Honoring Fraternity: Focusing on the Future

Miami has long been a leader in the fraternal movement in North America, and now is a time when we again need to be national leaders as we envision the future of fraternal organizations on our campus. We recognize that fraternities and sororities are not Miami organizations, but rather a collection of international organizations who have established chapters on our campus, each with its own structure, traditions, culture, and values. However, the collective chapters at Miami make up a community unique to our campus, and the members of all chapters share the value of being Miamians. By working together across chapters, in partnership with Miami staff and advisors, we can build a community that is stronger than any individual organization on its own. We will do this by drawing on the common goals and values found in every chapter, including leadership, brotherhood, service, scholarship, loyalty, community, and accountability. These values, in alignment with our Code of Love and Honor, will provide the framework for every member and every chapter to live up to their ideals and potential.

Miami is known for its commitment to the undergraduate student experience, and that experience is about both student learning and student growth. Students join the Miami community to develop into professionals, adults, and leaders who will be ready to go into the world after graduation to succeed and thrive. In the same way we have a responsibility to mentor and guide them in the classroom, we have a responsibility to mentor and guide students in their experiences outside of the classroom. Fraternity experiences are no exception. As a university, we provide mentors and advisors, as well as policies and rules, to help guide students as they become members of the fraternity and sorority community.

Self-governance is another form of learning for students and core to the fraternity and sorority experience. Strong leadership from the Interfraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic Association, and the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is critical to the community’s success. Students serving in leadership roles, both on a respective governing council and chapter leadership, are advised by university staff and trained on policies and industry best practices.

For many years, we have talked about creating a “model Greek community” at Miami-- one where students live their values, bring out the best in each other, hold one another accountable, and are role models on campus and across the country. We have not yet achieved that goal. For fraternities in particular, we continue to receive reports of hazing and conduct violations each year. However, students also tell us they are fearful of taking the next step to publicly coming forward with evidence due to fear of retaliation and retribution, limiting our ability to hold individuals or chapters accountable for these behaviors. We continue to be concerned about the high risk alcohol and drug use in this community that often leads to negative consequences for members and their guests. Our Miami health survey data shows that these behaviors are more prevalent among Greek-affiliated students than non-Greek. And we need to continue to focus on preventing sexual and interpersonal violence and promoting positive bystander behavior in our community.

While we firmly believe and have the data to show that the majority of fraternity members do not approve of or take part in hazing or high-risk alcohol and drug use, that majority has also not been able or willing to eliminate those behaviors from their chapters and our community. It is not enough to congratulate one’s own members or chapter for its positive behaviors; it is everyone's responsibility as a member of Miami’s fraternity community to hold other members and chapters accountable and to lead change for the system as a whole. It is also important that when a chapter is doing things right, that they pay attention to succession and sustainability planning so that those successes will continue beyond its current members’ graduation.

Understanding the complexities of the culture, we come to the practical question of how to address the current challenges facing fraternities on our campus. Throughout this report, we will approach cultural change with three primary strategies, noting both current strategies and recommendations for new approaches:

  1. Design a culture that develops and rewards student leadership through their participation in a fraternity: This is the highest level of strategy for cultural change. By offering leadership development training through multiple formats and encouraging self governance, we strive to build principled, courageous leaders who will hold themselves, their peers, their chapter, and our community to the highest standards.
  2. Focus on academic excellence and student success: Fraternities should attract the best and brightest at Miami, and membership should enhance student success. While the community is social in nature, responsible fraternities also provide career preparation and support the classroom experience. Membership in a fraternity should signal to potential employers that they are seeing the very best students Miami has to offer.
  3. Address the nationwide challenges of hazing, high-risk alcohol, and drug use while holding students and chapters accountable for standards: While our preference would be to focus exclusively on highlighting the best of fraternity life, it is clear that the problems must also be strongly and clearly addressed. By raising our expectations for behavior and being clear in the consequences for violating those expectations, we hope that we can work with fraternity leaders to truly create the model community we strive to be.

Throughout the summer of 2018, a committee of nearly 20 fraternity life stakeholders gathered to evaluate the state of the community and develop recommendations that would advance the fraternal community in a healthy and safe direction. Some of these recommendations are related to requirements for recognition by Miami, others are related to receiving the sophomore housing exemption, and some would be encouraged but not mandatory. Failure to meet expectations will place chapters on a one year probation and an improvement plan will be created in partnership with the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Recognition will be revoked if terms of improvement plan are not met in the period of one year.

