Greek System Review Task Force Report

California State University, Chico
Submitted to President Paul J. Zingg
May 16, 2005

Task Force Membership

Jim Moon, Chair, Vice President for Student Affairs

Deanna Berg, Staff Council
Ralph Meuter, Dean Emeritus, Greek Alum
Maribel Bravo, President, Ethnic Greek Council
Mary Quiring, Student Affairs
Juliann Clarke, Faculty
Eric Reichel, University Police Department
Michelle Dobin, President, Panhellenic
John Rucker, City of Chico, Police Department
Jane Dolan, Alumni Association
David Stephen, University Housing and Food Service
Rob Felicano, Student, Greek Leader
Marcie Tevis, Greek Alum Advisor
Steve Halterbeck, Student, Greek Leader
Meghan Thompson, Student, Greek Leader
Nick Hollingsworth, President IFC
Kassidy Warren, Student, Greek Leader
Connie Huyck, Greek Life Advisor
Jed Wyrick, Faculty
Lizanne Leach, Student Judicial Affairs


Table of Contents

Introduction
Background
Charge from the President
Statement and Acknowledgement of the Problem
The Task Force
Task Force Recommendatios
Tier 1A
Tier 1B
Tier 2
Tier 3
Advantages of a Greek System
Conclusions of the Task Force
Appendices


Introduction

On February 20, 2005, Paul J. Zingg, president of California State University, Chico called for a comprehensive review (Appendix A) of the Greek system after the tragic death of Matthew Carrington on February 2, 2005, due to a hazing incident conducted by an unrecognized fraternity. Mr. Carrington's death was preceded in the fall 2004 semester by the death of a recognized fraternity member involved in a traffic accident immediately following a fraternity initiation ceremony. A third incident involved the near death of a pledge from alcohol poisoning in a recognized fraternity on January 20, 2005. These and other continuing alcohol poisonings of students in Greek organizations throughout the past year and continuing police reports (Appendix B) of disproportionate use of public safety resources from the community and campus also led to this review. On April 12, President Zingg addressed the Greek community (Appendix C) and described 10 conditions that individual chapters would be required to meet in order to be considered for continuing as a social Greek organization at CSU, Chico. Following the February 20 address, a Greek System Review Task Force was brought together to conduct the comprehensive review called for by the president.

In addition to forming a task force, the vice president for Student Affairs hired Dr. Tom Jelke (Appendix D), a consultant with nationwide expertise in assessing Greek systems. The task force wishes to acknowledge the thoroughness of Dr. Jelke’s review (Appendix E) and the plethora of practical suggestions he made as a blueprint for a successful Greek system. His ability to quickly gain rapport with a wide range of constituent groups (Appendix F), his obvious expertise on the subject matter, and his detailed suggestions on how to improve Greek organizations has given his assessment a high degree of credibility.

Brief Background History of Greek Letter Social Organizations

A cursory review of University records shows fraternal organizations (including women’s and men’s groups) dating back to 1918 with the founding of Alpha Chi sorority and Iota Sigma fraternity in 1924. Apparently, the first few fraternities and sororities were local organizations without national affiliations. The establishment of organizations continued through the next three decades, although few in number and number of members. Beginning in the 1950s, some of these organizations merged with or sought national organization charters. Indications are that several national organizations had come to Chico to inquire about chartering chapters in the mid 1950s. Issues facing organizations at the time are outlined by President Kendall, in a 1954 memorandum to Dean of Students Hugh Bell, in which Kendall cautions that hazing needed to be eliminated and social practices needed upgrading. He included a call to “improve the social fraternities of this campus so that in your judgment you would feel easy in recommending to any parent that his son would profit by being a member.” Additional nationally chartered chapters were established through the 1960s. By the mid 1960s the campus hosted four women’s and seven men’s organizations. This period was peppered with reports of behavior problems and the establishment of committees, policies, and practices to address them. Minimum grade point averages, housing requirements, and a policy regulating the establishment of new organizations were among the topics of the period.

Beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s, fraternal organizations began a decline in membership and number of chapters across the country. Much of this is attributed to the student cultural shift of the times as the baby boom generation began to reject traditional activities in favor of social and political action. While during this time Chico lost no chapters and even gained a national organization or two and a couple of local groups, membership surely declined to some degree. Most fraternal experts agree that it was during this time that chapters drifted more and more towards parties and alcohol while membership became harder and harder to recruit. Pioneer Days was becoming a focus for the organizations, and the competition was heating up for the bragging rights associated with the various contests. Issues from the 1960s include alcohol at rush events, academic eligibility for rush, chapter behavior, and disturbances.

The 1980s began with six women’s organizations and nine men’s. One of the women’s organizations was organized as an anti-Panhellenic group while the rest of the local organizations were represented at either the Interfraternity (IFC) or Panhellenic Councils. The 1980s into the 1990s was another growth period. Several national men’s and women’s organizations were established. Membership numbers at Chico and across the country blossomed. Greek membership across the country and at Chico was at an all time high. Pioneer Days, nearly to the exclusion of all other activities, was the focus of Greek life. The financial commitment and amount of volunteer time became intense and a burden to some organizations. Following two years of increased behavior problems and other warning signs, in 1987 Pioneer Days erupted into two nights of riotous behavior. The tradition was ended, only to be resurrected by a community association for three more years. Again in 1990, two nights of rioting erupted and the Pioneer Days, renamed Rancho Chico Days, tradition was permanently ended by the City of Chico. The year 1982 was marked by the tragic death of Jeffery Long during a fraternity new membership activity on River Road.

