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Fraternity & Sorority Life Review

Updates

Dec. 4, 2018

The university hosted an open forum with a panel of Greek students and alumni to seek feedback on proposed policy changes for fraternity and sorority life.

Download the open forum presentation (PDF)

Nov. 28, 2018

MEDIA ADVISORY: MU hosts open forum seeking feedback on fraternity and sorority policy changes

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430, BasiC@missouri.edu

WHAT: University of Missouri officials will host an open forum seeking feedback on proposed policy changes for fraternities and sororities at MU.

WHO: Speakers include:

  • Gary Ward, interim vice chancellor for Student Affairs
  • Jeff Zeilenga, dean of students
  • Kathryn O’Hagan, assistant director of Fraternity & Sorority Life
  • Alexander Cartwright, chancellor
  • A panel of students and alumni

WHEN: 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4        

WHERE: Wrench Auditorium
Memorial Union south, MU campus

NOTE: MU officials and an advisory board of more than 40 alumni, parents, students and others have been working on recommendations for changes to the university’s Greek system since the summer of 2017. Recommendations have been presented to the broader MU community over the past several months, and revisions were made based on initial feedback. All four student Greek councils support the revised recommendations.

“Our goal all along has been to lay the foundation for a stronger, more vibrant Greek system,” Ward said. “Greek students are an important and valuable part of our community, both here at the university and in the broader Columbia community. Fraternities and sororities provide a large number of students with experiences that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. I’m so thankful for the hard work of our staff and the advisory board over the last several months. We continue to receive feedback on our revised proposals in an effort to make sure the university is supporting the Greek system the best way possible.”

Oct. 25, 2018

A revised version of the Fraternity & Sorority Advisory Board Report was released Oct. 25, 2018.

Download the report (PDF)

July 31, 2018

Message from Interim Vice Chancellor Gary Ward

Dear faculty, staff and students,

For nearly 150 years, the University of Missouri has benefitted from a thriving fraternity and sorority community. Our Greek organizations have contributed countless hours and donations to charitable organizations, attracted students considering Mizzou and fostered some of our most engaged alumni.

In an effort to ensure this system is as strong as it can be, we have been undergoing a comprehensive review of this community and the university’s relationship with it. This week we completed an important step in this process with the release of a task force report with recommendations to improve student safety and enhance the fraternity and sorority experience.

Under the leadership of Dean of Students Jeff Zeilenga, this work was completed by a 40-member task force that included the Fraternity and Sorority Life Advisory Board, representatives from national Greek organizations and others with connections to Mizzou’s Greek community. This is not easy work, and I would like to express my sincere thanks to all those who contributed to the report.

This group was convened following a review by consultant Dyad Strategies that was released in December 2017.

I am optimistic about many of the changes the task force has outlined, including the recommendation that only the most exemplary houses can have first-year students as residents. However, any changes we decide to implement will be closely monitored. If we have any violations, no matter how small, we will reevaluate our decisions and make any necessary changes.

In the coming weeks and months, my team will meet with the Greek community to solicit feedback, including any comments on the freshman housing recommendation. I encourage you to review the report and submit any feedback to fsl@missouri.edu.

April 4, 2018

Fraternity and Sorority Advisory Board Update

Summary

The Fraternity & Sorority Advisory Board was formed to review five key issues identified by Dyad Strategies in Fall 2017:

  1. Hazing
  2. Diversity and inclusion
  3. Freshmen in housing
  4. Academic calendar
  5. Social events and risk management

The group is comprised of key stakeholders including students, parents, alumni, housing corporation representatives, house directors, advisers, and university faculty and staff. The input from these stakeholders will be essential to determining how to move forward. Work groups have been formed to look at each issue above, with a goal of providing recommendations this summer.

The advisory board began meeting monthly beginning in January.  A summary of the March 5 meeting is below.

