Thursday, May 29, 2014

UIFI Reflection: Vinicius Rodrigues Aguiar, Theta Chi President

Vinicius Rodrigues Aguiar is a rising Junior and President of the Theta Chi Fraternity at Lehigh University. Vinicius pursues an honors degree in the IDEAS program—Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts and Sciences. He also serves as a mentor in the Greek Emerging Leaders (GEM) program directed by the Office of Student Leadership Development. At the Theta Chi Fraternity, Vinicius has served as House Manager, Accreditation Chairman, and currently presides over the Fraternity until December of 2014. Vinicius is originally from Minas Gerais, Brazil, and envisions a career in the Americas as a leader in the Global Energy sector through his focus on energy engineering and the international political economy of energy markets.

“Recalculate your why.”

On May 17th, I arrived at the first session of the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI), and was greeted with this message. In all honesty, it initially came across with an overly philosophical undertone. A full semester of Fraternity presidency, collegiate worries and such had put me in a very pragmatic and time-maximizing state of mind—identify the task or challenge, strategizing, and acting quickly and appropriately. There was not much room for why in this mechanical, fast-paced routine. I had been mistaken in my priorities.

During my 5 days at the Institute I was challenged, I was moved, I refocused, and I recalculated my why. The program curriculum walked me through a process of self-discovery, of finding motivation, of defining true and meaningful values, and finally, of building a blueprint for my Chapter’s success. Above all, one message spoke very strongly to me: stop bandaging the wounds!

The truth is: Lehigh Greek leaders have used too many bandaids. The truth is: they are not healing the wounds.

I’ll throw hypocrisy out the window early, because I have done the same. Leading without a clear definition of your organization’s values often leads to aimless and ineffective bandaging of Fraternity and Sorority life problems that stem from much bigger wounds. I believe we struggle with this because we never take time to “recalculate the why.” Corny? Idealistic? Maybe. However, leaders of truly successful companies and organizations start asking why and grape a deeper understanding of purpose and direction than those who limit themselves to the trivialities of the “what.”

This message resonates the “Golden Circle” principle by Sinek, and it expands into the sphere of influence of Fraternity and Sorority life. Unlike companies and organizations that measure success by profits, social change, and policy outcomes, my Fraternity aims to create a premier learning experience for college men to grow to the best of their abilities. The impact of my Fraternity, when done right, goes beyond a successful career—it encompasses all facets of one’s social, professional, and academic growth and development. Then, one may raise the question: is Fraternity life done right at our community?

That is when the theme of recalculating your why and stopping the “bandage-politics,” if you’ll allow me the artistic license, comes at such a crucial time to Lehigh Greek life. I do not have the answer. I have ideas. Share what you think. Challenge each other. Arrive at the true meaning of what your organization means to you.

We all took an Oath of sorts. Behind the secrecy of your Ritual, there are rich and powerful values. Let’s start the Fall of 2014 recalculating the why.

For more information on the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute, please go here

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New Staff Announcement

We are so excited to announce that the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (OFSA) will be bringing on two new Assistant Directors to join the staff for 2014-15.

Carter Gilbert will be joining OFSA from Colorado State University. While at Colorado State, Carter served as a Graduate Assistant in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Carter advised and mentored the Multicultural Greek Council, including overseeing the expansion and recognition process for two new culturally based organizations. Carter also assisted in the development of CSU’s Greek Week, Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Institute and Emerging Leaders Conference.  Carter also served as a Teaching Assistant and Guest Instructor for several credit bearing classes, including Greeks against Sexual Assault; Gender Identity Development and Inclusive Leadership for Greek Students.  Carter is a recent graduate of CSU with an M.S. in Student Affairs in Higher Education, and is a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

Jennifer Tedeschi will be joining OFSA from American University. Jennifer served as a Graduate Assistant in American’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Jennifer advised the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association and Fraternity and Sorority Life Programming Board. Jennifer managed the expansion process for both governing boards, and also helped the councils revise their financial management and election structures. Outside of American Jennifer serves as a volunteer for the Northeast Greek Leadership Association (NGLA) and serves as a Training for Intervention ProcedureS (TIPS) trainer.  Jennifer is a recent graduate of George Washington University with an M.A. in Higher Education Administration, with a concentration in Student Affairs. Jennifer is a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority.