The enclosed recommendations were developed through discussions, work-groups, and consensus-building. The recommendations are meant to be a framework in developing stronger processes, systems, and organizations moving forward. We believe true, systemic change must occur in order to move the community forward, and we cannot continue in the way that we have in the past.

Design a culture that builds and rewards student leadership through their participation in a fraternity

Existing Strategy

Community Programming Efforts

Fraternal Excellence and Chapter Recognition Program 
  • Organization Recognition - Chapter of the Year
  • Individual Leadership Recognition
  • Nault Scholarship
  • Advisor Recognition
Student Training and Development Programs
  • Fraternity and Sorority Life Fall Kick-Off
  • Social Chair and Risk Management Training
  • Fire Safety Training
  • New Member Education Training
  • Tri-Council Meetings
  • Chapter Support Meetings
  • Recruitment Roundtables
  • Risk Management Roundtables
  • “Big Sis” Training
Leadership Education Programs
  • Greek Leaders ADVANCE
  • ACROPOLIS - Emerging Leaders Retreat
  • Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values (AFLV) Central
  • National Black Greek Leadership Conference (NBGLC)
  • Rho Gamma Experience
  • Sorority Corridor Representative Experience
  • Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI)
  • AFLV LeaderShape
Prevention Programs
  • Online Educational Course
    • Module 1: Potential New Members- Introduction to Fraternity and Sorority Life
    • Module 2: New Members- Anti-hazing education
    • Module 3: All Greek Community Members - Leadership Course (in development)
  • Greeks Step Up
  • Greek Convocation
  • IFC Enhanced Membership Experience
  • Panhellenic New Member Week
Advisor Support and Development Programs
  • Advisor Session Series
Information Education Programs
  • Summer Orientation Presentations Go Greek 101
  • IFC Fall Kick-Off
  • Rho Gamma Info Sessions
  • Parent and Family Webinar on IFC and Panhellenic Formal Recruitment

Chapter Programming

  • Chapter Services Support Model: Staff focus on a chapter-first support model that builds relationships and increases communication with organizations. Staff are assigned to advise no more than 11 organizations per semester. They meet with chapters 3-4 times per month and include advisors in all meetings. The increased support and communication have strengthened relationships and trust between the organizations and the university.

Accountability Standards

Requirements and Expectations Outlined in the Student Handbook

  • Affiliation. All social fraternities and sororities must be affiliated/maintain a charter with an international organization or have expressed written intent to affiliate within three years of formation.
  • Liability insurance. Each chapter will maintain at least five million dollars’ worth of general liability insurance which covers each member, advisor, alumni, board member, the University, and the national chartering organization. Miami University is to be covered as an additional insured on the organization's general liability policy with limits no less than $1,000,000 per occurrence and $3,000,000 aggregate. This is evidenced on the Certificates of Insurance. Chapter must mail Certificates of Insurance to Miami University at 501 E High St., 218 Roudebush Hall, Oxford, OH 45056.
  • Service and Philanthropy. All chapters must serve the community and world around them by planning and completing at least one service project per calendar year. Additionally, each chapter must plan and complete a charitable event for their official philanthropic organization or chosen charity if no official dedication exists.
  • Functional Leadership. Chapters must complete and submit required paperwork in a timely fashion to the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life each semester. Required paperwork includes chapter officer rosters, chapter member rosters, inventory of contributions to the community and others as needed. Each chapter president is expected to meet with his/her designated office liaison a minimum of once per semester.
  • Non-Hazing Commitment. All chapters must be committed to a University environment that is safe, respectful, and educational. Each semester the Chapter President and Advisor must sign and submit the Certification of Compliance agreement regarding the University’s policy on hazing. Each chapter must operate in compliance with State of Ohio, Miami University, and respective inter/national organization policies and laws regarding hazing and related activities.
  • A Community of Rituals and Values. Every chapter is expected to promote, follow, and act upon the values contained in the rituals and founding spirit of their respective organizations.

