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“A new chapter for Greek life” by Editor-in-Chief William Gordon appeared in last week’s edition of The Lafayette. The article addresses the new process the College is implementing to allow Greek organizations to apply to be recognized.

The new three-part application process is an extension of the President Alison Byerly’s Connected Communities program, according to co-chair of the committee that developed the application process Connor Heinlein ‘15, in which all student organizations are viewed on the same platform by the college.

Heinlein said by confirming Greek life as a part of the Connected Communities program, the college is showing they are open to these organizations.

Richard S. Gilbert ’62, former President of Chi Phi, commented on the article:

I am very much pleased to see that the College has finally made official the process by which Greek organizations may return to the campus. As a 55 year plus member of the Chi Phi Fraternity and having lived as an undergraduate student in Vallamont, the home of the Rho Chapter of Chi Phi on Lafayette’s campus, I do believe that the unique experiences of undergraduate membership in a fraternity or sorority can have life long benefits which help the graduate succeed in life. I look forward to Rho Chapter’s return to Vallamont and again becoming a positive contributor to the mission and objectives of Lafayette College.

We at DKE certainly support this initiative by the College and look forward to assisting organizations applying for membership to the existing Greek community.

 

My big fat Greek renovation: DKE fraternity house undergoes major renovations” by Ian Morse ‘17 appears in this week’s edition of The Lafayette. The topic is the planned renovation of the DKE House, which is one part of the plans to commemorate DKE’s 160th Anniversary at Lafayette College along with endowing a scholarship and faculty award.

This project reflects the significant commitment of Lafayette College to DKE, and vice versa. Together we are breathing new life into one of the most effective living learning laboratories on Lafayette’s campus – the DKE House.

“The interior of the 1st thru [sic] 3rd floors will be completely demolished and replaced with all new construction, including finishes, mechanical, electrical, fire protection and plumbing fixtures,” Director of Facilities Planning and Construction Mary Wilford-Hunt wrote in an email.

Renovations will cost over $4 million, according to Wilford-Hunt. The college will pay the base cost of the entire renovation and trust that DKE contribution quotas will be filled, according the Rho DKE 160th Anniversary Campaign’s website.

DKE could not ask for better partners at the College. We’ve worked with all levels of the administration, members of the faculty, trustees, and of course our students. The outpouring of support from folks at the College as well as the brothers, families, and friends of DKE has been tremendous.

In addition to covering the thoughts of Rho Deke alumni, the article also highlights our collegian brothers’ perspective:

“We’ve been working with our alumni advisor and the other alumni, as well as with the undergraduates to help raise money…to fund the project as best as possible,” DKE President Brett Lederer ’15 said. Members of the fraternity have held “phone-athons” whereby they inform alumni since the Class of 1960 of the chapter’s plans.

The administration is presenting this project to the Board of Trustees for their review and approval at the upcoming meeting (May 23-24). Pending that approval, we will host a ground breaking ceremony at the DKE House on June 7th at 2PM with President Byerly. This is during reunion, so register today!

Please post any questions or comments.

 

Last week’s edition of The Lafayette contains an editorial “The Greek Crossroads: Board of Trustees needs to pick a path” by Editor in Chief Michael A. Kowaleski ‘14. Mr. Kowaleski calls for the Board of Trustees to make a decision with regards to the future of fraternities and sororities at Lafayette College.

I consider myself neutral in the Greek life debate. I have friends in Greek life and I’ve seen its advantages (confirmed social scene, connections, etc.), but I understand the problems that can stem from Greek culture (Alabama sororities, fraternity hazing, etc.). Instead of arguing for either side, I’m asking for something simpler: Board of Trustees, just make a decision already.

Although we’re a bit late highlighting this editorial, several alumni commented on the newspaper’s website including Brother Ames.

I heard often from my dad (Temple U. ’41) that the things one learned in college were not always learned in a classroom or library. I learned about budgets and payroll taxes, employee relations and social interactions as a 17-year-old because that was part-and-parcel of being a fraternity member. We had to make the plans and decisions and live with the results of our decisions.

It will certainly be interesting to the results of the upcoming Board of Trustees’ meeting (May 23-24).

