for all fraternities
  • The culture and structure of our chapter requires limited membership. We cannot accept all ~1200 male Lafayette students into our fraternity. We do not have the infrastructure or governance model to maintain membership above a certain level.
  • If there is more demand to join Greek organizations than the current number of organizations can support that indicates students need expansion of the Greek system beyond its current state. Students applying to form chapters of Omega Psi Phi and Kappa Alpha Psi at Lafayette College confirm student desire for expansion. To date, the college denied recognition to students applying as new groups including those seeking to form culturally based Greek organizations. DKE supports recognition of additional chapters.

At the Winter DKE Leadership Conference, the DKE chapter discussed how to fulfill the goal of non-discriminatory selection of membership in keeping with DKE values.

  • Our chapter follows the DKE Constitution, which states: “No Chapter shall consider the race, creed, color, or national origin of an eligible student in pledging and initiating into membership in DELTA KAPPA EPSILON.”
  • DKE again (for the fourth straight year) requested Lafayette College to survey first year students before formal recruitment sophomore year to gauge interest prior to recruitment followed by repeat survey after formal recruitment sophomore year to measure effectiveness of recruitment and inclusion. The College again did not act on this request.
  • DKE considered proposals for communicating membership standards to interested recruits.
  • DKE reviewed NIC Position Statements (found here) on Constitutional Rights of Students and Single-Gender Membership

Learning Opportunities & Benefits to the College

DKE rating of “Excellent” in 3 of last 4 years on COMPASS. Satisfactory only once in last 4 years (in 2008). COMPASS, the college’s system for evaluating and measuring value of Greek chapters at Lafayette College, is described here along with DKE scoring history.

DKE Speaker’s Bureau described here with most recent talk on 11/18/11 by John Terembula ’94 on Time Management Really is Self Management. The next scheduled session is Brother Daniel Huffenus ’86 in late February talking about Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities and Real Estate Capital Markets. Later in the Spring Brothers David Kiefer ’95 and Fletcher Thomson ’98 will be speaking about Legal Topics of Interest to the students.

DKE sent brothers to the Northeast Greek Leadership Association conference for Leadership Development the past 3 years. DKE is sending two members to FuturesQuest on  January 5-7, 2012 run by the North American Interfraternity Conference, which describes here how they develop leadership and communication skills. DKE also plans to send two more members to the central leadership development conference February 9-12, 2012 run by the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values (AFLV), which is described here.

DKE revamped student position descriptions to formalize business operations and provide outside the classroom learning experience. Job descriptions were written with specific duties, and put in practice corporate governance lessons learned in the classroom. DKE invited faculty members to speak to DKE brothers on the topic of corporate governance.

Bi-annual DKE Leadership Conferences include the case study method to prepare students for the challenging situations chapter leaders can expect to confront. Fall 2011 summary is posted here.

DKE students gain experience running a commercial kitchen; managing an employee requiring compliance with local, state, and federal tax regulations/filing requirement; negotiating contracts; and managing a budget with approximately $100K in annual revenue and weekly forecast updates due to alumni.

DKE students learn to lead a diverse group of students crossing all fields of study, athletic ability, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and creed.

DKE students have their own council to perform conflict resolution with the authority to establish consequences for behavior detrimental to the chapter.

DKE alumni serve in leadership capacities throughout the alumni association, drawing on their skills they learned in DKE as students. Chapters currently led by DKE Alumni include, San Francisco, Atlanta, New York, Central Connecticut, and Greater Boston. Dekes also serve on the West Coast Advisory Council and recently been President of the Alumni Association itself.

Comparable Academic Performance

According to the college’s data, the GPAs for fraternity & sorority members have matched or been higher than the GPAs for unaffiliated students for the past 6 semester (3 academic years).

DKE requested midterm grade progress reports from the college on DKE brothers. The college, including President Weiss, accepted this request but has yet to fulfill it.

DKE partnership with Lafayette Academic Tutoring and Training Center (ATTIC) described here.

DKE Academic Standards Scholarship described here.