Recommended Strategy

  • Develop a series of online leadership development courses to complement and expand on the in-person leadership programs already in existence. These modules will be offered to all members, whereas many of our retreats are only available for a subset of the community. The first leadership module is being developed for implementation in Spring 2019.
  • Member development plan. All chapters will have a member development plan and should stay in compliance with the expectations of registered and recognized fraternities and sororities as outlined in the Student Handbook. If an organization does not have a membership education and development plan as supported, developed, or implemented by their (inter)national organization, they can work with their council and the Fraternity and Sorority Office to determine a plan for the year.
    • Organizations with a national member development plan (e.g., Beta Theta Pi’s Men of Principle Initiative, Sigma Phi Epsilon’s Balanced Man Program, Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s True Gentleman experience, etc.) must submit proof of compliance from the national organization to showthat the local chapter is providing development and education to all members of the fraternity.
    • Organizations without a member development plan should work with the IFC Vice President of Member Education to develop a successful plan for the year that incorporates the shared values of the Miami Fraternity and Sorority Community. The plan should also support the mission and vision of the community by promoting intellectual achievement, leadership, personal growth, and service to the community.
      • A template for these plans will be developed in collaboration with the governing councils and the Fraternity and Sorority Life staff no later than the end of the 2018-2019 school year. This template will help guide chapters should they need to develop their own plans and will include opportunities for chapter programming as well as individual member development and personal growth opportunities.
    • Rationale. In a matter of doing what we say we will do, we must create processes that promote member development and hold chapters accountable to the values, mission, and vision of the community. Rather than reinvent the process, we will encourage chapters to utilize systems already in place (when they exist) to develop their members in alignment with their own organizational values. However, we understand that some of our organizations do not have set membership development plans. Therefore, we will help create a system and a membership education template that promotes and aligns with community values while encouraging individual growth and overall organizational development.

      Additionally, we will again utilize our student handbook requirements and the Office of Community Standards to hold member organizations accountable to our quantitative expectations - financial responsibilities, service and philanthropic donations, etc. Compliance with our recognition requirements will allow us to ensure organizations are holding programs that align with our community values and that they are working together to enhance the overall community. 
  • Compliance transparency.
    • Student Handbook policies and compliance with those requirements will be published in a Community Standards Report, consistent with the “score card” from other colleges and Universities (e.g. Penn State, Florida State).
      • Chapters will be reviewed on a semester basis.
      • Violations of compliance will result in probation and/or suspension.
        • First instance of non-compliance will result in probation.
        • Another consecutive semester of non-compliance will result in denial or suspension as defined in the handbook.
      • Current Semester Report
    • Each chapter should have a 360 Member Review in place to conduct with all members annually.
      Each member is reviewed by a peer, an alumnus, and an advisor through the Annual Member Review Process.
    • Rationale: Just like in an annual review for a job, the annual review for ongoing membership in a chapter will build a better group of committed members over time. Students will have an opportunity to reflect on their experience which should increase their motivation and commitment to the chapter. The annual review has multiple facets that all lead to developing each member’s character. The purpose is to honor and protect the fraternity’s core values and allow for positive introspection and to reinforce commitment to the fraternity.
  • Required active advisor leadership. Every chapter must have an active faculty advisor and alumni advisory board that advise the chapter in partnership with the university. Each organization has multiple faculty/staff that work with the chapter to provide support and promote active involvement. Attendance at all chapter meetings is required for advisors.
    • Advisors should be on the weekly calls with chapter president and the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
    • Every chapter should have an advisory board that consists of a minimum of five members.
      The Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life should host monthly Sunday meetings with all chapter advisors to create more of a sense of community.
    • Partnership with alumni office for improved alumni networking opportunities needs to be created. Alumni mentors based off career choice/exploration can be developed as a virtual resource for students/chapters. Advancement/development resources need to be more available to all chapters.
    • An annual Faculty/Alumni Advisor training should be conducted so that all advising leadership is informed of changes and goals set for the Greek community. Advisors should plan to conduct a fraternity retreat with their respective executive members each semester.
  • Upper class leadership. Miami strongly encourages that junior and senior students serve as chapter president, and the Cliff Alexander Office should consider incentives for chapters that move in this direction. 

Create a renewed focus on academic excellence and student success

Current practice

Individual Membership into Fraternities or Sororities

Outlined in the Student Handbook. All Governing Councils, fraternities, and sororities may establish standards of membership including, but not limited to, credit hour and grade point average requirements. To affiliate with a fraternity or sorority:

  • A student must have completed, at Miami University or other accredited institution of higher education:
    • One full-time fall or spring semester.
    • 12 credit hours with at least a 2.5 minimum grade point average.
    • The two part online education course prior to the start of recruitment.
  • All potential members/candidates for membership must have their eligibility verified through the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life prior to the chapter extending any form of invitation to membership. Once membership has been gained to a fraternity or sorority, it is up to each chapter to determine an individual’s requirements to maintain membership.

Fraternity and Sorority Chapter Requirements

Outlined in the Student Handbook

  • Scholarship and Learning. In order to promote scholarship and learning as a principle of the Miami Greek community, each chapter must maintain a 2.5 chapter grade point average each semester. It is expected that chapters have a plan or program to foster academic excellence.

Retention and University Graduation Data

  • Collect fraternity and sorority community retention data. When compared with Miami’s overall rates, fraternities and sororities have higher retention and graduation rates.