The founding of both local and national cultural or ethnic Greek organizations also marked the 1980s and 1990s. Historically national African-American organizations were chartered in Chico, as were predominantly Latino organizations. Groups labeling themselves as “multicultural” were also established along with Hmong and other Asian groups. At least two of the organizations that had their start at Chico have gone on to become “national” or multichapter organizations. Chico was among the first campuses in California and the southwest to experience and foster these new fraternal groups.

The number of chapters of fraternal groups peaked in the mid 1990s. While several groups flourished in membership, competition drove other organizations to smaller and smaller numbers as the decade wore on. By the late 1990s and early 2000s several national organizations had closed chapters for financial or behavior reasons. In 2002, CSU, Chico President Manuel Esteban, at the request of the vice president for Student Affairs and the Student Activities Office, established a Greek Task Force to evaluate and recommend changes in the Greek system. Issues of this era were similar to the past, but the 2000 alcohol poisoning death of Adrian Heideman during a fraternity “big brother” event punctuated the need for reform. In 2004-2005, a traffic fatality after a fraternity event, the near death alcohol poisoning of a fraternity pledge, the death at an unaffiliated fraternity of pledge Matthew Carrington during a hazing incident, and the filming of a pornographic movie at yet another fraternity house left President Zingg with little choice but to issue an ultimatum to the Greek system and charge four task forces with making recommendations for change. New standards of behavior and operations are in the wings for groups to either adopt or to cease to exist.

Currently there are 39 social Greek organizations on campus with 1,238 members. These organizations include those who are members of the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, Ethnic Greek Council (EGC), individual local fraternities and sororities and other social Greek organizations not affiliated with any of the above groups. Of these 39 groups, 20 operate chapter houses in and around the campus. See Appendix G for more detailed information. To put these numbers in perspective, the University had an undergraduate enrollment this year of 14,235.

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Recent Events

Since 1996, ten people have died from alcohol, other drugs, or hazing. Seven of those have been the result of Greek organization activity or involved a member of the Greek community. Prior to this school year, the death of Adrian Heideman, in October 2000 at a fraternity initiation event, was the cause for a heightened focus on alcohol poisoning. The Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center (CADEC) developed additional programs to address this issue. The fraternities of the IFC voluntarily agreed to deferred rush (no fall recruitment) of freshmen for a two-year period, 2001-2002 and 2002-2003. For a variety of reasons, continuation of deferred recruitment was not reviewed until fall 2003, after recruitment for that semester had occurred. Then, more recently:

October 2004, Daniel Mason Swarm, a Butte College student in a Chico State fraternity, was killed in a car accident returning from a fraternity initiation event. The fraternity was found in violation of alcohol policies and was suspended for a period of time.

2004 calendar year, IFC and Panhellenic student leadership made several proposals which resulted in the Greek Life Agreement that was signed by all IFC fraternities and two Panhellenic sororities in December 2004. The remaining sororities agreed to sign but were waiting for approval from their national headquarters. This agreement called for the chapters of these groups to make progress toward each chapter being at or above the men’s/women’s undergraduate GPA average (Appendix H), to participate in new-member education programs conducted by the University, participate in a community forum, and agree to dry rush. The University agreed to sponsor public recognition of those groups having the highest GPA and award $250 to each fraternity and sorority achieving this level, and to contribute $1,000 to an endowment that would support academic programs.

January 2005, before classes began for the spring 2005 semester, one of the signers of the Greek Life Agreement was responsible for the near death of a pledge due to alcohol poisoning after an initiation event on January 20, 2005. At a joint IFC/Panhellenic meeting on January 31, the vice president for Student Affairs met with the Greek leadership and among other things told them (1) they needed to find a way to separate themselves from alcohol abuse, and (2) they needed to reinvent themselves, citing the recent alcohol poisoning as an example of their credibility being very low with the University.

February 2005, two mornings later, February 2, Matthew Carrington died from an alleged initiation activity that members of an unrecognized fraternity had been informed about at a member education event on Greek values. Fraternity brothers delayed calling 911 for over an hour after it was obvious that Carrington was in a serious medical emergency.

Earlier in the weekend prior to President Zingg’s first address to the Greek community, a sorority member was transported to the hospital for alcohol poisoning.

April 2005, Prior to the president’s second address to the Greek community, it was learned that one of the signers of the Greek Life agreement had participated in the making of a pornographic video at the chapter house in the fall 2004 semester.

The president, faculty, staff, and other students at the University, as well as members of the Chico community, had had enough. Therefore, on April 12, 2005, the president addressed the Greek community again, speaking to about 1,000 in attendance, and called once more for them to live up to their chapter values and be true to those values. If they did not, he said, they would not be welcome at Chico State . The president announced his 10 Terms and Conditions that were minimum requirements for Greek Organizations to be considered for continued University recognition.

There are several constituent groups on campus and in the Chico community, including the student Greek leadership, who believe that we must not only change the way the Greek system works at Chico State, but appear ready to make those changes.

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Charge from the President

“Accordingly, I have directed Vice President for Student Affairs Jim Moon and his leadership team, assisted by others throughout the University, including representatives of the Greek system, to undertake immediately a thorough review of the entire system. Everything is on the table in this review – from leadership development to membership behavior, from social responsibility to community service, from rush practices to the very fact of the Greek system’s continued existence on this campus. I have asked that this review be completed before the end of the spring semester.

“This review will be open-ended. There are no predetermined outcomes to it. But there are definitely predetermined goals: If we continue to have fraternities and sororities at Chico State, they must reflect the self-professed and admirable ideals of those organizations and they must be aligned unequivocally with the core values and necessary expectations of the University itself. And these – let me reiterate – are community, civility, respect, service, tolerance, and integrity.”