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post listed the incorrect title of Mr. Kowaleski’s editorial. It is “The Greek Crossroads: Board of Trustees needs to pick a path” not “IAGGL is landing: Report on Greek life will be released later this month” which is an article written by Amelie Yeager ‘16 earlier this year.

 

The IAGGL Draft Report is out! Let’s cut to the chase. The Board of Trustees called for demonstrated progress towards four objectives for fraternities and sororities. How did we do?

  • IAGGL assessed fraternities and sororities achieved the objectives for academics and discipline.
  • IAGGL found fraternities and sororities met the objectives for demonstrated learning opportunities and benefits to the College as a whole as measured through existing residence life programs.
  • IAGGL found fraternities and sororities demonstrated progress at improving transparency and communication in recruitment including practiced non-discrimination policies. IAGGL concluded open access such as a lottery for membership is not a realistic expectation of values based groups such as fraternities and sororities that select membership according to their groups’ values.

The chair of the Implementation and Assessment Group on Greek Life (IAGGL) posted the draft report today for the entire Lafayette community to review and comment:

To facilitate community feedback, two open forums will be held to discuss the draft and to answer questions regarding the data or recommendations:

  • Monday, April 21, 7:30 p.m. in Colton Chapel – students
  • Tuesday April 22, 4:15 p.m. in Hugel 103 – faculty, staff, and other interested members of the community

You should read the full announcement.

The IAGGL draft report makes several recommendations. Here is my personal take for DKE, which applies to my perspective on fraternities and sororities as a whole:

  • Revamped accreditation program is good. Accreditation itself is not new; only the multimedia format is new, which should help students showcase the benefits of fraternity and sorority affiliation. I look forward to working with the College to strengthen the accreditation program. We can, should and must be held accountable to our shared values with the College. The College already knows from STEPS and COMPASS that accreditation programs successfully predict struggling chapters. It is good to see a recommendation to use an accreditation program to justify expansion as well.
  • Tracking men’s recruitment via ICS solves an issue DKE has pushed for over the past several years. This scalable process will help cut through red tape that Scott Harris ’95 and Dr. Asela Gunawardana ’95 have been fighting to obtain accurate academic profiles of potential new members BEFORE the start of the fall semester (this is difficult due to FERPA requirements protecting privacy of students). Implementing this change will also help rising sophomores, juniors and seniors express interest in joining any fraternity. An additional on-ramp into the fraternal experience is helpful.
  • Waiting on expansion is right, but also wrong. It is right because there are no applications for recognition available to be acted upon due to the moratorium. Any decisions the College makes regarding expansion should take into account the existing community of recognized fraternities and sororities as well as the direction of the College, as the draft report suggests. However, the recommendation as written is wrong because it stops short of recommending the lifting of the temporary moratorium on recognition of new chapters, which was supposed to be in place until IAGGL’s conclusion. The moratorium should be lifted immediately with the conclusion of IAGGL so that groups may begin preparing their applications with the knowledge gained through the IAGGL process. No applications for recognition should be acted upon without considering the critical issues of 1) Context of the application with currently recognized chapters and 2) Fit with the overall direction of the College, including sustained demand among students for new chapters.

DKE believes there is significant demand among students today to join fraternities beyond the capacity of the four currently recognized fraternities (DKE, DU, Phi Kappa Psi and Zeta Psi). We want additional chapters, but we only want successful chapters.

The Lafayette covers the IAGGL draft in an article today “Back to Square One: IAGGL report draft provides no clear answers regarding Greek Life’s future” by Michael A. Kowaleski ‘14:

President Alison Byerly, who inherited the program from Weiss, said that there is no timetable for a final ruling.

“I expect the administration and the Board will respond formally to the report, saying ‘thank you’ for the report, we anticipate doing X, Y and Z,’” she said. “When that would happen, I don’t know.”

There are still two open forums that will be conducted before a final report is filed to the Board of Trustees in May.

In the meantime, it would appear that those in the Lafayette community looking for a conclusion to the “Greek discussion” will have to wait for the Board of Trustees to decide the future of Greek life on campus. IAGGL didn’t provide a smoking gun condemning Greeks, but there was no ringing endorsement.

The article also reports on student reactions.

The Alumni Interfraternity Sorority Board (AISB) had a productive conversation with Dr. Annette Diorio, VP of Campus Life and Senior Diversity Officer (and IAGGL Chair) after receiving the draft report. We are also actively engaged with the Alumni Association and the relevant committees on the Board of Trustees.

