From the monthly archives: February 2013

Lafayette College’s VP of Campus Life Annette Diorio posted a recent update from IAGGL, which includes a description of the docket from the January meeting of the Trustee Committee on Student Life. Of note are the following items:

  • Updating COMPASS to be an annual Excellence Review and Recognition Program
  • Updated data from the Office of Institutional Research that reflects:
    • Comparable academic performance between Greek & non-Greek (read the post for detailed information)
    • Comparable conduct violations for Greeks in line with expectations based on the percentage of the population they represent
  • IAGGL focus on implementation and tracking thereof.
  • Other positive items including:
    • Leadership development
    • Alcohol free programming and events
    • Increased staff to support Greek Life
    • Realignment to enhance College learning rather than compete with campus wide programming

This update goes a long way towards addressing concerns DKE’s leadership reported last August. To reflect this, we are working on an update to our tracking of progress in implementing the Board’s direction. Aside from the above progress addressing individual points set forth in the Board’s direction to the administration and faculty to implement 23 of 31 recommendations, the entire Lafayette community has coalesced behind implementation to strengthen the community. This is a most welcome realignment from our August report.

Our opinion is this January report to the Board reflects the Greek community’s significant progress towards achieving the Board’s objectives. Another positive change is the timely communication of this information to the entire Lafayette community, so that students and alumni understand the current state of the process as well as the information about them presented to the Board of Trustees.

 

I gave a short primer on Lafayette 360 a few weeks ago but now that we actually held our Kick-Off event, President Weiss included a summary during his Board update, The Lafayette has some information, and we briefed Alumni Council on February 2nd, its time to help alumni dig a little deeper in to this initiative, which aims to foster:

Tighter integration among all phases of the undergraduate experience, from academics and residence life to co-curricular initiatives and community service.  Laf360 will cover the full four-year arc of each student’s enrollment, with steadily rising expectations for the level of independence and responsibility he or she demonstrates from matriculation through graduation.

For starters, read the full description of the kick-off event, which was an example of the wide net the College is casting to pull many different stakeholder groups together. The core of the morning’s session introduced Lafayette 360 to all participants followed by a values exercise that broke the ~75 participants into small groups that proceeded to have a vigorous debate between increasingly larger groups (e.g., pairs, to tables, to the entire room) about the values of Lafayette College. All participants then took an online survey via smartphones, tablets & laptops that captured our thoughts on the values surfaced by the room.

A quick review appeared to reveal a gap between the participants’ perception of Lafayette’s current and aspirational values. Plans are in the works to share the exercise with the entire Lafayette community.

One of the most appealing aspects of Lafayette 360 is the strides the Executive Committee is taking to create a fully inclusive process. Already they’ve presented the same material they presented to the Board of Trustees to many different stakeholder groups around campus. In addition to the briefing to Alumni Council on Feb 2nd, the College is planning on taking the presentation on the road to several different alumni chapters.

We’re also considering options for giving information to all alumni nationwide for those unable to attend a road show presentation. If you have thoughts on how you’d like to receive information, please contact me at president@rhodke.org.

You can review the makeup of each committee and our respective charges at the Lafayette 360 website. As I mentioned in my previous post, part of the Steering Committee’s charge is to communicate to relevant constituents and stakeholders. As the Alumni Association representative on the Steering Committee, I’m viewing this as central to my role on the Steering Committee so please do contact me with any thoughts, comments, or questions – as many of you have in the past. And hold me accountable!

Below the fold is President Weiss’ recent update following the Board of Trustees’ winter meeting, which includes an announcement of Lafayette 360.

Continue reading »

 

This week’s edition of The Lafayette continues a thread we discussed from last week’s edition in the article Prohibited: Trustees ban unrecognized Greek groups on campus by Julie Depenbrock ’13:

“No student may rush, pledge, join, recruit for, participate in, perpetuate, contribute funds to, or otherwise engage in activities as an actual or prospective member of an unrecognized Greek organization while on any property owned or under the control of the college.”

In addition to coverage in the school newspaper, VP of Campus Life Annette Diorio sent the study body an e-mail on Wed Feb 6th explaining the policy including the following highlight:

We are fully supportive of the Greek community and acknowledge that they have worked hard over the past year to demonstrate their collective commitment to achieving the goals established for them. Unrecognized groups undermine the ability of our recognized Greek organizations to achieve the highest levels of success because they operate without College oversight or accountability.

The e-mail included the attachments  of the adopted Policy on Unrecognized Greek Organizations in PDF format and a list of FAQs also in PDF format.

 

This week’s edition of The Lafayette includes the article Scrutiny continues for underground groups by Julie Depenbrock ’13 covering the topic of a policy under consideration by the Board of Lafayette College:

Over the past several months, the Faculty Governance Committee, in conjunction with Student Government, has been drafting a proposal and holding open meetings on what many  have considered a divisive issue. “It’s pretty split,” StuGov President Michael Prisco ‘14 said. “Some people like it.  Some people don’t.” Prisco will be present for the trustees’ Saturday meeting, the only student permitted at the four-hour summit.

Board of Trustees Chair Edward Ahart ‘69 hopes the work done these past eight months can ensure “all organizations have the same training and are subject to the same rules and policies. Another aim: “doing all that we can to allow students to freely associate with whatever organizations they are interested in.”

As I’ve written to the College and publicly in other forums such as this LinkedIn discussion on the topic, a new policy addressing underground groups is unnecessary and although well intentioned, misguided. Still, if a new policy is deemed necessary, I am hopeful it will thread the needle between promoting student safety, strengthening the Greek community, and allowing students to explore their personal and social identities in a way consistent with our Mission as a residential institution of higher learning.

Make no mistake about it, unrecognized fraternities and sororities are bad for the Greek community for many reasons.  However, instead of taking a punitive and preventative approach, we should be working towards a broader framework that is driven by student demand, interest, and ability to advance the Mission of the College. Such a framework needs to provide for the closing of groups on campus as well as the transitioning of groups onto campus.

Just last week a student requested information about “Chartering a Black Greek Letter Organization” from the perspective of social justice on campus through his work with Kaleidoscope.  Notably, such expansion is supported by the current Greek Community on campus because both IFC and PHC included in their strategic plan recognition of 2 new cultural fraternities/sororities alongside recognition of 1 NPC sorority and 3 NIC fraternities.

Couple this with students applying for more than 5 different fraternities or sororities to be recognized on campus over the past year and there’s clearly sufficient demand and a need from students on campus today to re-open the recognition process to at least let students apply for recognition and queue up for when IAGGL completes their important work by May 2014. Unfortunately, the Board of Trustees’ continuing moratorium on recognition of new fraternities and sororities make this impossible.

 
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