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Statement and Acknowledgement of the Problem

The task force accepts Dr. Jelke’s assessment as accurately reflecting the current condition of the Greek system at Chico State and acknowledges that it is indeed “…in a state of disarray.” Further, the task force acknowledges his conclusion that, “For the Greek community, and for individual chapters, failure to make significant change will probably result in their extinction.” That being said, the task force also acknowledges Dr. Jelke’s assessment that the Greek system is salvageable if it embraces the opportunity for change that is now before them. This also includes the need for the University to provide the support to help them do so. While University support certainly includes resource issues, it also includes the University’s commitment to hold Greek organizations accountable to the standards as outlined in a University and Greek Organizations Relationship Statement referred to later in this report.

It must be noted that the Greek system at Chico State operates in a broader youth and community culture in which alcohol and drugs are readily accessible to anyone of almost any age. Within a mile of the campus about 50 businesses are licensed to sell alcohol. Because competition is heavy to attract customers with this many alcohol outlets, some of these businesses advertise heavily and/or provide numerous drink specials so that not only is alcohol readily available, it is inexpensive. The weekly drink specials page in a local newspaper is evidence of this. The low cost and easy accessibility to alcohol, intense national advertising that glorifies alcohol use, and an insufficient number of weekend activities providing low-cost and accessible activities that do not include alcohol add to the problems emanating from the Greek system.

The introductory “General Observations” of Dr. Jelke’s report summarize his assessment of the Greek system at Chico and appears below.

  • The Greek community at CSU, Chico is in a state of disarray. The recent and not so recent tragedies, “near misses,” and questionable activities that have occurred are testaments to the seriousness of this state of disarray. While there are a variety of issues that will be covered in this report, the central problem is that the members of the community are not in touch with the core values of their organizations. Fraternities and sororities are supposed to be value-centered entities that help develop members into exemplary students, leaders and citizens who serve their university and surrounding community, and people who uphold and act in accordance with the loftiest of behavioral expectations. Many of the fraternities and sororities on campus, and a large number of the members in all of these groups, do not truly believe in this purpose.
  • This deep-rooted problem has been exacerbated by several underlying factors: historically inconsistent support, guidance, and accountability from undergraduate peers, alumni, volunteers, and the University; an ineptness and inability of current members to recruit new members in a way that attracts a “more serious” student; new-member programs that focus on irrelevant, childish, time consuming, anti-academic, and often dangerous behavior; surrounding drinking establishments that often blatantly promote irresponsible behavior; the community’s (city, university, and Greek) highly social reputation that attracts students, several who admitted to me that they come to CSU, Chico primarily for the social environment; a lack of desire, human and financial resources, and/or perceived reasons to make substantive cultural change.
  • With that said, the Greek community and the University community are at a crossroads. President Zingg’s address to the Greek community made it clear that the status quo would no longer be tolerated. In other words, there is an expectation that these organizations realign themselves with their core values. If anything good has emerged from the latest tragedy, it has created a sense of urgency, and with it the momentum needed to instigate a necessary and significant cultural change. Both constituents have the opportunity to come together to make substantive change and directly or indirectly address all of the issues above. Many Greek leaders are embracing this opportunity to attempt to make change, but are going to need support and guidance from the University and other entities (alumni, advisors, and national headquarters) to make it happen. For the Greek community, and for individual chapters and members, failure to make significant change will probably result in their extinction.

Dr. Jelke has identified 15 major themes which require attention. The following are excerpts from his report.

Vision and Values Education

The CSU, Chico Greek community needs to develop a shared vision of its values, purpose, mission, and goals.

Few members of the Greek community were able to communicate a shared vision for their own chapter, and even less could do so for the community at large. There is a disconnect between councils, chapters, and even individuals in chapters on what it means to be in a fraternity or sorority. Before the Greek community can make any significant change, a concerted effort is needed to get chapter members and whole chapters to understand the true meaning of fraternity. Too many students are joining fraternities and sororities for the wrong reasons. Way too much emphasis is placed on the social aspect of fraternities and sororities.

Academics and Faculty Interaction

Nearly all chapters are way behind the all men’s and all women’s average when it comes to academics, and that is unacceptable.

The fraternities and sororities have to work on strengthening their academic policies as a community. Groups that consistently remain below the all men’s and all women’s averages are dragging down the rest of the community and hurt the Greek community’s opportunity to be taken seriously by the University. Academics are a main tenet of all chapters at CSU, Chico, and there is no integrity or credibility built when chapters struggle to succeed academically.

Alcohol and Other Drugs

One of the main problems for the Greek community is the focus on alcohol. Other drugs are also a factor for many members as well.

At nearly every campus, alcohol is too often the focus of fraternity and sorority social events, recruitment events, new-member events, and even philanthropic events. CSU, Chico has many of these same problems. Survey results are very clear: CSU, Chico students drink more than the average college student. Anecdotal data indicates that fraternity and sorority members drink more than the average CSU, Chico student and have access to more alcohol.

There is also a dangerous "drink to get drunk” mentality that exists. Regardless, the statistic that is glaring is the number of deaths on campus over the past 20 years that have been alcohol related, a majority of which involved Greek members.

Chapters rarely follow the University’s or their own alcohol policy.

Adding fuel to this problem is the proximity of drinking establishments that provide alcohol for very low prices nearly every day of the week, a party-school image that attracts too many students to the University for the wrong reasons (and a certain undesirable element to the community), and a lack of alternative programming on campus and in the community.

