California Appellate Court Breaks New Ground in Fraternity Litigation

OVERVIEW In California, no state appellate court had considered the issues of duty of care and vicarious liability in the fraternity context until the Court of Appeal of California issued its opinion in Barenborg v. Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity in...
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Good News and Not So Good News in the Challenge to USC's Deferred Recruitment Policy

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On May 1st, the Court of Appeal for the State of California, Second Appellate District, announced its decision1 in the lawsuit challenging the University of Southern California’s deferred recruitment policy. That lawsuit, which was originally...
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Hang ‘em all…it is easier than figuring out who is guilty.

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com As reported in the March 2019 issue of Fraternal Law, the zoning ordinance of the City of Bloomington, Indiana, was found to violate both the Indiana and U.S. Constitutions  because of the manner in which...
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Update: Court Agrees with DOJ, Rules Against the University of Iowa

Ilana Linder, Manley Burke LPA, ilana.linder@manleyburke.com In the January 2019 Newsletter, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) intervention in a case against the University of Iowa was high- lighted. Specifically, the DOJ took the position that the University had engaged in...
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Lawsuit Filed Against Yale is An Attack on Greek Organizations

Tim Burke, Manley Burke LPA, tburke@manleyburke.com On February 12, 2019, three female students at Yale filed suit against the University and nine fraternity chapters, their international organizations, and their house corporations in the United States District Court in Connecticut. The...
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Navigating Louisiana's Max Gruver Act

Arthur F. Hodge III, Mee Mee Hodge & Epperson, LLP, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Enacted in 2018, Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 14:40.8 addresses “Criminal hazing.” It provides certain penalties if persons and/or organizations covered by the statute “knew and failed to...
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Bloomington Ordinance Found Unconstitutional

Gary Founds and Mike Allen, Mallor Grodner, LLP, gfounds@lawmg.com An increasing number of municipalities across the country are using zoning ordinances to give universities the right to determine whether a given fraternity or sorority may occupy privately-owned property.  Typically, zoning...
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Are Mandatory Study Tables Considered Hazing?

Ilana Linder, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com A federal Complaint was recently filed by Sigma Lambda Upsilon (SLU) against the University of Virginia (UVA) that begs the question of whether requiring pledges to study at least twenty-five (25) hours per week constitutes...
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Who is Discriminating Against Whom?

Ilana Linder, Manley Burke, ilinder@manleyburke.com Over a year ago, a small student group that was deregistered by its university filed a lawsuit against the school. Just last month, the U.S. Department of Justice intervened, filing a brief in support of...
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Two Lawsuits Filed Against Harvard

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On December 3, 2018, two separate lawsuits, one in federal court and one in state court, were filed against Harvard by several Fraternities and Sororities. The suits challenge Harvard’s controversial decision to penalize students who...
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K-12 Case with Potential Future Implications for Greek Groups

Ilana Linder, Manley Burke, ilinder@manleyburke.com Although it is uncommon for Fraternal Law, or higher education law more generally, to intersect with K-12 education law, there are some interesting takeaways that can be gleaned from public school cases. One such example...
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Court Finds for Alpha Chi Rho in Zoning Challenge

Tim Lynch (Fraternal Law) and Jeffrey Rosario, ESQ, (Office of Jeffrey Rosario Turco) Fraternal Law previously reported on a Pennsylvania state case involving the Penn State fraternity chapter of Alpha Chi Rho (AXP) and the State College Borough Zoning Appeals...
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USC Deferred Recruitment Case Now in Court of Appeals

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The constitutionality of the ability of public universities to require deferred rush has long been discussed but not yet tested in court. That is, until now. But that test has been brought against the University...
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"Penn State Fraternity Houses Should 'at the very least' Continue to be Used by Students

Tim Lynch, Manley Burke That’s a quote from Daniel Lee, the vice president for communications of the Penn State Interfraternity Council. His opinion comes in light of the growing number of empty fraternity houses in State College, a result of...
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Michigan Fraternities Sever Ties With University

Sean Callan, Manley Burke, sean.callan@manleyburke.com Michigan passed an ordinance amending elements of the Ann Arbor zoning code that specifically impact fraternity and sorority chapter houses. Of particular concern, the changes tie zoning compliance to the resident fraternity or sorority maintaining...
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Update on USC Deferred Recruitment Case

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The June 2018 issue of Fraternal Law reported that five of the Greek Chapters at the University of Southern California filed suit in state court challenging the University’s imposition of deferred recruitment. The lawsuit relied...
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No More Women's Groups at Harvard

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com It appears that Harvard University has achieved part of its goal in eliminating singlesex organizations composed of Harvard students. Ironically, an effort which began as a crusade against sexual assaults alleged at men’s finals clubs...
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Two High Courts Address "special duty" to Students

The Supreme Courts of two states earlier this year each addressed the issue of a college’s “special duty” to protect its students.   The Regents of the University of California, et. al. vs. the Superior Court of Los Angeles County,...
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New Lawsuit Challenges Deferred Recruitment at USC

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On June 22nd the chapters of Kappa Alpha Theta, Sigma Chi, Beta Theta Pi, Theta Xi and Tau Kappa Alpha at the University of Southern California (USC) filed suit against the University.1  The suit seeks...
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Another System-wide Suspension

