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Newsletter > March 2003 > "UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS CLARIFIES POSITION"
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS CLARIFIES POSITION
Timothy M. Burke, Manley Burke, firstname.lastname@example.org
The January 2003 issue of Fraternal Law reported on the development of a Relationship Statement at the University of Arkansas put together by a university task force which included 26 male fraternity members and no female Greek members. In response to that article, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs sent an open letter to sorority/fraternity executive directors.
Dr. Johnetta Cross Brazzell, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, offered the following clarification:
“A year ago, the Chancellor appointed a Task Force for the Enhancement of Greek Life to specifically look for ways to improve the fraternity system at the University of Arkansas. Our fraternity community has witnessed a steady decline in the number of men going through Formal Rush and the condition of many of the chapter houses had deteriorated to a point where the safety of the students was quickly becoming a concern. While addressing these issues the university also wanted to offer its assistance to these groups in the form of scholarship, and management support options.
“As this committee was in the process of being formed, our staff met with the Panhellenic Executive Board to outline the process for examining fraternity life on this campus and to discuss a plan in which sororities’ concerns would be addressed. With the exception of the recommendations surrounding the recruitment process, we were and are attempting to bring our fraternity community in line with the best practices of sororities over many years. Time and again, the sororities were held as the standard to which other groups should aspire. The recommendations that were accepted by the Chancellor are denoted by an asterisk indicating that the sororities would be discussing the specifics of these recommendations in the future.
“A few days before the Fraternal Law article was released, sororities on campus held their first meeting to discuss forming a Task Force and the reasons for doing so. Each chapter was asked to appoint their chapter president and chapter advisor as representatives to this group. Since our sororities are already in full compliance with the vast majority of recommendations for fraternities, it was assumed that they would concentrate their efforts on the recruitment aspects of the Task Force Recommendations.
“I have asked the sororities to strongly consider moving to a delayed recruitment process since the university is attempting to provide a “common experience” for all incoming students. A delayed recruitment schedule by our sororities will help to ensure the success of the First Year Experience activities along with numerous other positive outcomes.”
The position taken by the University of Arkansas is obviously well-intended, but it may well be frustrating to women’s groups. Even the statement by Dr. Brazzell recognizes that the women’s groups on campus at the University of Arkansas are the standard setters. Yet in order to provide the University with desired improvements in the men’s groups, the women are being asked to change their recruitment activities in spite of the fact that they weren’t the problem.