Leadership Development

The CSU, Chico Greek community needs a more centralized leadership development program that is geared towards fraternity and sorority members.

CSU, Chico's Greek community does less in this area than most other communities, including those half its size.

New-Member Development

New-member programs for fraternities and sororities at CSU, Chico are harmless at best and dangerous at worst.

New member programs should provide support and guidance for students who decide to join a Greek organization. This support and guidance should focus on transition to the University setting, academics, values education, and understanding the operations of the chapter. Most of the new-member programs for the fraternities and sororities have students engage in activities that are unproductive.

Many of the fraternities and some of the sororities also have new members participate in activities that involve the consumption of alcohol, embarrassing and/or belittling situations, and in worst cases, activities that put new members in danger.

Hazing, at CSU, Chico and other places, is a cancer.

Members who are hazed often see initiation as the finish line, and then become less productive as members. Hazing has also been the cause of too many incidents at CSU, Chico to be accepted in any form.

Standards and the Judicial Process

The judicial processes for the Greek community (both on a council level and individual chapter level) and the University are not as effective as they need to be.

Currently, the Greek judicial process is lacking in substance and empowerment. Chapter standards boards are either non-existent or inconsistent. The University judicial system also suffers from a lack of collaboration and cooperation with internal and external entities.

Programming and Co-sponsorship

More programs should be done for or by the Greek community as a whole, particularly non-alcoholic programming and alternative programming. Almost no programming occurs between the Greek community and other entities on campus. High-performing Greek communities provide a diverse set of programs for members, and also seek out and implement programs with other campus entities such as other student groups or even University offices and departments.

Public Relations and Community Relations

The CSU, Chico Greek community needs to create a positive public image on campus and in Chico and other nearby communities.

The general public perception of the Greek community at CSU, Chico is quite negative, especially in light of recent incidents.

Too many students want to change perceptions without changing behavior. Leaders of the Greek community lacked confidence that some of their members were going to be positive influences for change. They felt that those members didn’t think things were “so bad” and blamed external entities (the media, stereotypes, other fraternities/sororities, etc.) rather than take responsibility for creating a better image by aligning themselves with the core values of the organization.

Service and Philanthropy

A better balance of hands-on community service and campus-based philanthropic efforts is needed in the CSU, Chico Greek community. Moreover, more efficient and open philanthropies are needed.

Many chapters see philanthropy as one of the strengths of the Greek community at CSU, Chico. However, there is much room for improvement in this area, and also room for the University to provide assistance. For starters, there is NO room for any alcohol at a fraternity or sorority philanthropic event.

Risk Management and Crisis Management

Risk management and crisis management policies need to be clearer, followed more closely, and made a part of annual education for chapter and council leaders.

Chapter leaders and members do not have a grasp of what the policies are, which are more highly enforced, and what to do in case of an emergency. Training needs to include ways for chapter leaders to enforce the policies.

Most chapters aren’t practicing risk management; they are practicing “get caught avoidance.”

Alcohol and hazing are probably the biggest risk-management problems.

Chapter Alumni and Advisors

Consistent chapter advising is needed for all of the groups if the Greek community at CSU, Chico is going to improve. Alumni need to be educated about the changes occurring in the CSU, Chico Greek community.

Chapter advisors are an important part of any high-performing Greek community.

The alumni and other volunteers that do get involved with the Greek community at CSU, Chico are extremely dedicated and provide amazing support for some of the groups. The problem is that some groups operate without consistently strong advising.

University Recognition

If chapters are going to value remaining a part of the official University community, more needs to be done to make recognition essential for their existence.

Point blank: it needs to be so much better to be a university-recognized student organization than not be recognized that chapters will bend over backwards to meet the proposed criteria and standards set by the University.

University Facilities

For a campus that prides itself in creating a welcoming, nurturing, and engaging environment for its students, CSU, Chico has a large lack of recreational facilities and programming space.

Involving colleges and universities produce environments whereby students can engage with each other and faculty/staff in positive, productive ways. Part of how that environment is created is the utilization and building of recreational and programming space. Students in many rural campuses state that there is nothing to do except drink. While I am not persuaded by the latter half of that statement is true at CSU, Chico (there are always other things to do than drink), the former half is arguable.

University Support and Staffing Issues

With all of the changes and expectations described above, the University is going to need to provide resources and support for fraternities and sororities if they are to survive.

The University administration, for various reasons, has not been as engaged with the Greek community as it could have been. The president has shown his interest in becoming more involved in fraternity/sorority life through the creation of high expectations and the voicing of a need for more support for those organizations that meet those criteria.

On many campuses, the expectations and support level for the Greek community is different than that for other student organizations. On those campuses, the stance is justified by the Greeks’ own set of values and their similarity to the University mission, and the Greek community’s ability to embody all the positive characteristics of a strong campus life. At CSU, Chico, that stance can also be justified by the inordinate amount of issues that have arisen with the Greek community when there are no expectations and little support, and the lack of past committed resources to help them improve.

Recruitment and Expansion

The Greek community at CSU, Chico needs to create a unified, intentional, comprehensive recruitment program. An expansion plan to bring in strong new fraternities is also necessary in order to create an orderly and systematic way to deal with any attrition of chapters.

Recruitment is very different from “Rush” – one is active, personal, targeted, and intentional; the other is passive, event-based, haphazard, and coincidental. Most Greek communities operate on a ”rush” mentality. That is certainly the case with CSU, Chico.

Currently, the "rush” mentality is passive (current members wait for prospective members to come to them) and event-based (recruitment events are the only place where recruitment takes place). To complicate matters, too many students are joining IFC fraternities and Panhellenic sororities for the ‘wrong’ reasons.

