Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Staff Announcement: Tim Wilkinson

It is with very mixed emotions that we announce the departure of Tim Wilkinson from Lehigh University.  Tim has accepted the position of Associate Dean for Student Engagement at Wake Forest University. In his new role, he will supervise Fraternity and Sorority Life, Student Activities, the Student Union, Leadership Programs and Student Government. This move will also put Tim and his wife Allison closer to family as they also prepare to welcome a new baby addition. As we reflect on all that Tim has meant to Lehigh and to our Fraternity and Sorority community over the past 10 years, it is absolutely with a deep debt of gratitude that we share with you some of Tim's accomplishments.

Tim came to Lehigh shortly after the University-wide Strengthening Greek Life initiative went into its early implementation phase, and he immediately took on the massive challenge and opportunity of leading Lehigh's fraternity and sorority community through this major cultural overhaul.  He has led this transformation with poise and grace in an area that is often filled with significant challenges both at Lehigh and on a national scale.  And while there are still many areas of improvement for Lehigh's fraternity and sorority community and our larger campus climate, we can all say without hesitation that this community is indescribably positively different from where it was ten years ago. We have made sustainable change on a national scale that has made Lehigh's fraternity and sorority community a model for other campuses across the country.  This is in large part a direct result of Tim's leadership and commitment to continual improvement in our fraternal system.

We’d like to highlight 3 specific areas of growth and development in OFSA that would not have been possible without Tim's leadership:

1) Dean of Students Office, OFSA community-wide and chapter specific operational improvements: From implementing Lehigh's fraternity and sorority Accreditation process, leading our System-wide Assessment Committee, developing the individual leadership skills of and mentoring countless student leaders responsible for their chapter's operations and council leadership, overseeing many fraternity, sorority and multicultural Greek expansion processes, serving as one of two Senior Assistant Deans on the Dean of Students leadership team, and so much more.  Tim's focus on personal attention, values-based decision making, and continual improvement, have ensured that these processes are at the forefront within his field and serve the students, chapters, and Lehigh University as well as possible.

2) Forging and maintaining critical relationships with a wide variety of Lehigh constituents including faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni, national headquarters, etc:  In this job, it requires managing a diverse array of relationships, competing priorities, and continually being willing to put the health, safety and educational experiences of our students at the forefront at all times.  Tim has done just this.  Whether it has been important conversations with committed Lehigh alumni, sharing OFSA's work with faculty and administrators across campus, or partnering closely with national headquarters on positive experiences like chapter colonizations or on incredibly difficult topics like chapter closings, Tim has given of his time and attention in a way that has brought all of these constituents to a place of greater support and understanding of Lehigh's fraternity and sorority community.  Tim has presented at numerous conferences, lead the Northeast Greek Leadership Association for multiple years as Executive Director and Assistant Executive Director, hosted conferences on our campus for fraternity and sorority professionals, etc.  The list goes on and on, but what can be said with confidence is that Tim's ability to build relationships and work across a variety of constituents in a way that promotes common purpose and inspires positive action is excellent and has served Lehigh quite well.

3) Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: While Lehigh and our fraternity and sorority community still have significant hard work to do to enhance our campus climate, Tim has undoubtedly been a campus leader in insisting on improvements within the fraternity and sorority community and across campus with regard to diversity and inclusion.  Examples of this are countless and include serving on the Council of Equity and Community for a number of years, beginning multiple programmatic initiatives within OFSA forward to educate students about privilege and to create spaces for dialog among diverse student constituents, building a sustainable community of Multicultural Greek chapters at Lehigh including overseeing the expansion of six historically black and latino fraternities and sororities and a historically Jewish-based fraternity at Lehigh, launching the Greek Allies program to support students who identify as LGBTQIA within the fraternity and sorority community, etc.  All of these have built a strong foundation for our fraternity and sorority community to continue to build on as we all strive to further foster a more diverse and inclusive campus community.

