Friday, August 18, 2017

Feature Friday: Meet Elizabeth (Liz) Shayler!





Feature Friday is baaaaaack!  Don't be surprised if Liz looks a little different this fall; her family is growing in October!

Elizabeth Shayler
Associate Director, OFSA

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Educational Background: Vanderbilt University, B.S. Human & Organizational Development, M.Ed Higher Education Administration

Affiliation: Chi Omega

Professional Highlights: Always the relationships I build with students.  I love hearing from students that I've worked with over the years and seeing where life takes them.  I was also extremely honored (and surprised!) to receive the Chi Phi Administrator of the Year award this summer.  

Why did you decide to pursue a career in fraternity and sorority affairs? I always knew I wanted to work with people and in an academic setting.  After serving on Panhellenic as an undergrad, my Greek advisor and mentor shared her journey into this field and it sounded pretty awesome! 

High points/Favorite memories during your time at Lehigh University? Receiving an apology letter from a chapter, positive feedback from alumni advisors after a tough year, seeing a chapter bounce back in Accreditation and my 1:1s with students, particularly when they indulge me with their love life stories!

Hopes for the Lehigh Greek Community? Care about each other, regardless of chapter affiliation.  I really want our members to be a part of a community that genuinely cares about one another and seeks to root our harmful behaviors and be positive contributors to Lehigh and beyond.  

If you weren't doing this, what would you be doing professionally? Something with dogs, cooking or wine.  Or all 3.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Reflections from UIFI: Djenne Dickens, Cultural Greek Council President





Thanks to Djenne for sharing her experience at UIFI!

Mid-May I had the great opportunity to attend the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Though my time at the institute was short, I created lasting memories and friendships that will stick with me throughout the challenges of the upcoming year.

At this institute, we were encouraged to think outside the box. Our faculty leaders pushed us to question our current knowledge and delve deeper into topics we thought we already knew. It was great to be able to meet other Greeks and hear about the nuances of Greek life on their campuses. Within our small group meetings, students were able to talk about issues faced on our campuses and brainstorm solutions to these problems. UIFI promoted an accepting and welcoming atmosphere that encouraged students to open up and approach each other with honesty. As a result, I was able to comfortably take off my “cool cap” and fully engage and trust the UIFI curriculum.

Throughout this experience, I learned a lot. I learned the difference between charity and service. I learned the different forms rituals can take, and how important that can be. Additionally, not only was I able to learn more about the Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils, but I was able to learn more about the many culturally based councils that exist nationally. With this, I have developed a stronger desire to connect and collaborate with the other councils on Lehigh’s campus. I think many organizations have similar values in terms of serving others, which can be used as a way for the Greek community to come together.


Overall, I truly appreciate how passionately each volunteer pursued making our experience better; their dedication to improving Greek life has served as a model and as inspiration for me to do the same. I am incredibly thankful to Lehigh for sponsoring my experience at UIFI and encouraging my growth. UIFI was a great opportunity that I hope future Greeks enjoy as well.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Congratulations Pike!


Lehigh university pikes earn top chapter recognition in north america


MEMPHIS, TN - At the 2017 Pi Kappa Alpha Academy, Gamma Lambda Chapter was recognized as being in the top 10 percentile of high performing chapters across the United States and Canada. The chapter was recognized with the Robert Adger Smythe Award—the highest undergraduate honor.

The Smythe Award, named after Junior Founder Robert Adger Smythe, is given out once a year. Chapters who receive this honor have achieved academic excellence, contributed to their community through service and philanthropic events, distinguished themselves as leaders on campus, and lived by the values of the Fraternity.

This year the chapter was recognized for earning a 3.21 grade point average, 100 percent involvement in campus activities, an exceptional 96 percent retention of new members, contributing over 1,230 hours and $107,000 to community service and their philanthropy, and ranking in the top three of fraternity intramural athletics on campus.

