Friday, January 30, 2015

Conduct Update: Delta Phi

On January 27, 2015 a disciplinary conference was held to adjudicate the charges below:
Respect for Others (General) Lehigh University expects that all students will act in a civil manner that reflects maturity, social responsibility, and respect towards others and the Lehigh Community.

Respect for Others B1 (Harassment) Violation of the in the Lehigh University Policy on Harassment.

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

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

The incident these charges were related to is described below:
An elected officer of Delta Phi Fraternity sent out a text message to potential new members that was demeaning and degrading to specific members of the University Community.

The Chapter was found responsible for the charges and the following sanctions were imposed:

The organization is placed on Disciplinary Deferred Dissolution from January 27, 2015 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. 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.

The organization is placed on Disciplinary Probation effective January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016. 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.

The organization will be alcohol free effective January 27, 2015 through December 31, 2015. The chapter is not permitted to host any events in the house with alcohol and individual members are not permitted to have alcohol in their rooms. The chapter is also prohibited from hosting off campus events with alcohol unless a licensed third party vendor is utilized. Events that are held off campus in members’ residences will be considered chapter events if a reasonable person reviewing the facts would consider the event to be a Delta Phi event.

The chapter is required to develop a long term (12-18 month) comprehensive plan for addressing the harm that they caused in the community, including the harm done to the affected sorority and beyond. While the chapter has apologized to the affected sorority and the president of Panhellenic, they did not do any work to educate nor apologize to the 39 first year students that received the vulgar text message. The chapter also has not made plans to more broadly address the issues and become proactive on campus with issues related to harassment and respect for women. This plan must be more than apologies, and must exhibit a proactive approach and a depth of understanding of the issues. The chapter should focus on educating their members and members of the University Community on issues related to all facets of diversity and inclusion with the major focus being on respect, improving our campus culture related to fraternities’ behavior and attitudes towards women. This plan must be developed in consultation with university administrators and faculty members.
a. The plan, once approved must be made public via the OFSA website and other media.
b. The chapter must provide regular updates regarding the progress the chapter is making to the Lehigh University Community through the OFSA website as well as other media.
c. An initial report on this long term plan is due by March 30, 2015. Rationale: The chapter has not assumed responsibility for their accountability in this instance and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the impact of their actions on the community beyond.

Delta Phi Fraternity may not recruit new members until The 2015-2016 academic year. The chapter may be permitted to take new members (Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors) in the Fall of 2015 if the chapter has complied with all sanctions, including the educational sanction listed. This decision will be made by the Dean of Students in conjunction with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.

Rationale for Finding (Detailed by Charge):
Respect for Others (General): a derogatory, vulgar, harassing and offensive text message was sent to 39 first year men by an elected chapter officer of Delta Phi inviting them to an off campus party. The recruitment chairperson who sent this text message is a member of the organization, was acting in his the scope of his elected role, and in a circumstance related entirely to Delta Phi activities and events. The text message included vulgar language that objectified the women of the affected sorority and all females in general. It also included encouragement to consume alcohol to excess at the party.

Respect for Others B1 (Harassment): The text message that was sent by a chapter officer of Delta Phi created a hostile environment for students that were the subject of the text message as well as other female students. As a result of the text, some student indicated they felt less safe in this environment, demeaned, and objectified based on their sex and gender identity as females. This was the second text message in the past 13 months (October 2013 to November 2014) that included such harassing comments aimed at enticing first year males to attend chapter events.

Respect for Community J1 (Encouraging Others): The text message invited first year males to attend a party where alcohol would be provided and encouraged the men to consume alcohol to excess. The text message sent on behalf of the chapter by their rush chair, also conveyed a blatant disrespect for the women of the affected sorority, which could reasonably be interpreted as encouragement for guests to treat the women similarly in a hostile manner.