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Recently, more than two dozen colleges and universities, both state and private schools, have imposed system-wide suspensions on their fraternities and sororities.  Some of those suspensions have been imposed following tragic deaths that never should...
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Two New Federal Court Decisions of Interest

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Cases involving allegations of sexual assault, the rights of those accused, and who is liable for the wrongdoers conduct continue to pile up. Two federal district court cases are among the latest examples.  One in...
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The Latest From Harvard

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On March 1st, the Harvard Crimson1 reported that Harvard College’s Administrative Board will enforce the College’s single gender social policy and the penalties to be imposed under it.  According to the article, the sanctions to...
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Losing University Recognition Could Mean Losing Your House

Tim Lynch, Manley Burke When a university strips a fraternity of its recognition status and right to be on campus, problems for the fraternity do not always end there. The fraternity’s house can also be shut down by the municipality....
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House Considers Higher Education Re-authorization

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On December 13, 2017, the United States House of Representatives Education and the Work Force Committee reported out on a party line vote H.R. 4508, the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform...
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DKE Wins Right to Return to its House at Wesleyan and its Attorney's Fees

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com In 2014, Wesleyan University in Middleton, Connecticut adopted a policy requiring all residential fraternities to become coed.  That policy triggered a long dispute which remains in litigation.  However, it is the University now on the...
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Alpha Phi Delta Files Lawsuit Against Baruch College

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com This week, the Alpha Phi Delta Fraternity, its Gamma Rho Chapter, and 12 of its current or former members filed suit against Baruch College, a public school in the City University of New York system.1 ...
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Harvard Will Enforce Bans on Scholarships and Leadership Positions

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Whatever hope may have existed that Harvard would rethink its penalties for membership in single-sex organizations were dashed on Monday, December 4th when the 13 members that compose the Harvard Corporation, the governing Board for...
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Association of Fraternity Advisors on Non-Binary Issue

The Association of Fraternity Advisors has a monthly e-publication called Essentials.  The theme of the November 2017 edition is “Supporting Trans/Non-Binary Students” and features articles entitled “Our Non-Binary Voices on Binary Realities & Changing Future,” “Beyond the Binary, From Sisterhood...
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Non-binary Gender in a Binary System

Sean Callan, Manley Burke, sean.callan@manleyburke.com Leaders of Greek letter organizations continue to grapple with the question of what it means to be a single-sex organization.  Specifically, what does “single-sex” mean in a world in which people identify and express themselves...
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Even the Unpopular Have Associational Rights

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com In the late 1960s, campuses across the country were tense places.  The free speech movement had grown from the steps of Sproul Hall at Berkeley into protests against the war in Southeast Asia on virtually...
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OSU Suspends All IFC Activity

Ohio State University is the latest example of fraternal activities being suspended on a campus in reaction to misconduct.  On November 16th, OSU’s Director of Sorority and Fraternity Life suspended “all social, recruitment and new member activities for Interfraternity Council...
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Pi Beta Phi President Describes Threats to the Greek World

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com At this summer’s Convention, Pi Beta Phi completed its celebration of its first 150 years.  As a part of the State of the Fraternity presentation, the presidents of Pi Beta Phi Foundation, Pi Beta Phi’s...
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Penn State: New Measures Hope for a New Beginning

Amy Hebbeler, Manley Burke, amy.hebbeler@manleyburke.com The wait of the Greek nation is over as Penn State students start back to classes and the comprehensive measures regarding Greek life at the University have been put into place. On August 21st the...
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Darmouth College and the Town of Hanover, NH, A Dystopian Partnership

Sean Callan, Manley Burke, sean.callan@manleyburke.com At a recent administrative zoning hearing, Dartmouth Assistant General Counsel Kevin O’Leary testified that Dartmouth College may de-recognize any organization for any reason or no reason. “…we are entitled through whatever process we want to...
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Harvard Controversy is not Over

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Recent Harvard Crimson articles make it clear that there remains significant uncertainty over what Harvard’s final position will be regarding single sex organizations. An August 16, 2017 article (“Social Group Ban Recommendation Could be Revised...
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18 Students Expelled for Membership in Underground Group

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On August 28th, American University announced the dismissal of 18 students and the discipline of one other as a result of their involvement with an underground rogue local group known as Epsilon Iota (EI). Until...
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Who Will Govern? University Reactions to Fraternity Tragedies

Amy Hebbeler, Manley Burke, amy.hebbeler@manleyburke.com On the heels of the tragic death of Timothy Piazza at Penn State, a lawsuit has been filed in the wake of another tragic death of a Fraternity pledge following a night of hazing and...
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Congressional Hazing Bill Has Greek Support

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On June 16th, Republican Congressman Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania, and Democratic Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio, introduced the Report and Educate about Campus Hazing (REACH) Act in the United States Congress.  If adopted, the bill...
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University of Oregon Policy puts Control of Reporting Sexual Assault in Hands of Survivors

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Fraternal leaders and, on more than a few occasions, university faculty members, have raised serious questions when some universities have attempted to expand the definition of mandatory reporters under the Violence Against Women Act, or...
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Jury Awards Major Victory to DKE at Wesleyan University