Even worse, some fraternities are using alcohol during or after recruitment events! Many students who enjoy that stereotypical image are the ones that will seek out fraternities and sororities, while more "serious” students will avoid them. If significant progress is to be made in the next five years, more effort needs to be made by Greek members to understand, believe in, act in line with, and promote the positive aspects of Greek life as a whole.

They need access to the more serious students, but have not proven themselves to be trustworthy to receive that access yet.

The University should consider an incentive-based deferred recruitment program. For example, chapters that meet new member academic requirements for the fall and spring would be able to pledge freshmen the following fall. Those that did not would be unable to recruit freshmen in the fall. This would place a great deal of emphasis on new member academics—a sorely needed change.

Consultant’s Conclusions

Key points from the Jelke report regarding the future of the Greek system include the following:

  • First and foremost, a decision needs to be made on whether to recognize the fraternities and sororities at all. If they are to be recognized, then a strategic plan needs to be coordinated that will define the future expectations and levels of support for the Greek community.
  • In his opinion, the fraternity and sorority community at CSU, Chico is salvageable.
  • The changes that are necessary will no doubt challenge members, chapters, and the entire Greek community to realign themselves with their core values, or lose their membership or recognition.
  • There needs to be a purging of the current Greek community, and the University can help facilitate this by creating the high standards and expectations discussed above, and by providing those willing to make the change with the support they need.
  • Those expectations should include:
    • Academic performance for members and new members
    • New-Member education parameters
    • Faculty and Chapter Advisor positions filled with engaged persons
    • Functioning Alumni House Corporations for chapters with houses
    • No alcohol at any events for at least a year
    • A chapter reorganization (membership review) to be held by all chapters that have not gone through one in the past year. This process should be conducted through alumni and/or headquarters by a certain date
    • Chapters with houses need to have periodic code inspections from the city
    • Chapters need to remove any members that are not fully enrolled CSU, Chico students
    • Chapters need to turn in all rosters, policies, and other requested information to Greek Life by a specific deadline

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The Task Force

President Zingg has created a Commission on Campus Life with six task forces, of which the Greek System Review Task Force is one. The others are Hazing, Alcohol Abuse, Personal Safety in Campus Neighborhoods, Student Engagement, and New Student Orientation. Dean Emeritus Stephen King is the chair of the Commission.

The chairs of the first four task forces formed first and have met weekly with Dr. King to ensure coordination of commission efforts.

The Greek System Review Task Force began its work on March 24, 2005, with an aggressive timeline because the president wanted a report by the end of the semester. Seven meetings were held plus an Open Meeting for the public to address the task force. The work was completed in seven weeks. This report was delivered to the president on May 16, 2005, meeting his requested timeline.

The task force made a commitment to consider every idea given to it from whatever source. Ultimately, some 80+ ideas were discussed as well as the president’s two addresses and the consultant’s report. The task force also met with Dr. Tom Jelke, the consultant, at their first meeting. Some ideas were referred to other task forces, such as the task force on Hazing, but most have been incorporated into the list of recommendations.

In addition to reviewing the items described above, the task force and/or the chair reviewed similar campus reviews and/or Relationship Statements from Colorado State, San Diego State, De Paul University, San Jose State University, California State University, Fullerton, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Colorado State University, University of Oregon, Bucknell University, University of Washington, and Texas A&M. Also available to the task force was the latest National Panhellenic Conference Standards document and the North-American Interfraternity Conferences Standards document.

For the most part, the task force met as an entire group at each meeting. Attendance was consistent from among the 20 members serving on the task force. At one point, the task force divided into smaller work groups and organized their review around several subtopics: Greek Organization, Chapter Houses, University Policy, Faculty Advisors, Alcohol, and Community Service. A broad cross-section of campus and community constituencies were represented as indicated by the membership list on the cover of this report.

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Task Force Recommendations

Task force recommendations are accompanied by planning worksheets which can be found in Appendix I. These worksheets identify a problem and list action steps for moving the recommendation forward to address the problem. They delineate who will take the action, in some cases how it will be done, by what date, and any known cost to implement the recommendation.

The recommendations of the task force are based on the assumption that every chapter (IFC/PH/ EGC/Local) must meet every task force recommendation addressed to them in order to be considered for continuing recognition or re-recognition whenever they have been suspended. (Zingg #1)

The task force recommendations have incorporated President Zingg’s 10 Terms and Conditions as well as those at the end of Dr. Jelke’s report. President Zingg’s Terms and Conditions are so noted next to task force recommendations.

The implementation of the recommendations will be a learning process for the campus. Some are simple and straightforward. Others will require further deliberation. In any event, as we learn what works and what needs changing, we will change what we do to continuously find ways to improve the Greek system.

The task force recommendations are based on the following:

The president’s February 20 and April 12, 2005 addresses to the Greek community

Tom Jelke’s report

Consideration of every idea suggested to the campus via e-mail since Matthew Carrington's death and from an Open Meeting held on April 27, 2005

Discussions of the Greek System Review Task Force


The task force has organized its recommendations into three tiers for implementation.

Tier 1A Completed by September 1, 2005
Tier 1B Completed by October 15, 2005
Tier 2 Completed by March 15, 2006
Tier 3 Begun during the 2006-07 year

All recommendations were required to meet most of the following criteria:

  • Substantive
  • Affordable (or must identify costs)
  • Manageable
  • Measurable (if possible)
  • Incorporation into organizational infrastructures
  • Potential for reducing another student death.

More details on each recommendation are in Appendix I.