Gamma Lambda Chapter was also recognized with the Raymond L. Orians Chapter Excellence Award. The Raymond L. Orians Chapter Excellence Award recognizes overall chapter excellence. Chapters that win this award are amongst the best on their campus and Pi Kappa Alpha’s most competitive chapters.

Additionally, the Gamma Lambda Alumni Association was recognized as Alumni Advisory Board of the Year, recognizing outstanding mentorship to undergraduates.

The Academy is just one of the nine PIKE University events held annually across the continent with over 3,500 annual participants. PIKE University is the combined banner for all Pi Kappa Alpha leadership programs and educational curriculum. The mission of PIKE University is to develop and provide educational programs aimed at fostering leadership, management and personal development skills in order to prepare college men for success in life.


For more information about PIKE University, please visit: https://www.pikes.org/pike-u

Monday, August 7, 2017

Reflections from UIFI: Molly Bankuti, Panhellenic President




Thanks to Molly for sharing her thoughts about her recent UIFI experience!

This past June, I had the opportunity to attend the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) at Indiana University with 70+ Greek Leaders from across the country. UIFI was a chance to connect with people who are leaders on their campuses and who have taken advantage of all the opportunities their communities have to offer, Greek and otherwise; these people have the capacity to incite positive changes at their schools through their continued campus involvement.  At UIFI we spent 5 days talking about ways we, as Greeks, can do to leave a stronger, positive impact on the surrounding community -- and what changes we want to bring back to our own campuses.  

On the third day of the conference, the group came to realize that the benefits of Greek life, both to ourselves and to our communities, are no longer outweighing the negative repercussions of fraternities and sororities at schools.  It was tough to recognize that “not in my chapter,” “not in my council,” and even “not on my campus” is no longer enough to justify being a part of a community that contributes to increased deaths, sexual assaults, and high-risk alcohol and drug consumption on college campuses. It was discouraging hearing about the poor reputations being built up and portrayed in the news and the media.  It was also hard to share stories from Lehigh’s campus and see people visibly cringe, shake their heads, or wish us luck.

When you take a look at all the negative aspects of a community, though, it forces you to revisit why you would want to join Greek life in the first place. During the last few days at UIFI we reconnected with the reason our chapters were founded and the history of our organizations. We revisited the opportunities our chapters provide to our members, the support system so many people gain from fraternities and sororities, and the personal development that comes with being involved as a Greek student. We talked about areas to educate our members, and opportunities to have a more profound impact on the community than our organizations are already having on the communities and philanthropies surrounding us. I think when most people hear the word “ritual” they think of the long ceremonies, the words people have to memorize, and the required dress. But what UIFI helped me realize is that our ritual really doesn’t have much to do with the physical ceremony -- the word “ritual” refers to the higher standards and the opportunities that you are able to take advantage of as a part of a Greek organization.  “Knowing your ritual” is knowing that when you meet someone else in your chapter, or someone else in the Greek community, they’ve committed to holding themselves to a higher standard, and living up to the ideals of friendship and achievement.

It’s not a coincidence that some of the most successful people I know were leaders in their own Greek communities when they were in school -- but we need to recognize, as a whole community, that “not my chapter” isn’t enough any more.  This year, both within and across councils, my hope is that we can start reconnecting with why we joined our organizations in the first place. We need to start thinking less about the physical ceremony and more about what it means to be a brother or a sister of our chapter, and to the other members of the Greek community.  I’m looking forward to what the year brings, and could not be more excited to see Lehigh Greek life continue to grow and strengthen our community. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Kappa Sigma-Loss of University Recognition




Kappa Sigma was placed on interim suspension following an incident on April 22, 2017.  Lehigh University received a report from the Pennsylvania State Police stating that more than 40 students were issued citations in lieu of arrests for underage drinking and another student required emergency medical assistance at an off-campus event hosted by the chapter.  Separately, the fraternity was placed on Disciplinary Deferred Dissolution through December 31, 2017, following a number of incidents earlier this spring.  This disciplinary status placed the organization on notice, meaning any further violations of the Code of Conduct would result in the dissolution of the organization.  

The Office of Student Conduct & Community Expectations conducted an investigation, and the University Committee on Discipline (UCOD) convened on July 14, 2017 to resolve the charges listed below:     

Respect for Self A1 (Unauthorized Consumption, Distribution, or Possession)
The unauthorized or illegal consumption, distribution, or possession of alcohol.  


Respect for Community I1B (Social policy - 1.D.11.a - Irresponsible Distribution of Alcohol)
Irresponsible distribution of alcohol is prohibited. Any occasion where the atmosphere or circumstances are such that the intended or likely outcome is to either abuse alcohol or become intoxicated.  


Respect for Community J1 (Encouraging Others)
Encouraging or facilitating others in actions that violate the Code of Conduct. 

After careful deliberation, the Committee found the chapter responsible for all charges and dissolved the fraternity effective July 14, 2017 through July 14, 2019.  Dissolution is the loss of University recognition and the privilege to use the University’s name or represent it in any capacity. In addition, the chapter will lose all privileges to use University equipment or facilities, and this includes access to group housing.   

The chapter will be eligible to return to Lehigh at the end of the dissolution period beginning on July 14, 2019, provided the campus is open to expansion and subject to recognition processes in place at that time.  Should affiliated students fail to comply with sanctions and carry on as an underground or unrecognized group without University recognition, oversight, and approval, this would jeopardize and further delay the chapter’s ability to return to campus.

The Committee gave the following rationale for the decision and sanctions: 
Kappa Sigma members admitted on the record that underage students did drink while at the fraternity event. A keg was brought to the party by members of the fraternity and there was no designated monitor. In addition, testimony was given that hard alcohol was present and that those individuals who brought it were not asked to leave the event. The organization failed to follow their own risk management policy and did not designate specific sober monitors to be responsible in ensuring organization polices were followed. There was no plan in place to centralize and control any alcohol brought to the party. The fraternity also failed to ensure guests understood policy and procedures that should be followed. 

The chapter has essentially been on Deferred Disciplinary Dissolution for the majority of the past 18 months (since December 2015) and has been given multiple second chances while on on Deferred Disciplinary Dissolution, and this is the third major code violation for the Spring 2017 semester. The panel believes that the only appropriate course of action is to dissolve the chapter, and this sanction is consistent with the guidelines provided in the Code of Conduct. Based upon guidance from multiple parties to include the Office of Student Conduct and Community Expectations, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, and General Counsel, the Medical Amnesty Policy does not apply in this case because the police were called prior to the chapter's call for assistance and the chapter was found responsible for multiple significant alcohol violations during the Spring 2017 semester.

Students intending to reside in the Kappa Sigma chapter house with fellow fraternity members no longer have the ability to do so.  Residential Services staff are prepared to assist students regarding alternative housing options but due to the timing of this action, availability is limited.  Sophomore students are required to live on campus.  Juniors and seniors requesting the opportunity to live on campus will be accommodated; however, these students also have the option of being released from housing contracts without penalty to secure off campus housing.  Additional information regarding on campus housing opportunities and instructions will be forwarded to you by Residential Services at the conclusion of the appeals period.  Housing-specific questions should be directed to Residential Services at inrsd@lehigh.edu or (610) 758-3500.  Additionally, no decisions have been made regarding the facility and its future purpose for the upcoming year and thereafter. 

The chapter retained the right to appeal the decision, and the Office of Student Conduct and Community informed the fraternity leadership of the deadlines and process for appeals as outlined in the Lehigh University Code of Conduct.  The Disciplinary Appeals Committee met on Friday, July 21, 2017 to make a determination and denied the appeal. The Committee provided the following rationale:
There is no requirement for a hearing on medical amnesty. Regardless, we feel that medical amnesty does no apply in this case, because of the repeated alcohol violations and due to the fact that the police were already en route to the party.
The decision by the Disciplinary Appeals Committee is final and with it the disciplinary process is completed for this incident. All sanctions imposed go into effect immediately.

We recognize that losing a chapter certainly has an impact across our fraternity and sorority community and beyond.  Please know that the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs staff are committed to supporting students as they navigate this challenging transition so that they may enjoy a meaningful and worthwhile experience at Lehigh. 

In closing, we are wholeheartedly committed to promoting a fraternal culture of excellence alongside health and safety.  Fraternity and sorority life has a long-standing and proud history at Lehigh where members live by their respective founding principles that foster leadership, service, scholarship, integrity, and friendship.  Together, we will continue to strengthen the fraternity and sorority experience through positive impact, strong leadership, and culture change.  We believe in our community, and our potential is boundless.

Friday, July 7, 2017

2016-2017 Accreditation Results



The Accreditation results for the 2016-2017 academic year have been finalized and the ratings breakdown for the 29 fraternities and sororities reviewed this academic year included 7 Accredited with Excellence chapters, 17 Accredited chapters and 5 Unaccredited chapters.  One chapter, Kappa Sigma, has a conduct case pending.  Accreditation results will not be shared until the conduct case has been resolved, which is anticipated later this month.

The Accreditation results provide feedback intended to support efforts to enhance the success of Greek chapters.  We encourage chapters to accept the feedback in the constructive spirit in which it is offered, and urge undergraduate and alumni members to discuss this feedback and develop an action plan for continued success.  The results are published on the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs website at https://studentaffairs.lehigh.edu/node/3067.  

A heartfelt thank you goes out to the members of the Accreditation Committee who worked tirelessly through hours of presentations and discussions.     

For questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs by phone at 610-758-4157 or by email at infrasor@lehigh.edu

Monday, May 8, 2017

Congratulations to Student Life Leadership Award Winners!

An amazing 22 of these recipients (bolded) are members of the Greek community, so be sure to give them a high five next time you see them!  For the full story, click here.
Contribution to Student Life Award
Laura L. Barnes
Charles J. Bickhart
Taj K. Blount-Oden
Ian M. Davis
Liyala Djenne Dickens
Quinci K. Mann
Sabrina L. Mertz
Rachel Y. Okun
Tanairy Ortiz
Alyssa E. Riporti
Emily D. Ryan
Michael J. Schwab
Aislinn R. Strohecker
Emma R. Strong
Jasmine R. Wung
Giovanni Zlaket
James J. Duane III Student Life Leadership Award
Matthew J. Bonshak
Margaret A. Burnett
Jamie M. Campisi
Gladys Castellon
Julianne D'Orazio
Dakota M. DiMattio
Minah Ebrahim
William J. Kuehne
Zachary J. Maguire
Bruke A. Mammo
Kelly M. Mayid
Kristen M. Mejia
Julia L. Patterson
Aakash R. Phulwani
Danielle K. Schiraldi
Bailey A. Shelton
Samantha J. Tomaszewski
Madeline K. Walsh
Madeleine H. Wescott
Justin R. White
Justin T. Worley
Angela K. Young
Student Senate Leadership Award
Alison M. Bergin
Kallyse J. Duddlesten
Kiana C. Nieves
Aakash R. Phulwani
Matthew D. Rothberg
Yasmina M. Sirgi
Aislinn R. Strohecker
Residence Hall Association Character Award: Malcolm B. Scobell
Ujima Award
Liyala Djenne Dickens
Tanairy Ortiz
Service Above Self Award
Augusta K. Alwang
Katie M. Morris
Allegiance Award
Roger S. Blumin
Margaret A. Burnett
Laura E. Courtney
Alumni Association Undergraduate Merit Awards
Dakota M. DiMattio
Caraline R. Jeffrey
Kaitlyn M. Ruffing
The John W. Smeaton Pillar of Integrity: Dakota DiMattio
The Pearsall Prize: Kelly M. Mayid and Summer A. Sullivan

Bosey Reiter Leadership Cup: Gladys Castellon and Bruke Mammo


University Service Award: Kristen Mejia and Aakash Phulwani