Recommended Strategy

  • Raise individuals’ academic standards. Miami should increase the academic standard to join a Greek organization over the next two year period.
    • 2.5 should remain the expectation to join for 2019
    • By Spring 2020, students interested in joining the fraternity/sorority community must have a 2.75 to join. In the summer of 2020, that requirement will be assessed to determine if a 3.0 GPA should be required for 2021.
  • Raise chapters’ academic standards. Chapters must maintain an average 3.0 GPA as a chapter to maintain university recognition.
    • If a chapter falls below this standard, they will have one probationary semester to raise their GPA above a 3.0.
    • Chapters will have access to campus advising and academic support resources when GPA falls below a 3.0.
  • Raise academic requirements for the sophomore housing exemption. While the sophomore exemption will be discussed in detail later in this report, two elements of those recommendations related to academic standards.
    • Individual requirements:
      • Starting in Spring of 2019 students must have a minimum 2.75 GPA to live off campus in a fraternity property.
      • In the summer of 2020, the 2.75 GPA requirement will be assessed to consider raising it to 3.0.
    • Chapter requirements
      • New member class overall GPA may not decrease more than 10% during their first semester affiliated with the organization for each chapter to retain their exemption.
  • Increase transparency. Improve transparency to all fraternal community stakeholder about chapter and new member class GPA increases or decreases.
    • Include data as a part of the new member education process
    • Publish chapter academic performance on our website
    • The chapter GPA % change between fall and spring will be shared with stakeholders (parents, advisors, HQ, etc.)
  • Add IFC position for academic support and scholarship. Enhance the IFC leadership board to include an officer position dedicated to Academic Support and Scholarship. This position would work in collaboration with the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life to determine faculty partnerships, office collaborations (such as with Rinella Learning Center, HOWE writing Center, etc), encourage/coordinate study tables and tutoring sessions.
    • This collaborative partnership will foster academic growth for at-risk students
    • The Interfraternity Council will partner and foster a relationship with the Rinella Learning Center, specifically for Greek members with lower GPAs.
  • Rationale: The Greek community prides itself on its five pillars, one of which is scholarship. The best way to ensure that our members take this pillar seriously is to increase the minimum requirements that everyone needs to meet to be a part of the community. By publishing average GPA data online, students and parents will be able to make more informed decisions about what organization they are joining.

Each Greek organization has “academic excellence” as its first (or second) goal. Historically, fraternities attracted the brightest, most campus-engaged men. In recent years, that has changed. Evidence has shown that grades deteriorate during the pledging process, an issue discussed earlier. Thus, we believe that standards must be increased, providing incentives for not only potential new members to focus on academics during the first semester in residence, but also as a signal to all that fraternities are dedicated to academics.

Address the nationwide challenges of hazing and high-risk alcohol and drug use, and hold students and organizations accountable for standards

Hazing

Existing Strategy

NPC Initiative. In 2016-17 we called for additional levels of support for six Panhellenic chapters on our campus. We asked each organization to provide a national representative that would help encourage new healthy and safe practices in the chapters, recruit and train new advisors, and work with other organizations on community initiatives. In one year, this initiative saw more student leader buy-in, an increase in student-led initiatives, and more chapters who wanted to participate in the progress. As we are entering year two, we have ten chapters on board with national volunteers who are working toward collective goals and influencing change on the campus level. Panhellenic student leaders have removed sorority involvement from the men’s recruitment process, instituted better risk-management plans for new member week, and addressed high-risk activities in the community.

IFC EME. In an effort to increase internal accountability, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) has developed the Enhanced Membership Experience (EME), an initiative in which each IFC-recognized chapter will restructure their new member program to focus extensively on scholarship, service, values-based leadership, brotherhood, and a stronger sense of fraternal-community. The Council believes that by approaching this task with seriousness, we will better provide every new member with the most foundationally-true fraternity experience while reducing high-risk activities such as hazing and alcohol or drug abuse.

National Headquarters Partnership and Onsite Staff. Miami has required and financially supported our highest risk organizations to have national staff here on campus to assist with the recruitment and new member periods for fraternities and sororities.

Anti-hazing programming: Love Mom and Dad: Turning Tragedy into Progress. Miami hosted an emotional presentation that covered the lives of Timothy Piazza, Max Gruver, and Marquise Braham, three young men whose lives were tragically cut short due to the impacts of hazing. One objective from this presentation was to create a shift in the culture within our fraternity community – immediately following the keynote presentation from the Piazza, Gruver, and Braham families, Dr. Lori Hart coordinated an educational session to discuss prevention efforts and develop a framework on how to move our fraternity community forward.