Highlights

With fraternity and sorority life under scrutiny nationwide, the health and safety of Mizzou students remains our top priority. The Dean of Students is working closely with our Interfraternity Council (IFC) students, national IFC offices, the National InterFraternity Council (NIC), SEC colleagues and various alumni groups. Many of these groups are identifying and recommending best practices for our Greek community that are consistent with recommendations by our five work groups. Some of these are listed below with an update of their progress.

  • The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life is adding two additional staff to better support a community of 7,500 students. The office is also completing a fraternity/sorority experience survey that will allow for MU to benchmark across SEC schools.
  • A new chapter scorecard, modeled after Penn State, has been published to the Fraternity & Sorority Life website, fsl.missouri.edu. This will be updated each semester and will continue to have new data included. Exploration of new software will assist in maintaining transparent and up-to-date information for parents and students interested in Greek life.
  • A new IFC student judicial process has been implemented as recommended by the Dyad report. Twenty MU staff have been trained to assist with hazing investigations also recommended by the Dyad Strategies report.
  • Funding for programs and awareness efforts of Multicultural Greek Council and National Pan-hellenic Council has been identified. The diversity and inclusion work group was made aware that other grants from the UM System and Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity may be available.
  • A new fall sorority recruitment schedule is being explored. This schedule will allow more freshman sorority women to participate in fall welcome events, which help new students integrate on campus.
  • New, more robust fall training for Residential Life staff will be offered to fraternity and sorority advisers and other members of the Greek community.
  • Discussion continues about freshmen in housing. Dyad Strategies will provide more data for the group to review and evaluate economic impact.
  • Dyad Strategies continues to work with the advisory board and work groups.
Feb. 5, 2018

Message from Interim Vice Chancellor Gary Ward

Dear members of the Mizzou fraternity and sorority community,

We are pleased to announce the next phase in the University of Missouri’s effort to strengthen fraternity and sorority life on our campus and ensure our students have the best experience in the nation.

As a means of working through Dyad Strategies’ recommendations, I asked Dr. Jeff Zeilenga, Dean of Students, to form a Fraternity and Sorority Life Advisory Council.

The advisory council, comprising 21 members and seven ex-officio members, represents alumni, students, faculty and administrators.

The council will form into five work groups, each focused on a different area of the Dyad report. Their task will be to develop plans to improve the fraternity and sorority member experience in these areas.

These groups will not work in seclusion. They will reach out to interested students, alumni and members of other constituent groups in an inclusive process aimed at uncovering the best methods for moving forward as a community. Student safety remains our No. 1 priority.

The work groups cover a broad scope:

  • The freshmen in housing work group should review and respond to the recommendation of removing freshmen students from Greek housing.
  • The social event risk work group should consider ways to improve student health and safety at events.
  • The hazing prevention/new member education work group should suggest community-wide initiatives to prevent hazing, including amnesty/self-reporting.
  • The academic calendar/recruitment work group should look for ways Greek chapters can better support the academic calendar, such as by instituting social-event “dead periods” during syllabus week, finals week and other important times of year.
  • The diversity and inclusion work group should develop recommendations for how the university can help the Greek community flourish more broadly, including identifying ways to better support NPHC/MGC chapters and finding alternative funding sources for culturally-based fraternities and sororities.

I am so proud of our incredible student leaders and appreciative of our engaged alumni advocates. A healthy fraternity and sorority community contributes greatly to a strong, vibrant Mizzou. It is our responsibility, as stewards of our shared tradition, to make fraternity and sorority life at Mizzou the safest, most inclusive, most edifying and excellent experience for everyone.

Thank you for your help in making that happen.

Nov. 11, 2017

Statement from Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright

From its beginnings in 1869, the Greek community at the University of Missouri has benefited students and the community alike. As one of the largest Greek communities in the country, we have a responsibility to our Greek students to ensure that we are providing them with the best experience possible.

I am personally committed to building a Greek community that is the envy of every university in the country. Our Greek students have saved thousands of lives with the homecoming blood drive, helped thousands more through their charitable work, and interacted with members of the Columbia community in meaningful ways – and they do this every year.

