UT Releases Fraternity and Sorority Life Task Force Findings

 

A UT task force has released its final report with recommendations about how to improve fraternity and sorority life and culture on campus.

Student Life Vice Chancellor Tim Rogers formed the Fraternity and Sorority Life Task Force last fall. Rogers asked the group of alumni, students, faculty, and staff to review fraternity and sorority life on campus and make recommendations for improving a personal sense of responsibility among members and enhancing the chapters’ contributions to campus life. Tom Hale, a Knoxville attorney and Phi Delta Theta alumnus, serves as chair.

A copy of the report can be found online.

The values of the organizations are positive, promoting worthwhile leadership training and offering opportunities for members to better themselves and the community. For example, fraternities and sororities were responsible for half a million dollars in charitable donations last year and 75,000 hours of outreach service, the report notes.

Recommendations focus on addressing current cultural concerns and supporting accountability, positive growth in traditional values, and other improvements.

The university is considering the recommendations and will involve fraternity and sorority chapters in discussions.

“We appreciate the hard work and thoughtful consideration of the task force,” Rogers said. “They have provided a framework for making positive changes which we will begin reviewing with key groups.”

The report includes the following recommendations:

  • Adopt re-education programs about the expectation of conduct and positive core values, hazing, risk management, and the harmful consequences of alcohol and substance abuse through required training at multiple levels within the fraternities and sororities.
  • Improve house management with the addition of a full-time live-in adult house director and a qualified financial advisor. Currently, only sororities have full-time live-in adult house directors.
  • Expand the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life’s Standards of Excellence program to make all activities, positive and negative, of each fraternity and sorority chapter available to potential members and their parents. This could include GPA by class, number of judicial chapter incidents, total cost of membership by semester and completion of required training by members.
  • Adopt an amnesty or Good Samaritan policy across campus in which any student who assists and seeks aid for another intoxicated person would not face formal charges by the university. Many universities have similar policies which have the goal of eliminating any possible impediment to getting students in serious medical distress the help they need. This policy would need to be approved by the Board of Trustees and the state legislature.
  • Convene a commission to review the effectiveness, speed, and clarity of disciplinary procedures against students and student organizations.
  • Implement mandatory meetings for elected chapter leaders, advisors, and university administrators to discuss issues of concern.

There are twenty-six fraternities and nineteen sororities on campus. Currently, thirteen fraternities and eight sororities occupy houses on the UT campus.

C O N T A C T:

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460, wheins@utk.edu)

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