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Tier 1A Recommendations (Completed by September 1, 2005.)

  1. All chapter houses must file with the Student Activities office the contact information of their landlord/property manager/alum corporation board. (Zingg #6)
  2. All chapter houses and chapter events shall be alcohol and drug free. This shall be monitored by chapter leadership, appropriate Greek councils, and all chapter advisors will involve campus and city police reporting mechanisms. However, alcohol may be present at events utilizing a third-party vendor if approved by the Student Activities office. Utilize the Greek Life Judicial Board for investigations and sanctions. Refer cases of individual violations of the campus discipline code to Student Judicial Affairs. There will be zero tolerance of underage drinking and providing alcohol to minors. A chapter found in violation may lose recognition or will receive a lesser sanction. (Zingg #9)

    Adherence to this recommendation is one of the quickest ways for the Greek system to rebuild a positive reputation and demonstrate that it means what it says when claiming that chapter values are their first priority.

    Each chapter, or the councils, should develop activities without alcohol that can be enjoyed by chapter members on an on-going basis, not just at periodic Greek-wide events. Develop an event in the fall which is Greek-wide or campus community-wide that is a non-alcohol event.
  3. No hazing. This recommendation has also been referred to the Hazing Task Force for in-depth review. (Zingg, #10)
  4. Postpone all recruitment, for all Greek organizations, of all new members during fall 2005. Many recommendations that follow depend upon a fall 2005 new-member postponement. This will allow chapters to restructure, rebuild, and recommit to chapter values as their first priority.
  5. Notify students and parents of all student organizations that have been suspended from operating and those not recognized by the University. This should be an active notice, not limited to a passive Web site listing. Notify owner/manager of chapter house and University Police and Chico Police whenever the University has withdrawn recognition of a Greek organization.
  6. Develop a faculty advisor’s handbook covering support/referral resources, legal questions, tips on advising, etc.
  7. Update and provide analogous material and training for the alum/staff chapter advisor that includes University's expectations.
  8. Develop an infrastructure that merges and coordinates investigations of policy violations of student organizations and individuals in those organizations using staff of Student Activities and Student Judicial Affairs.
  9. Establish a “Student Safety” 1-800 hotline for reporting hazing, alcohol abuse, assault, etc. This would not be for 911 emergencies but to report (anonymously if they wish) behaviors occurring to themselves or others. It would go to a recorded message line, and a staff member would return the call if the student so wishes.
  10. The Student Activities office shall develop a budget for Greek Life programming that is consistent with task force recommendations.
  11. Emphasize quality over quantity. The University should communicate to the National Headquarters that we do not agree with house totals minimums (85 for some sororities) while we are trying to rebuild a viable Greek community.

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Tier 1B Recommendations (Completed by October 15, 2005)

  1. Determine the process and criteria of meeting the requirement that chapter GPA's be at the all women’s/all men’s campus averages. (Zingg #2)
  2. Identify faculty advisors for each chapter focused on academics, academic advising, and academic support referral. Faculty may elect to take on a chapter advising role at their option. As a way to phase in this requirement, identify faculty to serve as a “faculty resource” in an informal relationship until the role of faculty advisor to social Greek organizations is defined and reviewed by the Academic Senate. A “faculty resource” person helps the chapter by providing information and advice regarding academic support as the chapters work towards the goal of chapter GPA criteria. (Zingg #3)
  3. The current Greek advisor shall not serve as the alum or staff advisor to any individual chapters. Greek advisors will focus on advising all the councils (Panhellenic, IFC, EGC and Locals, Greek Week, Order of Omega and Gamma). Greek Life staff may advise chapter leaders but may not be the chapter advisors. (Zingg #3)
  4. Each chapter shall have an active alumni board consisting of members who fully support the need for reform and the Terms and Conditions of the President Zingg’s April 12, 2005 address. The Student Activities office will define the structure for each chapter. (Zingg, #4)
  5. Engage the City of Chico in an annual code inspection of all chapter houses to ensure that houses meet fire, safety, and building codes. Chapters with houses must have on file with the Student Activities office, by September 1 each year, copies of the inspection reports. For the 2005-2006 year, the inspection reports must be on file by October 15, 2005. Code violations must be corrected by due dates imposed by City of Chico. (Zingg #6)
  6. Determine the process and criteria for phasing in the requirement that all members of all Chico State student organizations be enrolled at CSU, Chico. (Zingg #7)
  7. Create a viable recruitment plan for every chapter. Students are joining groups for the wrong reasons and sometimes do not realize what they are getting into once they join. The rush process needs to be transformed to a recruitment process. Rush is for one week, recruitment is 24/7/365. (Zingg #8) [Plan in summer 2005 for a workshop in fall 2005; implement in spring 2006.]
  8. Chapters should consider asking their headquarters, or alumni boards for those without headquarters, to conduct an organization review to assist them in identifying those members who should continue, and which chapter practices should change in order to meet the recommendations of this report.
  9. Develop a policy on recruitment that identifies class level (e.g., freshman, sophomore) eligibility and when members of classes can be recruited.
  10. All social Greek organizations must belong to a Greek council, and all councils should meet together on a regular basis to discuss current issues and solve common problems facing the Greek community.
  11. No frills recruitment for sororities. Adopt a new values-based recruitment model. No more songs, dances, and expensive costumes and decorations. A Panhellenic recruitment sub-committee will complete this. [Continue the planning begun in spring 2005. Implement spring 2006.]
  12. To transform rush into recruitment, provide orientation and training to help chapters learn how to do values-based recruitment.
  13. Identify the process to notify social Greek organizations of which members are on academic probation, which members have been academically disqualified from the University, or which members are on disciplinary probation. All social Greek organization members are to sign release forms so the above information can be given to chapter leadership officers and Greek Life advisors.
  14. The University should hire another Greek Life advisor.
  15. Hold chapter membership personally accountable for University rule violations committed by other members of the organization. Sanctions would apply to those who were aware of the alleged behavior in violation of University policy and whose involvement/leadership might reasonably have been expected to intervene to stop the behavior. We will need to consult with General Counsel to determine the legality of this proposal.
  16. Because many members do not know the risk management policies of their own chapters, create a questionnaire and conduct a risk management workshop for chapter leadership facilitated by Student Activities office.