Micah Kamrass & Tim Lynch, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com Introduction: With Harvard’s recent attempts to punish students who join single-sex organizations, there have been significant discussions recently about the opportunities that exist for fraternities and sororities to challenge these types of...
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Penn State President Imposes New Rules for Greek Life

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com Following the tragic death of Tim Piazza, Penn State University President Eric Barron authored an open letter to the campus community on April 10, 2017. In this letter, President Barron announced a series of new...
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Zoning Issues for Closed Greek Houses

Sean Callan, Manley Burke, sean.callan@manleyburke.com Recent events leave the future of the Greek system at Penn State University uncertain at best.  Penn State President Dr. Eric Barron recently wrote as follows: In the past, Greek life had a powerful positive...
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Minneapolis Proposed Zoning Changes to Embrace Greek Growth

Amy Hebbeler, Manley Burke, amy.hebbeler@manleyburke.com In light of some cities making it more difficult for fraternities and sororities to have fraternity houses, especially after the fraternity or sorority has lost recognition by a college or university, one city has made...
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More Uncertainty for Transgender Rights

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The issue of transgender rights has been a rapidly evolving one.  As Fraternal Law was preparing to go to press, the United States Supreme Court, on March 6th, changed things again.  The Gloucester County School...
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A Glimmer of Hope

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On March 12, 2017, reprising the role of Special Counsel to the US Army, Joseph Welsh, whose retort "have you left no sense of decency?" helped bring an end to the McCarthy era, Harvard Professor...
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Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Member of...?

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com “Are you now or have you ever been a member of ... ?" Those words, more than half century ago, were heard at the height of the McCarthy era from members of Congress questioning witnesses...
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University Expulsions Spanning For Decades or More

Amy Hebbeler, Manley Burke, amy.hebbeler@manleyburke.com It is not unusual for universities to ban fraternity and sorority chapters from campus for a period of years when there are violations and misconduct. However, there has been a small, but recent trend of...
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Zoning Issues for Housed Groups Without Recognition

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Zoning has become another potential problem for fraternity houses whose chapters do not have recognition by the college or university where they are located. On April 20, 2015, the Alpha Delta Chapter of Dartmouth College...
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Elections Have Consequences for Fraternal Law Too

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkmrass@manleyburke.com Like all other fields of law, fraternal law is highly dependent on our government decision makers. Congress passes laws, which are then enforced by the President and the Presidential appointees in the Executive Branch. Ultimately,...
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You Just Got a Charge Letter From The University: Now What?

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com As the 2015–2016 school year winds to a close, our team here at Manley Burke wanted to share some strategies that we have found successful when a fraternity or sorority chapter is wrongfully accused of...
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Harvard Ignores Title IX Exemption

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Harvard University’s final report of its Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Assault, March 7, 2016, begins “Sexual Assault exacts a profoundly negative personal and academic toll on those students who experience it.”  Who...
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Georgia Tech Reverses Suspension of Phi Delta Theta

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Last month, the President of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) lifted a “suspension held in abeyance until August 9, 2016” that had been imposed on the Phi Delta Theta Chapter on campus, after...
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Texas Campus Carry and Greek Organizations

Jim Ewbank, Attorney at Cokinos, Bosien & Young in Austin, Texas (Jim frequently represents fraternal organizations in litigation) On August 1, 2016, every public university in the State of Texas will be required to allow persons who hold a concealed...
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Liability of Members of Unincorporated Associations

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com In September of 2015 a Connecticut trial judge issued a decision1 which discussed at length the responsibility of individual members of a chapter for injuries to third parties caused by other members of a chapter. ...
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Therapy Animals Coming to a Dorm Room Near You

Tim Burke & Kathleen Farro Ryan, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com & kryan@manleyburke.com On January 4, 2016, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio announced the settlement of a lawsuit against Kent State University.1  The suit challenged the University’s...
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Drug Testing for Alabama Football Fraternities

Sean Callan, Manley Burke, sean.callan@manleyburke.com Without attracting attention, the University of Alabama created and implemented a mandatory drug testing program aimed directly at fraternity members.  According to recent published reports,1 UA now requires drug testing of members of multiple Greek...
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Fraternity Marches to End Violence

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com Over the last few months, college campuses have experienced a rebirth of a student activism. Students and student groups have organized demonstrations geared toward creating substantive changes at their schools. Most notoriously, the University of...
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Recent Developments with Campus Security Authorities

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The Clery Act, which has now been in place for some 25 years, requires colleges and universities to track the incidents of certain crimes on and near campuses.  It also requires that that data be...
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Are Schools Abusing Interim Suspensions?

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com Lately, we at Fraternal Law Partners have noticed a troubling trend.  Public colleges and universities seem increasingly willing to impose interim suspensions on fraternities and sororities without providing any justification or a timeframe for an...
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Trinity College Abandons Co-Ed Mandate

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On September 4, 2015, Joanne Berger-Sweeney, the President of Trinity College, announced that the college was abandoning its requirement that all fraternities and sororities on campus must be co-ed by the Fall Semester of the...
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University Panel Finds Fraternity Not Responsible for a Video of a Member Chanting "Rape"

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com On August 14, 2015, the University of Central Florida suspended the Sigma Nu Fraternity chapter on its campus. The suspension resulted from a complaint with the Student Conduct Office. The complaint references a video where...
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Sorority Ends Recognition of Chapter House Following a Dispute With the House Corporation

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com Alpha Omicron Pi recently announced that it would no longer recognize the chapter house at the University of California at Berkeley.  The sorority said it would remove letters from the house, discontinue insurance for the...
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What About the 8,200 Good Chapters?