Both Carter and Jennifer will be joining OFSA on Monday, June 30st. Please join us in welcoming our newest staff members! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Conduct Update for Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity

This is a University Conduct update on the result of the May 14th University Committee on Discipline Hearing for Lambda Chi Alpha. Per previous correspondence, the chapter was facing Lehigh University Code of Conduct violations, stemming from an investigation by Lehigh University Police, and the Office of Student Conduct and Community Expectations regarding an incident that occurred on the night/early morning of April 17th and 18th.


On April 17/18, Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity hosted an off campus party at which hard alcohol
was served. One student who consumed large amounts of alcohol at this party was taken to the
hospital for severe intoxication. Two other students reported to LUPD that they also had
consumed large quantities of alcohol.


Respect for Self A1 (Unauthorized Consumption, Distribution, or Possession)
The unauthorized or illegal consumption, distribution, or possession of alcohol.
Lambda Chi Alpha was found:

Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity hosted an off campus party at a house that was occupied by
chapter members. Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity and/or its members purchased alcohol and
provided it to people under the age of 21. One of whom became so intoxicated she required
transportation to the hospital. Two other students reported to LUPD that they had enough
alcohol that they were browned out or blacked out.

Respect for Community (General)
As members of the Lehigh University Community, students are expected to serve as positive representatives. They are expected to know and follow the Code of Conduct, and show respect for the faculty, staff, community members and administrative processes that are in place to maintain and support our community standards.
Lambda Chi Alpha was found:

Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity created an environment in which at least one student's health and
or safety was at risk because of the amount of alcohol she was provided.

Respect for Community J1 (Encouraging Others)
Encouraging or facilitating others in actions that violate the Code of Conduct.
Lambda Chi Alpha was found:

Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity invited students under the age of 21 to an off campus party where
alcohol was provided.

Respect for Others F1 (Other Conduct)
Other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person or group of
people. This would include the possession or storage of weapons, explosives, fireworks, or other materials that could be harmful to the members of the community or the community as a whole.
Lambda Chi Alpha was found:

Hard Alcohol was provided by Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity to students without any restriction
or control.

Respect for Community G1 (Incomplete Sanctions)
Failure to complete any sanctions imposed by Lehigh University.
Lambda Chi Alpha was found:

Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity failed to complete a sanction imposed in August of 2013,
specifically: "Provide OFSA with a written alcohol management plan prior to registering a
social event with alcohol."

Lambda Chi Alpha was found responsible for all of these violations of the Code of Conduct. The sanctions for the chapter are as follows:
1)      The organization is placed on Disciplinary Deferred Dissolution from December 31, 2014 through December 31, 2015. During this period of time, the organization is on notice that any further violations of the Code of Conduct will result in the dissolution of the organization immediately without further review. *Please note, due to an incident earlier this semester, the chapter is already on Disciplinary Deferred Dissolution through December 31st, 2014.

2)      Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity is placed on Disciplinary Probation effective January 1, 2016 through May 31, 2017.  Disciplinary probation is the conditional continuation of a group or organization for a specified period of time not to exceed four semesters. This status implies that any further violation of this Code of Conduct may result in dissolution, termination, or other authorized sanctions.

3)      The chapter facility will remain dry for the period of time set forth in the outcome letter for the April 24, 2014 hearing. The organization has lost its right to register and/or host social events with alcohol (on or off campus) effective May 14, 2014 through December 31, 2014.

4)      The chapter is required to complete all educational sanctions imposed at the April 24, 2014 hearing with the established deadlines.

5)      The chapter is required to develop a risk management plan which must be signed and endorsed by all members of the organization and approved by OFSA by September 1, 2014. The plan must include a requirement for risk management meetings prior to all social events. These meetings should involve key chapter personnel.

6)      The former chapter president at the time of the incident and former Risk Manager are not permitted to participate in any fraternity events during the 2014-2015 academic year.

7)      The panel recommends that the individuals that the chapter has temporarily suspended not be reinstated.

Rationale for Sanctions:
There is a clear pattern of violations of the code of conduct over the last 2 years, however, the incoming president seems to clearly understand the seriousness of changing the culture of the house to change this pattern. 
Furthermore, the fraternity appears to have the support of the alumni and has begun to develop a proactive plan to address the problems.  These sanctions were also imposed with the assumption that the chapter will complete all actions addressed in the May 5th letter from the Alumni Control Board. 

If you have questions regarding the results of this hearing, I encourage you to reach out to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs at (610) 758-4157.