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Tier 2 Recommendations (Completed during 2005-2006)

  1. Identify Greek Alumni or University faculty or staff to provide “chapter” advisement on event planning, organizing, judicial boards, member recruitment, etc. It is essential that these advisors attend chapter meetings to assist with internal operations and chapter development. (Zingg #3)
  2. In order to ensure that philanthropy (raising money) is not confused with service (especially “hands-on” service), each council needs to develop a special sub-committee for service, made up of one service chair from each Greek organization. The subcommittees will be led by an IFC, Panhellenic, EGC, or local officer and advised by the CAVE executive director. The IFC, Panhellenic, EGC, or local service chair will be supported by a CAVE staff and attend CAVE training and project meetings. (Zingg #5)
  3. Provide workshops for new members to orient them into the core values of the Greek system, provisions in the Standards of Excellence program, and expectations of the University and the community of Chico. (Zingg #8)
  4. Alcohol is not allowed before, during, or after recruitment events and activities. Assuming there is no member recruitment in fall 2005, this recommendation will be implemented with the recruitment in spring 2006. (Zingg #9)
  5. Develop a campus and community consortium to provide alternative to alcohol programming on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Consider the “Late Night” program recently presented at the CSU Alcohol conference. Follow up on recent discussions at the President’s Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention Advisory Committee on the same topic.
  6. In consultation with the Academic Senate develop the role of the faculty advisor who advises social Greek organizations. The focus of their role is on academic support, and, at their option, they may also advise the chapter on organization, planning, and events.
  7. Develop the role and structure for a faculty advisors' council and notify Academic Senate.
  8. Develop an orientation/workshop program for faculty advisors.
  9. Develop a process to evaluate faculty advisors. Include criteria for evaluation, what actions cause an evaluation, and who will evaluate advisors.
  10. Develop a Greek Standards of Excellence that includes Chapter Management, Academics, Membership Education and Development, Leadership Development, Philanthropy/Community Service, Housing, and University and Community Relationship. Organizations would receive points based on compliance and documentation submitted in Standards of Excellence Report that would be submitted annually to obtain University recognition. Greek chapters obtaining University recognition would also be recognized at an awards banquet and posted on the Greek Life Web site managed by the Student Activities office. What is known as a “Relationship Agreement” will be incorporated in the Standards of Excellence document. [Due March 15, 2006.]
  11. Rework the current “Call for Values Congruence” into a Relationship Statement as used by other universities to outline the expectations of every social Greek organization, consequences for meeting and not meeting those expectations, and the support provided by the University.
  12. Identify incentives for chapters to want University recognition by providing rewards for such outstanding achievements like highest GPA, service, philanthropy, innovative programs, no/low police calls and/or referrals for policy violations, evidence of outstanding achievement of chapter values, good sportsmanship at intramural events, Greek Week accomplishments, etc. Rewards could include plaques and trophies, including a sweepstakes trophy, involvement with Summer Orientation, access to residence halls, inclusion in marketing materials, paid for publicity in the Orion, monetary rewards, etc.
  13. Consider a Code of Ethics Pledge for all new and continuing members. Hold a ceremony to “induct” pledges into the Greek community at a single annual event. The purpose is to reaffirm University expectations and Greek core values. Include message that the Greeks are part of something bigger than themselves and start all new pledges off with the same message.
  14. Identify ways to include Ethnic Greek groups in meetings to discuss common issues, planning events, and participating in Greek-wide activities.
  15. Before and during recruitment, potential new members must be given all the actual costs involved in joining a social Greek organization.
  16. Require regional/national representatives to visit their chapters annually. Visits to include meetings with Greek advisor, alumni board, and chapter and faculty advisors. A report must be filed with the Greek Life office by the regional/national representative describing the outcome of the visit.
  17. Work with the Associated Students to allocate space in the BMU for a Greek Life office.
  18. Provide leadership training for Greek organization officers before and during their time in office to cover leadership skills, judicial board operations, and risk management. This is necessary because there is a gap in communication, values, and leadership between members and leaders of the Greek organizations. A lack of training and development in transitions of leadership contribute to this problem. [Begin training of officers in fall 2005. Begin workshops for new members in spring 2006.]
  19. Because individual chapters get too many slaps on the wrist and not enough meaningful discipline for violating policies, create a matrix for violations. Repeated violations, or a significant violation, will lead to chapter suspension. [Begin fall 2005, complete by December 15, 2005. Make contacts in June 2005, implement in 2006.]
  20. All discipline of individual students involved in Greek life incidents that also violates University policy should be referred to Student Judicial Affairs. Greek chapter judicial boards should be accountable to Student Judicial Affairs.
  21. Explore the costs of providing financial support for attending Greek conferences.
  22. Explore contracting with a national public relations firm to get the word out at a national level of what kind of school Chico is not.
  23. Explore the feasibility of “adult” supervision in chapter houses.
  24. Work with the City of Chico to develop a city ordinance /code that allows only University recognized Greek organizations to display Greek letters on their houses. Explore the sign ordinance as a way to implement this. Identify which Greek organizations have which kind of a use permit and what the conditions are, if any, of those permits. Post results on the Greek Life Web site.
  25. Continue the task force in 2005-2006 to work with chapters and councils regarding their questions about the recommendations, to refine the recommendations based on what we have learn, and from further advice provided by consultant Dr. Tom Jelke.