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Bloomberg Business1 recently reported that in the past spring semester, 133 fraternity or sorority chapters at 55 U.S. colleges were shut down, suspended or otherwise punished for various infractions.  While the article, published on June...
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Acceptance of Transgender Students Grows in Women's College and University

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com With the announcement by its Board of Trustees on June 4, Barnard College became the last of the Seven Sisters’ Colleges to announce its willingness to consider for admission transgender applicants who may have been...
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New Texas Concealed Weapons Law Leaves More Questions Than Answers

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com When the 2016-2017 school year begins, some public university students in the state of Texas will be permitted to bring concealed handguns into campus buildings. The new Texas law, which recently passed through the legislature...
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Private College Police are Frequently Public Law Enforcement Officers

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Around the country many colleges and Universities have their own on-campus police departments whose members are police officers, not simply security guards.   Frequently, the officers in those departments have the same law enforcement authority as...
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Records of Private College Police are Public Records

John Greiner & Benjamin Greiner In State ex rel. Schiffbauer v. Banaszak, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that police officers employed by private colleges are subject to the Ohio Public Records Act. Therefore, the department can be compelled to produce...
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DKE Sues Wesleyan

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, announced in the fall of 2014 that within three years, its residential fraternities must become fully co-educational.  Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) presented plans to the University to include women in...
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Recent Developments: The Impact of Student Conduct Policies on Greek Letter Organizations and Members

Stephen Bernstein Almost every university publishes a code of conduct which it expects students to follow as a condition of enrollment.  While these codes vary, common elements include expectations for student behavior, including conduct which may result in various degrees...
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In Boston, City Officials Use a New Tool to Regulate Fraternities

Steve Baker, Chair of the Association of Independent Living Groups at MIT, Inc. (the MIT Greek Alumni Conference), Past National President, Theta Xi Fraternity As has been widely reported, fraternity and sorority systems on many college campuses across the country...
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UVA: A Clear Case for Due Process

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com During this school year, a troubling trend has expanded. At numerous schools across the country, both public and private, when an incident involving isolated segments of the Greek community occurred or was alleged to occur,...
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Is Shutting Down Greek Systems the Answer?

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The recent Rolling Stone article “A Rape on Campus:  A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA” begins with a detailed description of an ugly gang rape in the upper floor of a fraternity...
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A Note Regarding "Implementing a Transgender Membership Policy"

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The article by Stevie Tran and Nathan Arrowsmith offers a valuable perspective on the transgender issue.  While it accurately reflects the fact that this is a rapidly developing area of the law, there remains substantial...
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Implementing a Transgender Membership Policy

Stevie Tran Awareness of the transgender identity is rapidly growing, and just as quickly, colleges and universities, among other institutions, are enacting transgender protections. Fraternal organizations, too, may be considering creating a policy to address the issue of transgender membership....
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Gallup Survey Notes Positive of Greek Membership

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Earlier this year, a Gallup study of more than 30,000 college graduates across the United States found “that those who were members of fraternities or sororities are more likely to be ‘thriving’ in their well-being...
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Oregon Committee Recommends Suspending Expansion

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com A task force at the University of Oregon formed to review campus sexual assault policies issued a report urging the administration to “immediately suspend plans to expand fraternity and sorority life.” The Twenty Students Per...
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The Beginning of a New Era for the Fraternity Membership

Thomas Dement III In January of this year, the Supreme Council of Sigma Alpha Epsilon met in Tucson, Arizona, for one of its quarterly face-to-face meetings.  During that meeting, the members of the Council discussed ways of dealing with the...
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Deaths, Assaults, and Injuries Lead to Campus-Wide Bans on Greek Life

Daniel McCarthy & Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com In just the last few months, a number of universities have experienced terrible tragedies on their campuses. Many of these schools, both public and private, have responded by indefinitely banning some or...
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Family Considers Suing Fraternity After Plane Crash

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com On August 25, 2014, a small plane carrying four Case Western Reserve University students crashed shortly after taking off in Cleveland Ohio. All four passengers, including two members of Zeta Beta Tau were killed in...
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California Court Dismisses Berkeley Resident's Class-Action Claims Against Neighboring Fraternities But Allows Case to Move Forward as a "Representative Action" Under Berkeley's Municipal Code

Michael C. Osborne A California trial court has recently again granted a dismissal of the class-action claims asserted by plaintiff Paul Ghysels against almost every fraternity located near the University of California at Berkeley.  Just one week before the 4-year...
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Greeks Continue to Receive Poor National Press

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com National press for the Greek world has not been good the last few months.  A series of Bloomberg articles highly critical of fraternities and the record of hazing and alcohol-related deaths culminated in a January...
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NPC Chair: "Let Our Voices Be Heard"

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Far too often the important roles that women’s fraternities and sororities have played in securing and protecting the rights of women are forgotten or overlooked.  In recognition of the fact that March is Women’s History...
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Memo to Board Members: There are times when we must close—not continue with “conditions”—chapters

Dave Westol Fiduciary duty: The duty owed to a non-profit association, by its directors, to exercise reasonable care, prudence, good faith and loyalty to the best interests of the association. Black’s Law Dictionary provides an additional definition to “Fiduciary” as...
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History Made at Alabama

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Sigma Delta Tau has made history with the election of Hannah Christine Patterson, as the first black president of a Panhellenic Sorority at the University of Alabama.  The November 14, 2013 issue of the Crimson...
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North Carolina Law Removes University Recognition From Zoning Considerations

Micah Kamrass, Manley Burke, mkamrass@manleyburke.com Earlier this year, the North Carolina general assembly passed a law that deals with a particular issue pertaining to the zoning of fraternity and sorority houses. This new state law was passed as a much...
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Who Owns the Sorority House?

James Harvey Alpha Omicron Pi (AOΠ) is an international women’s fraternity founded in 1897.  AOΠ’s Tau chapter has existed at the University of Minnesota since 1912.  As early as 1921, the local alumnae organized a Minnesota corporation to provide housing...
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A Side Note On "Transgender Membership and Title IX"

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The issue of transgender rights is receiving increasing attention.  The October 2013 ABA Journal carries an article focusing on the rights of transgender children and how local school districts are dealing with the issue.  As...
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Discrimination Concerns at the University of Alabama

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com When the fall 2013 new member recruitment period at the University of Alabama failed to result in any new member offers being made to African American women who had expressed an interest, it made national...
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Judge Disregards Jury's Findings and Enters Judgment Against Kappa Alpha Order

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke As reported in the May issue of Fraternal Law, Kappa Alpha Order and other plaintiffs, including the Alumni Receivership Committee for the Omicron Chapter of Kappa Alpha Order, sued UT Texas Omicron, Inc., and other defendants,...
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Paddletramps Appeals to Supreme Court

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The Paddletramps litigation (Fraternal Law - 9/12, 1/13 and 3/13), which upheld the ability of fraternities and sororities to enforce their trademark rights against vendors who decline to enter into licensing agreements, may not be...
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No Greek Letters Allowed on One Public Campus

Greg Lukianoff A student group at a public university in Utah has been told that it may not use Greek letters in its name. Why? Because the university believes that Greek letters will give the public the impression that it...
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Updates on Chico State and UCF Campus-Wide Suspensions

Daniel McCarthy As reported in January (Chico State) and the March (UCF) issues of Fraternal Law, two public schools recently took the dramatic step of suspending near­ly all Greek activities on their respective campuses. Now that the Spring semester has...
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Kappa Alpha Order Prevails Against Break Away Group

Jim Ewbank In July 2001, most of the members of the Omicron Chapter of Kappa Alpha Order at the University of Texas (while under suspension and on involuntary alumni sta­tus) voted to break away from KAO National and form a...
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Berkeley Nuisance Case Affirmed and Reversed in Part

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke As reported in the January and March 2010 issues of Fraternal Law, Paul Ghysels, a resident of the South of Campus neighborhood in Berkeley, California that is also home to nearly 35 fraternity and sorority chapter...
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Court Dismisses Phi Kappa Tau's Suit Against Miami University

Jacklyn Olinger, Manley Burke, jacklyn.olinger@manleyburke.com On February 4th, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio dismissed Phi Kappa Tau's complaint against Miami University. The case stemmed from an incident that occurred in August, 2012 in­volving a...
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UCF Suspends Greek Life Activities

Dan McCarthy, Manley Burke In February, the University of Central Florida ("UCF") unilaterally suspended all Greek Life social, new member education and initiation activities "in order to work with fraternity and sorority chapters on com­prehensively addressing alcohol and hazing activities."...
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Ethical Issues for Attorneys to Fraternal Organizations: Legal Representation and Board Service

Dianne Chipps Bailey, Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson Many attorneys donate their time and professional services to fraternal organizations.  Some serve their fraternity or sorority by providing pro bono legal services; others serve as members of governing bodies of fraternal organizations...
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Chico State Suspends All Greek Organizations

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com In the last decade, California State University at Chico has experienced four deaths related to fraternities on its campus.  The first three were hazing related.  The most recent, the death of Mason Sumnicht, occurred in...
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Alabama Suspends All Pledging

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke According to a statement from the University of Alabama, due to numerous calls to the University’s hazing hotline, the University “has ended all IFC pledgeship activities as of 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18.”  At a...
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CORRECTION

The September issue of Fraternal Law reported that Penn State was advising fraternity and sorority chapter advisors that they were responsible under the Clery Act for reporting certain crimes.  The article observed that volunteer chapter advisors did not appear to...
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PENN STATE FALLOUT

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The fallout from the Penn State scandal is not over and it is not limited to the University, its officials and the victims. Penn State’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life is now training Fraternity...
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Vanderbilt, “All-Comers” Policy And its Implications for Greek Organizations

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On January 11, 2012, the United States Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, recognized “the interest of religious groups in choosing who will preach their beliefs, teach their faith and carry out their mission,” and...
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Is a Greek Council A State Actor?

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com A recent decision by the Greek Council at Montclair State University in New Jersey may well lead to litigation.  For two years, Alpha Sigma Phi had been working to develop a chapter at Montclair State. ...
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Ninth Circuit Upholds SDSU’s Nondiscrimination Policy

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke In a decision dated August 2, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld San Diego State University’s nondiscrimination policy that prohibited membership restrictions on certain specified bases.1  This case differs from...
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To Survive, Fraternities Need to Stand for Something, Anything

Greg Lukianoff In my post entitled “Fraternities: Disastruous for Free Speech on Campus” (available on huffingtonpost.com), I talked about how Delta Kappa Epsilon's decision not to fight its suspension at Yale University could have serious ramifications for the free speech...
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ELEVENTH CIRCUIT: NO DUTY TO PROTECT MEMBERS FROM CRIMINAL ACTS OF THIRD PARTIES

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Richard Wilder attended a party at the Theta Chapter of Sigma Nu in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Toward the end of the evening, two individuals who were not members of the Chapter, nor invited to attend the...
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Fatal Shooting at Youngstown State Fraternity

Daniel McCarthy In the early morning hours on Sunday, February 6, Jamail E. Johnson was fatally shot at the Omega Psi Phi fraternity house near the campus of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio.  Mr. Johnson was a 25-year-old senior,...
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“All-Inclusive” Sorority Recognized At Purdue

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke Gamma Rho Lambda recently received official Panhellenic sanctioning at Purdue University.  The sorority’s website describes the organization thusly, “Gamma Rho Lambda (GRL) National Sorority is often referred to as a lesbian sorority, however GRL strives to...
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CHRONIC NUISANCE PREMISES

Julia Carney Communities throughout the country are adopting chronic nuisance laws that impose fines or even criminal penalties on property owners for nuisance activities occurring on the premises.  The purpose of these laws is to reduce the number of police...
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NORTHWESTERN MANDATES ADA COMPLIANCE

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Fraternities and sororities at Northwestern University are experiencing the complexities of operating out of houses owned by the University.  There are 29 Greek houses on Northwestern’s campus.  The University is pushing those organizations which occupy...
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PURDUE WITHDRAWS RECOGNITION OF FRATERNITY

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Recent news reports indicate Purdue University is stepping up actions against those fraternity chapters who encourage or require underage drinking by their members. In November, the Phi Kappa Theta Chapter, which was already on probation,...
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SEARCH HELD UNREASONABLE

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts recently upheld the rights of students in their dormitory room to be free from unauthorized searches by law enforcement personnel. Responding to the report of weapons being seen in...
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UPDATE ON CLS V. MARTINEZ

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The Christian Legal Society case which earlier resulted in a 5 to 4 decision by the United States Supreme Court1,  upholding the denial of recognition to CLS by Hastings College of Law was returned to...
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EDITOR’S NOTE

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Tim Burke, who recently directed a webinar on CLS v. Martinez for the Center for Excellence and Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law, offers these comments: Among other reasons the...
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UPDATE ON BERKELEY ZONING CASE

Jim Ewbank After the temporary restraining order was denied, the Plaintiffs began serving summons on the Chapters and House Corporations.  As of February 15, 2010, less than ½ have been properly served. Jim Ewbank of Ewbank & Byrom, P.C. in...
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FRATERNITY AND SORORITY COALITION ASSESSMENT PROJECT

Eric Freeman, North-American Interfraternity Conference, Inc. & Arthur F. Hoge III, Mee Mee Hoge & Epperson PLLP The Greek trade associations that developed the Fraternity and Sorority Coalition Assessment Project created a process that reviews the overall health of a fraternity/sorority...
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NOT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD! Zoning Issues Continue to Impact Greek Chapter Houses

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke Kicked over garbage cans.  Public urination.  Stolen street signs.  Those are just three of the many problems residents in State College, Pennsylvania complained about in a recent edition of the National Public Radio show “This American...
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HOST SCHOOLS CONTRACTUAL LIABILITY RISK TRANSFER: A RISK MANAGEMENT TIME BOMB OR FREE INSURANCE!

James Favor, CRM, CIC, James R. Favor & Company LLC Like a time bomb, unknown adverse contractual liability risk transfer exposures represent an increasing and very significant cost exposure for fraternities and sororities.  Contracts and risk transfer are daily issues...
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ZONING COMPLAINT AT UC-BERKELEY

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On October 28, 2009, representatives of some 30 recognized fraternities at the University of California Berkeley were notified by the Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life that the Berkeley City Manager had received letters from...
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COURT UPHOLDS DAMAGE AWARD AGAINST UNIVERSITY OF IOWA

James Harvey The Iowa Supreme Court recently upheld an unprecedented award of damages against the University of Iowa and one of its top officials in favor of the former local chapter of Phi Delta Theta.1  The ruling brings to an...
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PENN STATE SUES TO PURCHASE FORMER PHI DELTA THETA CHAPTER HOUSE

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke On November 25, 2008, Penn State sued the former Pennsylvania Theta Chapter of the Phi Delta Fraternity and its current house corporation, 240 North Burrowes Road Alumni Association, in the Court of Common Pleas of Centre...
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ARGUMENT HELD IN U. OF FLORIDA CHRISTIAN FRATERNITY APPEAL