Respect for Self A1 (Unauthorized Consumption, Distribution, or Possession): All witnesses acknowledged that there was a party held by Delta Phi that evening in one of their chapter’s off campus houses. Members of Delta Phi present at the hearing all acknowledged the alcohol was purchased by chapter members and with chapter social dues. Alcohol was left out in the open for guests to help themselves and no monitoring was in place. Underage students could and did help themselves to alcohol. This practice of Delta Phi hosting off campus parties at 313 E 5th street, distributing alcohol and purchasing it with chapter social dues occurs regularly at this off campus residence.

Rationale for Sanctions:
Civility and respect are foundational values at Lehigh University. Such misogynist words and messages have the impact to de-value women in our community and encourage men to believe they have a sense of entitlement to women as objects. These type of occurrences when combined with other microaggressions, contribute to the potential for female members of this community to feel unsafe, de-valued, and breed a setting where the right to not be violated as a member of this community is at risk. Such language is also offensive to all genders that abide by the principles of equitable community.

Rationale Sanctions (Detailed by Sanction):
Rationale for Deferred Dissolution: This is the most severe sanction short of dissolution. Based on the egregious nature of this offense, and the fact that the same type of harassing text message was sent last year by the chapter, serious consideration was given to levying the sanction of dissolution. The chapter did take some immediate steps to apologize to the affected sorority and remove the officer from chapter membership. However, the chapter has not proactively educated its members about issues related to contributing to a campus climate that respects everyone, and it is unacceptable that this type of violation occurred two Fall semesters in a row. Also, the sanctioning guidelines for cases involving harassment indicate that deferred suspension (deferred dissolution for organizations) is recommended when the offense was aimed as a specific individual or group of individuals. The harassing text message was directed at a sorority and deeply impacted sorority women beyond that chapter, as well as females in general.

Rationale for Disciplinary Probation: When the chapter comes off of deferred dissolution, they will need
to remain focused on their plans and actions to remain diligent regarding compliance with social policy,
the law, and transforming their chapter culture to one of respect for others.

Rationale for being an Alcohol Free Organization:
Some of the violations in this incident involved a lack of management of alcohol by the chapter and creating an atmosphere where excessive drinking is likely to occur by underage students. This was the third such violation in the past 3 semesters. No learning has been exhibited, nor any efforts to correct and avoid future alcohol violations. It is clear that the chapter currently does not have a culture that can handle the responsibility of managing alcohol for its members and guests on or off campus.

Rationale for not being permitted to take new members until the 2015-2016 academic year: This was the second year in a row that the chapter sent a text message like this to potential new members. A contributing element to the fact that this was the second year such a harassing text message was sent by a sophomore recruitment chairperson is due to the fact that the sophomore who sent the text this year, was one of the recipients of such a social media message last year when he was a first year student. The cycle must be broken and the culture must be changed within this chapter. Taking a year to make bold steps to transform the Delta Phi culture before recruiting a new member class may assist the chapter in avoiding similar violations in the future.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Fraternity Housing Announcement Regarding House #97

The Fraternity Facility Selection Committee is charged with the responsibility to determine which fraternity will be given the opportunity to move into House #97 (formerly occupied by Lambda Chi Alpha) and become a residential fraternity starting in Fall 2015.


  • Applying chapters will have until Wednesday, February 18th, to hand in a packet based on selection criteria.
  • Late the week of February 25th, each chapter will give a 45 minute presentation to the selection committee, followed by committee questions and answers. Presentations will be scheduled and coordinated via the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.
  • The committee will make a recommendation which will be forwarded to Vice Provost for Student Affairs John Smeaton for final review and affirmation.


  • Accreditation
    • How has the chapter used Accreditation to grow as an organization?
    • How can the chapter adapt Accreditation to assist in overall operations as a Residential chapter?
  • Membership Numbers
    • How has the chapter created a comprehensive recruitment plan to assist in the sustainability of the organization?
    • How does the chapter believe moving to a facility will affect recruitment?
    • How does the chapter plan to account for any necessary recruitment changes?