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Tier 3 Recommendations (Begin in 2006-2007)

  1. Each chapter must maintain the exterior of their house so it is a positive example in the neighborhood. Explore using Greek chapter houses as the core of or basis for a neighborhood beautification program.
  2. Explore the possibility of identifying an area in each house that would be available for the faculty advisor to use to help the chapter in its pursuit of academic achievement.
  3. There is a lack of interaction between Greek organizations and other student organizations on campus. Develop partnerships in event planning, leadership development, service projects, etc. with other student organizations.
  4. Work with University Advancement to establish funds to support a strong Greek system. Solicit Greek alums to donate for Greek Life advisor salaries, leadership training, and chapter house maintenance and renovation.
  5. Explore models of University-administered Greek housing. Research viability, costs, implications, logistics, staffing, etc.
  6. Change the Greek System Review Task Force to the Greek Life Advisory Board.
  7. See Dr. Jelke’s report for numerous other recommendations that, if implemented, will truly bring a premier social Greek system to California State University, Chico.

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Advantages of a Greek System

There is no dearth of information about the advantages of a Greek system. Dr. Jelke’s report includes the following:

On many campuses, the Greek community provides students with positive developmental experiences, allows them to emerge as leaders, and provides the university with a strong campus life presence. On those campuses, fraternity and sorority members perform academically at a higher rate than the campuswide student average. Also, fraternity and sorority members on most campuses tend to persist and graduate at a rate higher than the average non-member student, and contribute a higher proportion of money and time back to their alma maters as alumni than their non-member peers. At CSU, Chico, there is a core group of students that believes this ideal kind of a Greek community can exist, and they are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make that happen. This core group, with University and community support, could become part of a guiding coalition that creates the substantive cultural change that would be necessary if this ideal Greek community is ever to come about.

The task force identified these positive attributes:

  • Greek organizations provide leadership and character development.
  • As one of the largest groups of student organizations, they have the potential to be leaders of change in the portion of the student culture that is problematic.
  • Greeks know how to work with others and get things done.
  • Some members have turned 180 degrees for the better in their lives.
  • Greek organization can provide support for students and aid in the University’s retention and graduation rates.
  • A majority of members have opportunities for leadership roles.
  • Greeks can organize around local community needs and provide hands on service.
  • They are involved in philanthropy and donate money to deserving causes.
  • Membership promotes development of lifelong bonds of friendship.

The Franklin Square group in their Call for Values Congruence cites the following:

Campuses and headquarters should not passively permit a minority of collegiate Greek chapters to distort the true purpose of fraternities and sororities. College and university presidents have a vested interest in a well-functioning, viable fraternity and sorority community. A thriving Greek community can enhance student learning and leadership, build strong ties between the institution and its future alumni, and develop well-rounded students who value community and citizenship. The ability of higher education and fraternal headquarters to hold Greek communities accountable to their stated values can positively transform the student culture. In addition to eliminating negative behaviors, healthy Greek organizations can support and develop positive student outcomes.

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Conclusions of the Task Force

The task force agrees with Dr. Jelke’s observations that the Greek system is “in disarray,” and with his conclusion that “it is salvageable.”

The task force also agrees with Dr. Jelke’s conclusion that the chapters cannot pull themselves out of this state of “disarray” by themselves and believe, at minimum, that the University must hire another Greek advisor if it wants a Greek system of which it can be proud.

The task force recommends that in order for any chapter to continue to receive recognition as a student organization each Greek social organization must implement the recommendations in this report and be given an opportunity to do so according to the tiered timeline.

Each chapter should submit written evidence to a Standards Review Board and appear before the board to discuss how they have implemented (or will implement where permitted) the recommendations for their chapter prior to University recognition being granted.

All chapters, currently recognized and not under a sanction, should be given a one semester grace period (during fall 2005) of continued recognition in order to implement the task force recommendations.

The task force strongly encourages the University to have Dr. Jelke return early in the fall 2005 semester to assist the campus and the chapters in the implementation of the recommendations. Additionally, it is recommended that he return in spring 2006 to assess the progress that the Greek organizations and the University have made.

Much has been said about the need for the Greek system to transform itself. The University also needs to support the Greek system in order to provide a safe, fulfilling, and productive experience for those students who choose Greek organizations who have embraced the task force recommendations.

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Appendices

Appendix A: President Zingg’s 2/20 address to the Greek Community (pdf)
Appendix B: Police Reports
Chico Police Department - Selected Crime Statistics (pdf)
Chico Police Department - Calls For Service Statistics (pdf)
University Police Department - Alcohol Related Crimes (xls)
Appendix C: President Zingg’s 4/12 address to the Greek Community (pdf)
Appendix D: Dr. Tom Jelke’s Resume (pdf)
Appendix E: Dr. Tom Jelke’s Final Report on the Greek System at Chico (pdf)
Appendix F: Dr. Tom Jelke’s Schedule of Meetings
Appendix G: Listing of Social Greek Chapters at CSU, Chico
Greek Membership Numbers
Appendix H: Greek Chapter GPA's
Appendix I: Planning Worksheets from Task Force Work Groups

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Student Affairs Resources