IFC New Member Educator Institute. Each year the office designs a specific leadership training program and workshop for new member educators, chapter presidents, and their advisor to discuss and plan for the new member education period.

IFC Self Governance - Chapter Mediations and Conduct Board Hearings. IFC has made steps toward holding member organizations accountable to their governing bylaws and joint social policy. We have seen an increase in the number of organization mediations related to social or fire violations that have resulted in corrected action. The IFC Conduct Board has also been training by Office of Community Standards and available to hear organizational conduct cases that are escalated to the Board.

Recommended Strategy

  • Recruitment and Bid Distribution - individual requirements. Update and improve the application process by updating individual requirements that align with the values of the community.
    • Students will complete an Individual Conduct/FERPA release to IFC and Chapters so the fraternity can review the students conduct record.
    • Students must complete a personal statement (why they want to join a fraternity).
  • Recruitment and Bid Distribution - chapter requirements. Recruitment events and bid distribution must take place in the chapter facility or on-campus and the house director, chapter advisor or faculty advisor must be present. All chapters must participate in formalized recruitment and formalized bid distribution.
    • Need to define formalized bid distribution - each chapter can have their own process but that process must be approved and overseen by an advisor.
    • Chapters should give a new member pin/badge as soon as possible following bid acceptance.
  • Fall Recruitment of upper class members will be expected. This encourages chapters to practice recruitment and new member education program/ritual.
    • Fraternities will host a minimum of one recruitment event in the fall that is open to men interested in joining. These events will be submitted to IFC and shared with unaffiliated students to encourage men to meet chapters in the fall.
    • IFC will collect which chapters are participating in fall recruitment and IFC’s VP of Recruitment will share those chapters with men who are eligible to join in the fall.
  • Expansion policy update. The update should include:
    • National Headquarters staff will be required to reside in Oxford for a minimum of one year.
    • If previously recognized, the organization must provide proof of all members of the previous organization and or students who joined the unrecognized organization while suspended graduated from the university.
    • Work with all stakeholders to define Miami University’s Recognized Chapters in Good Standing; implore Miami University to take similar action as Gordon Gee at WVU and write a letter to parents and chapter presidents. Highlight the chapters that are successful and follow policies. Identify unrecognized organizations and highlight those who have been found responsible for violating University policies that resulted in suspension or probation. Continue with Parents Council communication as well.
  • New Member Education. Chapters will implement a four-week (maximum) new member education program. Dates will be established by the Cliff Alexander Office to ensure consistency across chapters. Every fraternity and sorority organization is committed to a healthy and safe new member program and strives to create a hazing free experience for its members.
    • The following forms will be created:
      • All Greek Students sign the Hazing Compliance & Anti Hazing Pledge: stating students understand the Hazing Policy.
      • All students sign the Code of Love and Honor.
      • Chapter Leadership Hazing Compliance Form: Within the IFC Enhanced Membership Experience (EME), available on the IFC Hub page, each chapter president, new member educator, and advisor signs and submits this form acknowledging the responsibility they take on in their leadership positions.
      • EME Sign Off & Approval: IFC will review each EME and meet with each chapter to approve the submissions.
    • The EME will have an academic support requirement. If a chapter’s new member class GPA falls 10% or more during their first semester of affiliation, the chapter will be required to have a formal meeting with the IFC and the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life to discuss this issue. Based on the conversation, the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and IFC will impose sanctions on the chapter. The University and IFC will provide resources to improve their GPA (additional faculty advisors, scheduled tutoring services, departmental advisors, mandatory study tables, etc).
    • Miami and the IFC will create a template EME schedule that will serve as a model that chapters will need to follow.
    • Presentations will be given by the chapter to the IFC and the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life for approval before January every year. Chapter advisor(s) and/or faculty advisors must be present at EME review meetings.
    • All new member activities must take place on campus or in the chapter house. Off-campus leadership retreat locations (such as Hueston Woods) must be approved by the office or IFC.
    • No pledges/new members are allowed to consume alcohol unless they are 21 years old.
    • 3 hours community service requirement for each new member (could be hosted by fraternities)
    • New Member Educators of each IFC recognized chapter will regularly meet with the IFC VP of New Member Education throughout new-member period for total transparency and a space to voice concerns or problems.
  • Initiation. A formal initiation must take place within four weeks of bids being extended. An advisor or national headquarters staff member must be at initiation.
  • Oversight. The Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life will coordinate the logistics surrounding National Headquarters’ involvement in the new member period in an effort to hold national headquarters accountable for their involvement or lack thereof.
    • Each chapter must review all hazing and alcohol policies of both their national organization and Miami university in a meeting prior to recruitment. This meeting should be facilitated by the chapter president, new member educator and recruitment chairman. A sample agenda and talking points will be developed by the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and minutes of that meeting will be required to be submitted to confirm all members have been educated about policies.
    • Advisors are critical in our goal to eliminate hazing. It is imperative, therefore, that at least one advisor (a member of the advisory board, housing corporation, or headquarters staff) be present at all meetings involving the new members. Attendance can take the form of either physical presence or electronically (e.g, Skype/FaceTime). It is particularly important for an advisor to attend bid distribution, the induction ceremony and explain the University's and Fraternity's policies on hazing. If an advisor can’t be present at these events, a national headquarters representative/staff member must be in Oxford for the duration of the new member program.
    • The University may suspend or end the recruitment process or new member education period of any chapter or chapters if the University believes the health and safety of students is at risk.
  • Violations of policy
    • The Office of Community Standards must adopt a no-tolerance policy for hazing.
    • Any chapters found responsible for hazing should be closed for a minimum of 5 years.
    • Investigation and hearing procedures will be reviewed for student organizations.
    • Investigations should start within 72 hours of a complaint being filed.
    • Individuals should be charged when appropriate.
    • Expulsion, not suspension, should be the punishment if charged and found responsible with hazing as an individual.
    • Create closer cooperation with the Oxford Police Department related to hazing.
  • Rationale: A shortened time period will reduce the risk and shorten the window where hazing takes place.