  • Residential Transition Plan
    • Facilities Management plan consistent with Accreditation
    • Understanding of the role of officers, general members, new members and alumni in the running of the facility
    • Opportunities for upper-class leadership both in the facility and for members living outside of the facility
    • Plans for ensuring facility sustainability per the 90% Occupancy standard
    • A financial support plan for facilities maintenance and upgrades beyond standard University provided services
    • Consideration for Inter/National Headquarters policies/practices and support for residential facilities
    • Understanding of the use Lehigh/Headquarters alcohol/social policy as it pertains the facility
    • Chapter conduct record

Committee structure:
The committee will be comprised of one member from each of the follow areas:

  • Residential Services
  • Dean of Students
  • Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs
  • Alumni Association/Greek Alumni Council
  • Interfraternity Council
  • Panhellenic Council
  • Multicultural Greek Council

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lehigh Fraternity Expansion

This afternoon, Lehigh University’s Fraternity Expansion Committee offered Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) provisional colony status in Lehigh’s Fraternity and Sorority community for the spring 2015 semester, effective immediately.

The decision to offer provisional colony status to AEPi was made by the members of the Expansion Committee, which is broadly representative of constituencies across campus (including alumni, students and staff). The decision follows careful consideration and review of the proposals and presentations made by AEPi as well as two other organizations, Sigma Alpha Mu (SAM) and Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT).

This provisional status is contingent upon the following:

1.      Alpha Epsilon Pi must provide OFSA and IFC with a full list of all Alpha Epsilon Pi events, activities and practices, including recruitment and new member education.
2.      Alpha Epsilon Pi alumni leadership, active members and headquarters representatives must familiarize themselves and comply with all Lehigh, OFSA and IFC policies, protocols and guidelines applicable to social fraternity organizations.
3.      Alpha Epsilon Pi must complete an end-of-the semester chapter reflection by the end of the spring 2015 semester similar to Accreditation where the chapter can discuss publicly what they have learned over the course of the semester (please note: the chapter would not be rated in spring 2015 per the Accreditation process).
4.      Lehigh University will work with Alpha Epsilon Pi headquarters to determine the appropriate headquarters staffing support.
5.      Alpha Epsilon Pi Headquarters staff and alumni shall attend the March 28, 2015 Greek Alumni Council meeting to discuss Alpha Epsilon Pi’s history at Lehigh since 2001, including decisions made on recruitment practices.
6.      During the spring 2015 provisional period, Alpha Epsilon Pi will not conduct any recruitment or new member education activities. 

Upon completion of this provisional status, the Fraternity Expansion Committee will reconvene to review the progress made by the organization, and make recommendations to Vice-Provost for Student Affairs John Smeaton as to whether or not full, active status should be granted to the organization. The expectation by the committee is that AEPi student, alumni, and national leadership will demonstrate a positive spirit of collaboration and partnership in working with IFC, OFSA and the broader Lehigh administration.

As with previous non-residential expansion efforts, there is no promise of, or timeline for, a non-residential chapter to become residential.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Chi Phi: A Year in Review

Please see below for a message from Chi Chi Phi Fraternity.

On December 6, 2013, the Psi Chapter of Chi Phi hosted an unregistered social event
in the chapter house. During the event, there was an irresponsible distribution of alcohol and
drinking games. Both the university and the alumni of Chi Phi issued several sanctions that
included Deferred Dissolution, Probation, Dry House and Social Probation for one year, and a
“Realignment Retreat” for actives and alumni.

The event occurred at the very end of the semester: a time notorious for poor risk
management. With leadership in transition and a groupthink mentality, responsibility fell by the
wayside and no one stepped up to make the right decision. Since the event, Chi Phi has
taken many strides toward a more accountable brotherhood that will not let this type of event
occur in the future. These include, the “Realignment Retreat”, creation of a Standards Board
points system, a productive visit from the national office, mandating TIPS training for a large
percentage of the brotherhood, a silver standing in Accreditation for the 20132014
academic year, and holding several programs with officers from the LUPD. The December 6th event
happened partly because of an issue within the brotherhood of personal accountability, but
the brothers of Chi Phi have realized that their actions affect a much larger organization and
that every action they make is a representation of the fraternity and Lehigh.

The creation of a Standards Board points system contributed to the development of
brotherhood accountability. