- Fraternal Law Conference November 5-6, 2010
- SIX SORORITY MEMBERS AT RUTGERS ARRESTED FOR HAZING
- UPDATE ON BERKELEY ZONING CASE
- SIGMA CHI CHAPTER AT ARIZONA STATE SUED
- SUIT AGAINST AKA, INDIVIDUALS DISMISSED; APPEAL FILED
- CENSUS BUREAU STARTS COUNTING
- FRATERNITY AND SORORITY COALITION ASSESSMENT PROJECT
Newsletter > March 2010 > "FRATERNITY AND SORORITY COALITION ASSESSMENT PROJECT"
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 community at academic institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The deliverable is a report outlining the community’s strengths and challenges, providing recommendations that are educational in nature and that will lead to improvement and growth of the system at the host academic institution. Every final report focuses on five key areas:
- Developing Positive Interpersonal Relationships
- Advancing Leadership Development
- Strengthening Social IQ, Citizenship, and/or Service Learning
- Assessing Graduation Rates of Members/Advancing Academic Interest
- Effective Campus Interface To, and Support of, the Fraternity/Sorority Community
The assessment project is a joint effort involving the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA), the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations, Inc. (NALFO), the National Panhellenic Conference, Inc. (NPC), the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc. (NPHC) and the North-American Interfraternity Conference, Inc. (NIC). The NIC serves as project coordinator for each assessment.
An assessment is pursuant to a request from the academic institution. The process includes the collection of information and data prior to an assessment site visit at the host academic institution, a site visit by an assessment team of professionals from the five sponsoring organizations, and the issuance of a final assessment report. Each assessment is a collaborative effort with the host institution, and each includes input from a variety of sources involved with, and who can impact the health and viability of, the fraternity/sorority community at the institution.
Following a site visit, each assessment team member is involved with the preparation of a draft report. A consensus draft is then provided to legal counsel for review. Any comments from legal counsel are provided to the team members and a final report is issued by the NIC to the academic institution. If a consensus cannot be reached with respect to any facet of the report, the report can include minority reports.
The first assessment occurred in the fall semester of 2007. To date, there have been 39 assessment reports issued, and none have included a minority report. In other words, all assessment team members involved in each assessment have to date concurred with all parts of the final report issued.
The findings and recommendations included in final reports have been varied. Examples include the following: alumni being too involved in chapter management details; a culture of hazing perceived as being acceptable through inaction by some personnel within the institution; recommendations concerning housing for Greek letter organizations; recommendations that Greek Life staff work with students to establish stronger student self-governance models within the fraternity/sorority community, and that the community establish governing councils that are similar in structure and scope, replacing structures that work in opposition to one another; the ongoing viability, or advisability, of the fraternity/sorority community on a campus; recommendations that the school and the fraternity/sorority community work together to articulate the unique relationship each has to the other, outlining the privileges and restrictions associated with it, with a goal of developing a written philosophy. Reports also have addressed student graduation rates as compared to graduation rates of fraternity and sorority members, data compilation of donors by alumni who are and are not fraternity/sorority members, and other data to help assess the impact the fraternity and sorority community has made, and is making, on the institution.
Prior to the on-campus visit by an assessment team, the process recommends the school create a Blue Ribbon Committee of faculty/staff and student life personnel, while also considering engaging alumni/house corporation members, students, neighbors, and others who can help implement the plan recommendations. The Blue Ribbon Committee is encouraged to host two sessions once the report is delivered to campus – one with students, to present the report recommendations and to take questions and provide answers, and another with faculty/staff, alumni, and other adults involved with the fraternity/sorority community. Early on, the process revealed that these two groups have very different concerns. Following both sessions, however, the host institution is encouraged to bring all participants from both groups together to prioritize the recommendations in the report and to put those priorities on a timeline/action plan so that all invested parties understand the goals and the optimum timing to reach them.
Because the process results in improving student life as much as fraternity/sorority life, the Coalition recommends host schools view the process as an investment in their student body and, therefore, that the fee be covered by the president’s or chancellor’s budget. Assessment fees are based on the number of chapters a campus hosts, plus the expenses of the visiting team.
The five Coalition partners remain as engaged in the ongoing process as each school desires. Each partner offers programming and resources designed to benefit schools as they progress through their prioritized plan, and the process encourages partners to be increasingly engaged in the life of their member organizations and of the campus communities hosting their chapters.