Conduct and Accountability

Existing Strategies

  • IFC Enforcement of Social Policy
  • IFC Conduct Board
  • Every chapter has an accountability structure (e.g., standards board) in place. The organization has shared standards and expectations that all members agree to uphold upon joining. Included in these standards are expectations for the responsible use of alcohol and personal responsibility.
  • Community Standards Report
  • Communication to Parents/Families about recognized and unrecognized chapters
  • Transparency efforts around rankings and judicial records of chapters on Facts and Stats page of website. This information is also sent to parents annually.

Recommended Strategies

  • Improve conduct process. The Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and the Interfraternity Council will work with the Office of Community Standards to improve the conduct process for Fraternities and Sororities with a desire to design a more consistent and efficient process.
  • Minimum suspension. Hazing must be adjudicated by the university and a minimum of five-year suspension must be issued for all chapters found responsible (or who accept responsibility for hazing) for hazing that results in a threat to health and safety. All other hazing violations will be adjudicated appropriately.
  • National organizations take on anonymous reports. Develop a partnership with national organizations around anonymous reports that do not or can not move through the University’s process. The reports will be quickly identified and transferred to IFC and the national organization. The Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life mediates conversations but does not adjudicate cases.
  • Internal standards board training. Every chapter’s internal standards board participates in a training hosted by Community Standards and/or the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
    • Institute a Standards and Judicial Board Summit - discuss confrontation, self-governance, peer-to-peer accountability, difficult conversations, etc. Content needs to beneficial and engaging - consider students’ time. Review IFC and University processes as well.
      • Include time in the summit for chapters to review their own policies and processes
      • Have follow-up roundtables once or twice a semester.
    • IFC will work to educate chapter risk managers on how to effectively take a member through the standards process and be a resource when further action (e.g., removal of a member) needs to be taken.
  • IFC conduct proposed sanctions. Utilize the IFC Conduct chart to help in determining initial sanctions. An appeals process would then allow for more flexibility with sanctions should an organization want to contest. This allows chapters to know and understand what repercussions may be coming. Appeal would go to IFC Judicial Board to appeal sanction and bring down the sanction.
  • Prioritizing investigations during high-risk periods. Weekly meetings should be set up with IFC, Cliff Alexander Office, Office of Community Standards and the Dean of Students Office during high-risk periods to review reports specific to student organizations and determine who should move forward with adjudicating or investigating those reports. All parties can help provide context and influence and what should be priority in investigating which should help speed up the investigation and interviewing period.
    • Determine high/medium/low level incident.
    • Determine what could be individual or organizational.
  • Increased education on hazing. Better define and educate students and parents on what hazing is, how Miami defines hazing, and what state law is regarding hazing. Revamp the current anti-hazing pages and education on Miami’s website. Re-develop and implement an anti-hazing campaign.
  • Examine structure of reporting and policing. The Office of Community Standards should consider ways students can improve policing and reporting hazing more frequently.
  • Consider Limited Amnesty. The Office of Community Standards should consider whether Limited Amnesty can be effective. There should be options when reporting hazing for students to have lesser consequences if they are reporting unsafe behavior/hazing. However, if moving to Limited Amnesty, education is vital to ensure understanding and use of policy. Consider retaliation as well - the person who reports will face backlash from their peers. Can we guarantee safety and protect anonymity if reporting occurs?
  • Consider new investigative processes. The Office of Community Standards (OCS) should consider a new investigation process.
    • All investigations should start in a timely manner - within 72 hours of a report coming in - by a team of investigators that is recruited and trained by both OCS and FSL staff.
    • The investigation process should be discussed on a yearly basis with staff and students.
    • During the investigation period, a system must be determined that reduces the opportunity for information sharing amongst members but also within the community.
  • Rationale: Overall the judicial investigation and sanctioning processes for both Miami and IFC need to be cleaned up. Both students and staff should be involved in conversations to determine the best process moving forward in terms of accountability, investigating claims, and sanctioning. By utilizing practices that have been successful at other schools we can develop a more seamless process that provides guidance and a clear vision for accountability. Additionally, joint-effort partnerships will be strengthened and relationships will feel less adversarial and more collaborative.