To improve, I agree with Gary Ward that it is vital that we have an unflinching analysis of where we are, what we are doing well, and where we are falling short. Some of the information might be difficult to hear, but it is necessary to move forward.

I know that together, with lots of feedback, we will be able to reach a consensus on how and when to make certain changes. This report is just a first step and we have many more to go if we want to reach our goal of being the best in the country. I’m asking for your constructive input today and your elbow grease in the future as we get down to the hard work of building Mizzou’s Greek community into the great system we know it can be.

Oct. 26, 2017

Message from Interim Vice Chancellor Gary Ward

Dear members of the Mizzou Greek community:

As you know, the university hired Dyad Strategies to conduct a comprehensive review and risk management assessment of Greek life at Mizzou. Thank you to all who provided information and participated in discussions with Gentry McCreary, CEO and managing partner.

Dyad has completed their report, and I am sharing it with you today. The report provides a detailed analysis of the Office of Greek Life and Greek community while also presenting several recommendations for improving the Greek student experience.

From the beginning of this process, our goal has been to make the Mizzou Greek community the best in the country. This report is a first step. We need your support as we determine where we go from here.

In the coming weeks, Gentry will return to campus to share the report and recommendations with Greek students, alumni, faculty, staff, partners and our new leadership team. Student safety remains our top priority. No final decisions about specific recommendations will be made before spring.

I’m very excited for the future of Greek life at Mizzou, and I’m looking forward to working with all of you to build on the rich tradition of scholarship, leadership, service and brotherhood/sisterhood at the University of Missouri.

FAQ

Download the Fraternity & Sorority Advisory Board Report

 

Why did the university seek an external review of Greek life?

The University of Missouri’s Greek community is among the largest in the nation. As part of the comprehensive review of student programs and services at the University of Missouri, Interim Vice Chancellor Gary Ward and the Office of General Counsel agreed that it would be prudent to get a sense of national best practices related to Greek Life and assess current policies and procedures in place to inform the legal team’s advice on those matters. The ultimate goal is to build the strongest Greek community and best student experience in the nation.

What was Dyad Strategies hired to do?

The consultant was hired to assess several aspects of Greek life, including:

  • Social event policies and procedures, including policies related to alcohol and drugs
  • Organizational conduct policies and procedures
  • Policies and procedures related to Greek housing
  • Greek recruitment
  • Trainings and workshops provided for Greek members

What is in the Dyad report?

The report provides a detailed analysis of the Office of Greek Life and Greek community while also providing several recommendations for improving the Greek student experience. Download the full report (PDF).

How much did this analysis and report cost?

Payment is not to exceed $22,000. The Office of General Counsel hired Dyad Strategies, and the Division of Student Affairs covered the cost of the study.

What does the Office of General Counsel plan to do with Dyad report?

The results will be used to help the university’s legal team inform its advice on policies and procedures related to the Office of Greek Life (now Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life) and Mizzou’s Greek community. The university’s legal team also has shared the report with Student Affairs and agreed that the report may be shared more broadly to help inform discussion of improvements for policies and procedures.

What’s next?

The Dyad Strategies report has been provided to Keeling & Associates to inform their comprehensive assessment of university academic and personal support programs and services for students.

The Fraternity & Sorority Advisory Board has reviewed the topics identified in the Dyad report and has submitted a task force report. The group included students, parents, alumni, housing corps representatives and advisers. Some changes will take more time than others, and stakeholder input will be essential to determining how to move forward. Student safety remains the university’s top priority.

To submit feedback on the suggested changes, please email fsl@missouri.edu.

What recommendations did the task force make?

The task force made several recommendations in its report, including proposed changes to housing freshmen in fraternity houses, limiting the frequency and duration of social events, and hiring a full-time staff member for the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life to focus on diversity and inclusion. Learn more about the task force’s work and what university leaders are saying about it in this news release from the university.

Who is in charge of Greek life?

Dr. Jeffrey Zeilenga was named dean of students in July 2017 and supervises the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. He reports to Gary Ward, who was named interim vice chancellor for student affairs in May 2017.