You can always provide me input at president@rhodke.org, by leaving a comment below, or contacting your chapter’s AISB representative.

As Annette pointed out in her announcement, there is a tremendous amount of common ground among all stakeholders at Lafayette College, including students and alumni in fraternities and sororities. We will continue to lay out a vision of how fraternities and sororities can help fuel the College’s success if we build on that common ground, and highlight immediate steps the College can take towards that vision.

 

Today’s edition of The Lafayette contains an article about alumni expectations for President Byerly. “Alums cite athletics, Greek life as concerns” by Michael A. Kowaleski ‘14, reports the results of interviews he conducted with several Lafayette alumni.

Out of seven interviews with key Lafayette alumni, six members cited Greek life, five cited social life, and five cited Lafayette’s commitment to Division I athletics as important aspects for President Byerly to concentrate on during her tenure.

An example of the types of concerns alumni have on Greek life:

“Greek life needs to be a part of the school,” Carolyn Romney ‘08 said. Romney is a former member of the Delta Gamma sorority. “It’s always been, it’s rooted in tradition. The way that that takes form is kind of determined by the future, but I’d like her to preserve the ties to our rich past.”

Read the full article to see other concerns alumni hope to see President Byerly address.

 

Today’s edition of The Lafayette, with a new online home at http://www.lafayettestudentnews.com, contains several articles that touch on Greek Life. First up is “A New Face for an Old System” by Julia Ben-Asher ‘14, which introduces Daniel Ayala as the new Assistant Director of Residence Life and Advisor to Fraternities and Sororities.

The article provides a good overview of Dan’s CV and concludes with the following:

“I think he will do a terrific job,” President Alison Byerly said regarding Ayala. “I just met with the Alumni Interfraternity and Sorority Board and I think they’re interested in working with him. I think they feel good about that.”

Ayala is looking forward to fulfilling his goals here: educational programming for both Greek and non-Greek students, which are co-sponsored with other departments and offices, leadership development and risk management work, addressing gender and sexuality issues, and helping to develop an inclusive campus community.

DKE alumni are absolutely looking forward to working with Dan. We are also pleased that President Byerly joined the August 24th meeting of the Alumni Interfraternity and Sorority Board (AISB). This is a terrific way to kickoff the academic year.

Next up is “Lasting Effects: Umberger Leaves his Mark on Campus” by Michael A. Kowaleski ‘14 which covers the departure of Dan’s predecessor, Stuart Umberger. The article highlights:

Umberger’s impact is still being felt during rush. Ayala has been largely carrying over changes in sorority rushing that were implemented by Umberger prior to his departure.

We wish Stuart well in his current endeavors at Franklin & Marshall. We will work closely with Dan to institutionalize the changes for the better that Stuart introduced to the Lafayette Greek community throughout his time as Director of Fraternity and Fraternity Life. Of course, we will also engage new ideas Dan brings to our community.

In another article (I warned you there was a lot touching on Greek Life in this issue!), “What are Students Expecting from Byerly?” Samantha Praman-Linton ‘16 interviewed Delta Upsilon President Zach Lappen ‘14 who offered the following comment, among others:

I’d like to see her work to interact with students a little bit more than a bridge between the administration and students at the college, so that they can interact as one cohesive group to a better degree.

Read the full article to see the rest of his perspective as a student leader in the Greek community.

Finally, of note to alumni is the Letter from the Editor Michael A. Kowaleski about The Lafayette‘s coverage of the start of President Byerly’s leadership of Lafayette College. He writes:

It’s important to consider the desires of alumni and faculty, two populations that carry significant weight in administrative decisions. We plan on covering both divisions and their respective visions for the College.

Again, its worth reading his letter in full.

 

Friday’s edition of The Lafayette featured the cover article “Setting up shop: Byerly discusses Greek Life” by By Michael A. Kowaleski ‘14 Editor-in-Chief. The article covers the convocation for the Class of 2017 of Lafayette College. From the article:

“Many alums talk about Greek Life, et cetera [sic], and what I told them was that the kinds of values that inspired their dedication to their fraternity are not only still represented but can be found in other aspects of residential life,” Byerly said. “If fraternities and sororities can meet the standards set up by the IAGGL process, I’m delighted to see them be part of that picture. ”

“I don’t believe Greek life is expendable,” she stated. “I believe if they adhere to the standards set, they have a place.”