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held oral argument on December 10th in Beta Upsilon Chi v. Machen.1  The case involves whether the University of Florida must recognize the Christian fraternity as an official student...
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JUICYCAMPUS.COM CREATES QUESTIONS, AND HEADACHES

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke A relatively new website is generating increasing concerns on campuses across the country.  Juicycampus.com, officially launched on October 24, 2007, states that its seemingly harmless “simple mission” is “enabling online anonymous free speech on college campuses. ...
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GENDER THEN AND GENDER NOW: WHAT HAPPENS IF

David Westol It is not a topic that is often discussed at conferences or interfraternal gatherings.  Yet, most chief executive officers and executive directors of men’s national fraternities have encountered the situation in which an alumnus has written a letter...
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COLLEGE PRESIDENTS SEEK TO REDUCE THE DRINKING AGE

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Whether or not the now-universally mandated 21-year-old drinking age is helpful or harmful in dealing with alcohol abuse among college students is the focus of the Amethyst Initiative launched this summer by John McCardell, the...
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PIKE CHAPTER AT UF REINSTATED FOLLOWING SUCCESSFUL APPEAL

Daniel McCarthy The Alpha Eta Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha recently won an appeal against the University of Florida in the District Court of Appeals in Florida.  The University suspended the chapter in 2007 after the University conducted an investigation...
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PIKE CHAPTER AT UF REINSTATED FOLLOWING SUCCESSFUL APPEAL

Adam Eckstein The Higher Education Opportunity Act, signed into law August 14, 2008, created new fire safety reporting rules that require schools to report annually to the Secretary of the Department of Education and to the campus community.  This language...
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SAE PREVAILS AGAINST COLLEGE ADMINISTRATOR

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke David Fiacco, in his role as the Director of the Office of Community Standards, Rights and Responsibilities oversaw the student discipline process at the University of Maine at Orono (“UMO”).  In 2002, Fiacco’s office started an...
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DECISION UPHOLDS RIGHT TO PRIVACY IN DORM ROOM

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com A court of appeals in the State of Washington recently issued a decision1 which bodes well for the ability of students living in a fraternity house to protect their privacy while in the house. A...
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DOCUMENTS GIVEN TO A SCHOOL MAY BECOME PUBLIC RECORDS

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com At many universities, certain records are shared between the university and fraternities and sororities.  Universities may provide certain student names and contact information to aide in student recruitment.  At times, universities may provide information regarding...
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MEDICAL AMNESTY – GOOD SAMARITAN PROGRAMS

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com This past spring, Beth Speidel, a 19-year-old sophomore at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, was killed at 3:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, when she was hit by a train while walking across the railroad...
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JOHNSON & WALES U. PREVAILS IN LITIGATION INVOLVING THE CLERY ACT; EASTERN MICHIGAN U. FINED $357,500 FOR CLERY ACT VIOLATONS

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke Two recent cases highlight the importance of the Clery Act on college administrators.  First, in December, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled in favor of Johnson & Wales University in a...
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SIGMA CHI SEEKS PROTECTION AGAINST DICKINSON COLLEGE

Dan McCarthy, Manley Burke The Omicron Chapter of Sigma Chi recently sued Dickinson College seeking the ability to exist as an off-campus organization comprised of Dickinson students.1  Dickinson, a private college, removed Sigma Chi’s official recognition in 2004.  The removal...
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STATE COLLEGE MOVES TO CLOSE TWO FRATERNITY HOUSES

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Two fraternities at Penn State, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Phi Kappa Tau, face the prospect of losing the right to occupy their fraternity houses for six months due to violations of the Borough of State...
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CONGRESS CONSIDERS FRATERNITY ISSUES

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The Capital Fraternal Caucus, according to its web site, www.fraternalcaucus.org, is made up of Greek men and women in the Washington D.C. area with expertise in the public policy process.  The goals of the Caucus...
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WHY GREEK LIFE?: ANSWERING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS

Dawn Watkins, Ph.D., Dean of Student Affairs, Washington and Lee University As the new school year begins, college and university administrators plan diligently for orientation sessions to welcome new students to our campuses.  Along with new students, we often face...
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CHRISTIAN FRATERNITY’S LAWSUIT IS DISMISSED AFTER REGAINING OFFICIAL RECOGNITION

Brian Wais, Manley Burke* A lawsuit brought by Alpha Iota Omega in the United States District Court against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been dismissed.1  As previously reported in Fraternal Law, AIO, a Christian fraternity, filed...
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GREEK LIFE: A RICH FIELD FOR EVANGELIZATION

Rev. J. Friedel, Director of Campus Ministry, Southeast Missouri State University “The eye of faith discerns campus ministry where commitment to Christ and care for the academic world meet in purposeful activity to serve and realize the Kingdom of God.” ...
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EDITOR’S NOTE ON A MINISTER’S VIEW OF FRATERNITIES

The following is an article that appeared in the December 2005 - January 2006 issue of Crossroads, a publication of the Catholic Campus Ministry Association.  The article is reprinted here with permission for two reasons.  First, in contrast to usually...
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LOCAL SORORITY SUES CHICO STATE UNIVERSITY