Suffice it to say, Tim has left a legacy of strong leadership at Lehigh and his work with students and other campus partners has been invaluable. It is rare to find an Assistant Dean for Fraternity and Sorority Affairs who has stayed in their role for 10 years.  The job is incredibly challenging, requires balancing many different constituents' needs, and often places you in a position to have to make very difficult decisions for the betterment of the overall system and university. Tim has never once shied away from these difficult moments and in those moments, his approach has been anchored fully in what creates a positive and sustainable future for fraternity and sorority life at Lehigh and best contributes to the overall mission and purpose of Lehigh University.  We could not ask for any more than that and he will be missed a great deal by all of us.

Over the coming weeks, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs will conduct a national search to find a candidate that will continue to lead our fraternity and sorority community with the same values-based approach and commitment to excellence that Tim has brought to his work during his tenure at Lehigh. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni will be involved in our search effort and we look forward to welcoming a new Assistant Dean/Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs before the start of the academic year.  Please make sure you reach out to Tim to wish him well before his last day on June 18th.

Thank you,
Allison Gulati

Associate Dean & Director of Strategic Initiatives 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Welcome New Greek Emerging Leaders Mentees

The Greek Emerging Leaders (GEM) program is excited to welcome 35 new mentees from 20 different chapters at Lehigh University. We look forward to working with these students as they further develop their leadership skills and explore how they will create positive change in their chapters and the Greek community. We celebrated their induction into the GEM program on Tuesday, April 21 and will begin working together in August throughout the fall semester.

Please congratulate the following 2015 GEM Mentees!

  • Emilio Arellano
  • Lindsay Bailey
  • Molly Bankuti
  • Marlena Boesch
  • Michael Brill
  • Adam Brodkin
  • Lucas Brown
  • Jeff Bulick
  • Talya Cooper
  • Juan Pablo Ferrer
  • Anne Finney
  • Sarah Garberg
  • Erin Garrity
  • Brielle Gemberling
  • Daniel Gibbs
  • Tristan Heffler
  • Scott Henry
  • Jordan Hess
  • Ryan Kirton
  • Nicole Lando
  • Alyssa Landow
  • Courtney Lenzo
  • Alexandra Mangino
  • Jacob Nemeth
  • Sydney O'Tapi
  • Dana Pierce
  • Hayley Poll
  • Madeline Sands
  • Garrett Santini
  • Tristan Seton
  • James Surace
  • Jennifer Tomany
  • Mack Trexler
  • Karli Wachtel
  • James Waring
We would also like to additionally thank our GEM Leadership Team consisting of 10 mentors and 2 coordinators from 11 different chapters who have been training together and preparing to lead and mentor these students!
  • Audrey Baer
  • Matthew Bay
  • Dakota DiMattio
  • Kallyse Duddlesten, Coordinator 2015-2016
  • Brooke Goldsmith
  • Jacy Herman
  • Daniel Izzo
  • Daniel Leal
  • Jonathan Lum
  • Jessica Scott, Coordinator 2014-2015
  • Alejandra Silguero
  • Allie Tookmanian

Monday, May 18, 2015

Conduct Update: Theta Xi

As of May 11, 2015 the Eta Chapter of Theta Xi Fraternity is hereby placed on temporarily suspension pending the outcome of investigations into possible violations of the Theta Xi Risk Management Policy by their Headquarters. Several allegations were reported after the recent Formal at Bear Creek Mtn. Resort and Conference Center.

Effective immediately, the Eta Chapter of Theta Xi Fraternity is prohibited from conducting all activities until this suspension has been lifted. This suspension applies to organized events as well as impromptu social gatherings of members and/or guests that could be construed in any way to be a “Theta Xi event.”  These actions are taken in accordance with By-Law 20.6.11 and Grand Lodge policy, which empowers the Executive Director to place a chapter on suspension pending an investigation and to limit or cease activities for the period of the investigation, as deemed appropriate.