For more on Greek Life and other topics from convocation, read the full article.

The newspaper is currently re-designing their website (thelaf.com). In the meantime, the newspaper is available in PDF format from the College Archives beginning at this link. The article concludes on page 4.

For those of you who missed reunion, President Weiss addressed the topic of fraternities and sororities meeting the standards under the IAGGL process during his final State of the College address on June 7, 2013:

We’re finding our way with Greek organizations now. We’re working in partnership with the students as closely as we ever have. They’re supportive of these initiatives. They’re performing at the levels we’ve asked them to. Their academic achievements are commensurate with the study body as a whole. And I’m proud of that. I think the way forward with them will be positive and I think that will be an important achievement for us so that we can all be rowing together.

You can watch this address at the College’s website. The sections relevant to Greek Life as of June 2013 begin at 27:20 and 43:00.

 

This week’s edition of The Lafayette contains an article quoting Brother David Eckelmann ’13 as captain of the fencing team.  Fencing Hosts NCAA Regional by Ariana Giorgi ’13, discusses Lafayette College’s hosting of the Mid-Atlantic/South Regional tournament. The article goes into detail about the funding of the fencing team, which is funded as one team rather than separate men’s and women’s teams :

“The most important thing the school could do right now would be to fund the program as two separate teams,” captain Dave Eckelmann ‘13 said.

Read the full article for more fencing details and news.

Another newspaper article about the closing months of President Weiss’ tenure as President of Lafayette College briefly touches on Greek Life:

The Implementation and Assessment Group on Greek Life (IAGGL), which was established by Weiss in late 2011, is nearing its conclusion. Weiss admits he is encouraged by the progress.
“Over the last three or four years, we’ve had a series of studies and working groups and we’re now at a stage where the standards have been set and the monitoring mechanisms are in place and the administration, the board, the students—everybody—understand where we are and we’re making good progress,” he said.

It is encouraging to hear that everyone, including the administration and Board, continues to acknowledge the progress already made in the Greek Community.

Finally, the newspaper also covered a New Public Safety Advisory Committee.

 “It is helpful for Public Safety to have a group of students to get ideas from and to bounce ideas off of,” Director Public Safety Hugh Harris said. “The main focus is to work with the students in a positive way.”
There are two seniors, two juniors, three sophomores, and one freshman on the committee, which meets periodically to discuss how they can improve the department.

Hopefully the next Director of Public Safety will continue this Committee following Hugh Harris’ retirement at the end of this year. Such a Committee could provide an avenue of direct communication from students to the Public Safety, which may avoid controversies such as the alcohol patrol issues that came to a head last year, ultimately being resolved during a forum hosted by President Weiss in the Spring of 2012.

 

This week’s edition of The Lafayette contains two articles about Greek Life at Lafayette College. The first covers information from the recent Winter Board of Trustees meeting and an update posted by the IAGGL chair, which DKE’s leadership reacted to in an earlier post.  The article Halfway there: Greek gpa progress promising by Julie Depenbrock ’13 contains the following quote from President Weiss:

“The evidence that we’re gathering from the data that we’ve seen is that the Greek organizations are performing very well,” Weiss said. “Their academic performance and behavioral issues seem to be consistent with the student body as a whole, which is what I asked for at the beginning of this.”

Its good to read that President Weiss recognizes the progress in the Greek Community, that we are meeting the President’s expectations, and that the President and VP of Campus Life are both “optimistic about the future of Greek Life.”

The second article So-long sorority by Samatha Praman-Linton ‘16 details the demand on campus for an additional sorority as well as discussing Sigma Kappa, the first sorority at Lafayette College. Importantly, the article also reports about the process for bringing chapters onto campus, which seems to indicate that interested folks (students and alumni) should begin working on applying now so that swift action can be taken following the completion of IAGGL’s review period in 2014.

Vice President for Campus Life and Senior Diversity Officer Annette Diorio believes the next year and a half will answer the question Greek life’s expansion.

Although the review period officially ends June 1, 2014, discussion to add new organizations will begin a year in advance because of the planning and approval needed from the national headquarters of fraternities and sororities.

 

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.

 
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