    Consistent communication with members of the community, staff, and stakeholders are essential to helping us work quickly in determining how each individual report should be handled. By working with trained and educated students as well as invested staff members, we can decrease the amount of time it takes to investigate.

Second Year Exemption

Current practice

Second Year Exemption: Individual students must have a 2.5 GPA and be a member of a recognized fraternity in good standing to live off campus in a fraternity house their second year. To obtain the second year exemption to house sophomore students in a fraternity property the chapters must comply with the following policy:

  • 30% of the house must be occupied by upperclassmen (juniors and or seniors).
  • The chapter officers/executive board members are recommended to be in the house.
  • The chapter can choose to be damp or dry and must submit their status to the university.
  • Chapter must comply with all City of Oxford Zoning and Fire Safety Inspections and Policies.
  • Chapter must comply with Miami University Code of Student Conduct. In order to be eligible, a chapter may not have been on disciplinary probation, been suspended, or had its recognition revoked by Miami University within the 12 month period prior to the application. In the case of expansion or the restart of an organization, the chapter must be in good standing with Miami University for one full year before they will be considered for the exemption and meet the above requirements.

Recommended Strategy

The chapter exemption for fraternities to allow sophomores to live off campus should continue but be updated and include the following requirements.

  • Individual Requirements
    • As discussed earlier in this report, the academic standards for individuals will be raised.
    • Students must not have any conduct violations reported through the Office of Community Standards. All prohibited conduct and categories for denial will be reviewed by the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, IFC and the IFC Conduct Board. (See Policy Library) on a case by case basis.
  • Chapter Requirements
    • Chapters must have a live-in house director by fall of 2019. Miami University and the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life will assist with logistics and coordination surrounding this effort.
    • New member class overall GPA may not decrease more than 10% from their GPA in the semester before they joined.
    • 30% upperclassmen required to live in the houses
    • Chapters must be in compliance with the National Interfraternity Conference Health and Safety Initiatives, which “prohibits the presence of alcohol products above 15% ABV in any chapter facility or at any chapter event, except when served by a licensed third-party vendor.”
    • Facility must select Damp/Dry and each organization must follow their national organization’s policies or one that is more strict. A damp facility allows alcohol to be present only in the personal rooms of those members who are of legal drinking age; a dry facility does not allow any alcohol in the facility. We support national policies regarding dry chapter facilities.
    • The chapter must comply with all City of Oxford Zoning and Fire Safety inspections and policies, and the fire department must recommend that each house meets the fire department standards. Chapters that have ongoing violations, as determined by the Cliff Alexander Office in partnership with OFD, will lose the second year exemption.
    • The sophomore exemption is a privilege and may be revoked at any time by the University, when in the University’s sole judgment the Chapter does not serve the bests interests of its members or the University.
  • Annex Houses.
    • Chapters must provide a list of annex houses (defined as 50% or more of the residents are members).
    • Chapters will provide a list of residents’ information for each annex property.
  • Rationale: The second-year exemption continues to be, and should remain, an exemption to a University policy. Chapters must understand they are asking for an exemption to a campus policy so they need to meet higher standards. Fraternal facilities should be well managed and maintained and complement university housing.

    An increase in the GPA requirement will impact chapters’ new member process. Because the second-year exemption is essential to most chapters’ financial viability, we anticipate chapters taking this requirement very seriously. We hope they will focus more on academics and time management rather than hazing, as the loss of the second-year exemption that will occur when the GPA requirement isn’t met will most likely cause the chapter to close.