Dan McCarthy, Manley Burke Alpha Chi, a local sorority at California State University, Chico, filed a lawsuit1 in January against the University in state court alleging multiple civil rights violations.  Alpha Chi, the oldest sorority at Chico State, was recently...
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PRINCETON CRITICAL OF FRATERNITIES, BUT RECOGNIZES RIGHT TO JOIN

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com “I pledge myself, without any mental reservation, that I will have no connection whatever, with any secret society in this institution as long as I am a member of the Princeton University; it being understood...
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AEPi AND UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE REACH AGREEMENT

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Alpha Epsilon Pi had a chapter at the University of Delaware, dating back to 1925.  In the late 90's a series of disciplinary problems resulted in the University withdrawing recognition from the Chapter and National...
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MUSLIM SORORITY

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com National Public Radio recently reported on the efforts to develop the first Muslim Sorority.  According to the December 13, 2005 newscast, Gamma Gamma Pi has groups of Muslim students organizing at both the University of...
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U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT ATTACKS GREEKS

Robert Manley, Manley Burke The November 28, 2005, issue of U.S. News & World Report carries on its march away from news reporting into feature writing with a two-page spread on the evils of the Greek system at Colgate called,...
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COLGATE CONQUERS GREEKS; SOME GREEKS, LIKE SPARTANS, FIGHT TO THE END

Robert Manley,  Manley Burke The message from Colgate was clear: It is a goal to improve residential life; To fulfill this goal, it is necessary for Colgate to own and operate the fraternity houses; Fraternities that do not sell their...
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CAN A COLLEGE BE LIABLE FOR SUICIDE?

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Elizabeth Shin was a troubled young Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) student.  She suffered from repeated mental health episodes.  The first occurred in the spring semester of her freshman year when she overdosed on Tylenol...
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DEFERRED RUSH: A VIOLATION OF EQUAL PROTECTION?

James Harvey “Our Constitution …neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.” 1 A number of universities have imposed so-called “deferred rush” on their Greek-letter groups, under which recruitment of new members is banned until the second academic term or later. ...
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WRONGFUL EXPULSION

Robert Manley, Manley Burke The spring of the year is frequently when fraternity chapters around the country finally get fed up with one or another member.  A decision is made that they need to get rid of the troublesome member. ...
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DELTA KAPPA EPSILON SUES COLGATE

Robert Manley, Manley Burke Delta Kappa Epsilon has filed a major antitrust suit against Colgate because of Colgate’s plan to force the sale of privately-owned fraternity houses to the University.  The University’s position is that the purpose of the sale...
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DEFERRED RUSH AT COLORADO?

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Lynn “Gordie” Bailey, a Colorado University student, died from alcohol poisoning in September of 2004.  The Denver Post reported that he died “the morning after he and other Chi Psi pledges were told to drink...
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LATINO-GREEKS ARRIVE

Robert Manley, Manley Burke Now that the people of Hispanic ancestry have been recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Census as the largest identifiable minority group in the United States, they are going Greek in an enthusiastic way on campuses...
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CHAPTER HOUSES AND FRATERNITY CULTURE

Robert Manley, Manley Burke With an attention-grabbing title, “The War on Frat Culture And Why Maybe That’s Not So Totally Great, Dude,” the New York Times magazine did a multi-page spread on dry fraternity houses.  It was written by Phi...
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ANTITRUST IMPLICATIONS OF FRATERNITY MISTREATMENT BY COLLEGES

Robert Manley, Manley Burke That colleges can be illegal monopolists is well-settled law.1  Based upon this well-established principle of law, four fraternities sued Hamilton College when the College demanded that they sell their houses to the College so that the...
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ADVISOR LIABILITY — THE UNIVERSITY PERSPECTIVE

Nancy E. Tribbensee Students who were stabbed while performing in college plays that used real knives instead of props have sued their institutions.  Students and their families have sued for injuries and deaths when a bonfire being built as a...
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GREEK HOUSES ON UNIVERSITY LAND

Robert Manley & Tim Burke, Manley Burke For the last hundred years, many fraternities have built houses on university property, or leased space in university buildings. Years after the relationship began, the parties may find that the terms of the...
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NEW BOOK ON GREEK LIFE

College Administration Publications has announced the publication of a major new book on Greek life.  The Administration of Fraternal Organizations on North American Campuses: A Pattern for the New Millenium has been edited by Dennis E. Gregory, Assistant Professor and...
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PERILS IN WEB USE

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The World Wide Web and the ability to communicate across it with words, photos and sounds is a marvelous thing.  It can be used for great good or it can be used, inadvertently or deliberately,...
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HISTORY CHANNEL LOOKS AT FRATERNITIES

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com On September 1, 2003, the History Channel aired an hour and a half special entitled “Frat Boys.”  Focusing on the Phi Delta Theta Chapter at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), the program traced the...
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GREEKS AND THE CAMPUS

Robert Manley, Manley Burke Every human contact is a potential human dispute.  College fraternities have thousands of human contacts on every campus, every week.  Sometimes, these contacts lead to interpersonal conflicts that attract the attention of the college administration.  Sometimes,...
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