As reported in the Summer 2011 Rho News, which is available online here:

  • 9 Dekes made the Dean’s List (GPA above 3.6), one of whom received a 4.0
  • 2 Marquis Scholars (Academic Scholarships) are Dekes
  • 2 Trustee Scholars (Academic Scholarships) are Dekes
  • A Deke won the Jeffrey B. Havens Memorial Award, ECE Award for non-traditional summer learning
  • 2 Dekes are members of national academic honors societies (Math & Economics)
  • 2 Dekes are tutors registered with ATTIC
  • Various Dekes also hold leadership roles at the Landis Center, LAF, Sports Business Management Club, Chorduroys, etc.

Comparable Disciplinary Performance

DKE alumni reached out to the college with ideas on how to better engage alumni in the disciplinary process, clarify individual v group responsibility, and provide training to the students and faculty involved in these committees (GLWG Recommendation 26, 27). The College rebuffed this request as a task for the professionals at the college.

DKE alumni requested clarification as to how the Board of Trustees can expect comparable performance when the administration chooses to charge fraternities & sororities for group violations that the administration declines to charge other organizations for, citing McKelvy House as an example of an organization that has never been charged as a group for violating college policy despite both Public Safety (described here) and the Easton Police breaking up underage drinking parties in McKelvy House within the last 3 years (described here), which the Dean of Students confirmed. The higher levels of the Administration disagree with DKE that this disparity results in more severe outcomes for fraternities & sororities than similar organizations on campus, and sets the Greek system up for failure to meet the Board of Trustees’ requirement of comparable disciplinary performance. That level of the Administration refuses to engage in further discussion on this topic.

In August of 2011 DKE alumni discussed with students the book Crash into Me: A Survivor’s Search for Justice by Liz Securro (described here) which details the gang rape of a woman in the 1980s and the ensuing cover-up by the University of Virginia.

Following President Weiss’ public statements about Lafayette College having a problem with sexual assault in Greek students, DKE alumni contacted the college for data on this topic. If there is a problem, DKE has an obligation to take swift action and will not be a party to a cover-up like the one in UVA or more recently at Penn State. To date, the college provided no data indicating a problem with sexual assault in DKE specifically or more generally the Greek population. The consulting firm Lafayette College hired (Rankin & Associates) produced a Campus Climate Study Final Report (described here) that does not break out sexual assault by Greek or non-Greek, but does state women are “four times as likely as men to experience sexual assault” (p. xvi) and “In terms of race, four percent of People of Color (n = 7) and two percent of White respondents (n = 21) were sexually assaulted” (p. 52). Until the college produces additional data indicating a sexual assault problem among Lafayette College students that DKE students can help solve, DKE plans to continue our current training and discussions on sexual assault. If you would like a copy of the full Campus Climate Study, please e-mail Michael De Lisi ’03 at delisim@comcast.net.

DKE identified the following programs as potential research based resources if sexual assault does become an issue:

What You Can Do

 

Speak to faculty members or administrators about the value of DKE to your professional career and personal life. This may sound simple, but it carries a lot of weight.

Visit the DKE House when you are campus and get to know our students. Offer to speak to them about a topic of your interest whether professional, social, or personal.

Donate to fund the Leadership Development conferences DKE alumni send our students to. Currently we only send 2-4 people each year. We’d love to send more students. Each can cost up to $1,000 including airfare, conference registration, and lodging.

Volunteer to get involved in the Rho House Association. We currently need volunteers to manage our marketing/communications, oversee recruitment, and maintain our governance documents in line with corporate best practices (while teaching them to students!) If none of those areas interest you, but you’d still like to get involved, just let Michael De Lisi ’03 know via e-mail at delisim@comcast.net.

If you think we’re doing something wrong, tell us! E-mail Michael De Lisi ’03 at delisim@comcast.net. Give us candid feedback – if you don’t tell us, we won’t know and we value the input and opinions of all Rho Dekes.

Most importantly, remember that we seek a positive, healthy partnership with the college. We are all involved to help our students reach their full potential and advance the Objects of Delta Kappa Epsilon.

 

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