    A required live-in advisor will provide much needed adult supervision, similar to resident directors in a residence hall. The role of the advisor would range from a graduate advisor to house director to house mother. The live-in advisor can help facilitate in crisis situations and oversee the actual physical facility. The advisor would also have communication with the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life as well with their respective alumni advisors and housing corporation members.

    The overall new member GPA is indicative of the new member process/culture. A decrease beyond 10% is indicative of some type of negative activities that are occurring. This new policy would be an be an additional deterrent to hazing activities. Since a majority of chapter houses are composed of second-year students, a loss of the second-year exemption due to grades is a financial blow to the housing corporations. Alumni advisors and housing corporations will likely put more pressure on their members to abandon negative new member activities.

    A majority of affiliated upperclassmen live in annex houses after their sophomore year. We have been told that these residences tend to be the locations where unregistered parties and hazing activities occur. The chapter is still liable for any of these activities. Requiring annex house information would allow for some individual liability/accountability. 

Additional resources needed to support implementation of recommendations

Existing Strategy

  • Currently there are three full-time and three part-time staff members dedicated to supporting the fraternity and sorority community. There are 46 chapters and 5,100 students. The current staff is designing and facilitating over 75 programs a year and spending 20 hours per week meeting one-on-one with chapter presidents, officers, and advisors.

Recommended Strategy

Support structures should be improved to develop and continue to support increased initiatives for fraternity and sorority life at Miami.

  • The number of staff within the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life is inadequate to provide the ongoing support and leadership needed a Greek community as large as Miami’s. With three full-time and three part-time staff, Miami falls well below the staffing models of every institution within an 18-university cohort of like-sized Greek communities. The number of staff in the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life should be directly proportional to the overall size of active membership and the number of active chapters on campus. According to NASPA, staffing levels should be one FT staff member for every 1,000 fraternity and sorority members. We recommend a total of three additional staff be hired for increased chapter support services, which would bring us to that recommended level.
    • Add another Associate Director of Student Activities so department duties can be split between both areas: Student Activities and Fraternity and Sorority Life.
    • Add an additional Assistant or Associate Director so there is an Assistant/Associate Director for all three councils and additional staff support for chapter services area.
    • Add another high-level position that can work on strategic initiatives specifically to implement these recommendations and other large-scale university fraternal initiatives.
  • Rationale: We examined a cohort of peer institutions and communities representing a total of 18 colleges and universities from the midwest and south. The average Greek population of the 18-school cohort is 5,585 active members (Miami’s Greek community is 5,428.). The average FTE staff size for the cohort is 5.2. Miami has 3 FTEs. The average overall staff size (full and part time) of the cohort is 9; Miami currently has 6. There are not enough staff resources deployed for a community as strong and active as exists at Miami. A more robust cohort of alumni, faculty, and university personnel are needed to combat the growing number of issues and challenges that face the Greek community. The Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life is understaffed compared to peer and aspirant peer institutions across the country.

    This staffing model was also a recommendation from the Cliff Alexander Office and Student Activities departmental review from 2016. 

Closing

These recommendations have been designed and submitted by the Re-Visioning Committee. This committee was made up of university staff, students, faculty, alumni and national headquarters partners. The committee will continue to meet, at a minimum, annually to discuss the current status of the report and the community.

Committee Members

  • Brad Bundy, Kappa Alpha KA Chapter Advisor
  • Tom Cleverdon, Beta Theta Pi Alpha Culture Committee
  • Lorenzo Guidi, Sigma Phi Epsilon Student, IFC Executive Board
  • Drew Harmon, Sigma Chi Chapter Advisor
  • Jack Haught, Delta Sigma Phi Student, IFC Executive Board
  • Rocco Manzo, Alpha Delta Phi Faculty Advisor
  • Suraj Maraboyina, Delta Chi Chapter Advisor and Housing Corporation
  • Sean McKeon, Pi Kappa Phi Student, Chapter President
  • Jerry Miller, Sigma Alpha Mu Chapter Advisor and Housing Corporation
  • John Moore, Chi Psi Alumni and Housing Corporation
  • Ryan Temby, Sigma Chi Regional Director/Headquarters
  • Sean Wagner, Phi Delta Theta Headquarters Staff 
  • Scott Walter, Student Life Assistant Vice President
  • Jenny Levering, Cliff Alexander Office Director
  • Colleen Blevins, Cliff Alexander Office Associate Director
  • Devin Hall, Cliff Alexander Office Assistant Director

Honoring Fraternity

The Honoring Fraternity recommendations are also available as a PDF (opens in a new window).