Theta Xi Headquarters will start the investigation process with a general fact finding investigation. The Office of Student Conduct & Community Expectations will begin an investigation and this interim suspension will remain in effect until the formal resolution of these allegations is concluded.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Conduct Update: Alpha Tau Omega

Update: 5/6/2015
The University Committee on Discipline met on May 2, 2015 to adjudicate the charges below: 

  1. Respect for Others D1 (Hazing)
  2. Respect for Others (General)
  3. Respect for Community A1 (False Information)
  4. Respect for Community E1 (Failure to Comply)
  5. Respect for Community J1 (Encouraging Others)

The incident these charges were related to, is described below:
Several Lehigh students were arrested in Robbinsville NJ, for charges related to theft and vandalism. The students told police that this was a pledging activity and that they were pledging Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity. During the University investigation, it became clear that at least one student was pledging the fraternity when not eligible, additionally, the chapter members provided false or misleading information to investigators.

Alpha Tau Omega pleaded responsible to all charges.  As a result of this behavior the following sanctions will be imposed:

Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity is placed on Disciplinary Deferred Dissolution from May 2, 2015 through May 13, 2016. 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. Disciplinary Deferred Dissolution may not be imposed for longer than two regular semesters. If this sanction is imposed during a semester, it may be imposed for the remainder of that semester and two additional semesters.

Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity is placed on Disciplinary Probation effective June 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. Other sanctions may be imposed, including limitations on social activities, and additional requirements may be imposed as conditions for reinstatement of recognition in good standing.  

Member Review: The chapter is required to conduct a member review with the assistance and guidance of OFSA, The Alpha Tau Omega National Office, and the Alumni Board of Trustees. The following people must be reviewed in this process: all current (spring 2015) seniors, the Spring 2015 new members, and the Spring 2015 new member educator. A report of the outcome of this review is due to the OFSA no later than August 1, 2015.

Regarding the Spring 2015 New Members: If the spring 2015 new members are allowed to stay after the member review, they will be suspended from all fraternity activities and are required to go participate in the True Merit New Member process before being reinstated. In addition, these new members are not permitted to live at the house prior to reinstatement. 

Regarding the Spring 2015 Ineligible New Member: Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity is not permitted to give the student who was "ghost pledging" a bid at any time.

Chapter Education Plan: The Alumni Board of Trustees and the Chapter Executive Board must develop a plan for ensuring that all members (current and alumni) understand that the “old traditions” of Alpha Tau Omega must not return and that all members must uphold the new values and mission of the organization. This plan must be presented to OFSA by August 31, 2015.

Rationale for Findings:
Respect for Others D1 (Hazing) – Responsible
Clearly this was an unauthorized new member activity in which members of the senior class sent New Members out for “sandwiches” and in which at least 1 of 2 groups was told to steal signs

Respect for Others (General) – Responsible
New Members and Seniors disrespected the Lehigh University Community, Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, Princeton University, and Robbinsville (and possibly Philadelphia) by stealing property. In general, acted in disrespectful manner by alluding police, lying to police, and agreeing as a group to lie to University investigators

Respect for Community E1 (Failure to Comply) – Responsible
The senior class planned an activity that occurred after 3/29 and after initiation as way for the new members to “earn” respect by bringing back some old traditions of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.

Respect for Community A1 (False Information) – Responsible
The submitted new member plan did not include this activity Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity did have a “ghost” pledge. Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity members lied to police and university investigators during the investigation. Several Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity members were not completely honest and forthcoming at this hearing.

Respect for Community J1 (Encouraging Others) – Responsible
Senior class encouraged new members to break the law and the code of conduct by getting the new members engage in a scavenger that included stealing property

Key Facts:
1. Chapter president pleaded responsible
2. Testimony of witnesses during the hearing
3. Police report
4. University investigation report
5. Alpha Tau Omega rosters

Rationale for Sanctions:
The panel was pleased that Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity took responsibility for the charges and that the outgoing president, was honest and forthcoming. He clearly understood the severity of the violations of the code by certain members of the fraternity. It is also apparent that most of the problems come from a small group of members and that many of the members have espoused and support the new values. It is our hope that the outgoing chapter president and local alumni members will work with the new undergraduate leadership to ensure that these values continue to be taught and supported by both active members and alumni. It should be noted, that the panel feels the actions were serious enough that without the leadership of the chapter president that we would have dissolved Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity. It is our hope that all will gain a better understanding of the principles that the chapter president has attempted to instill over the last year.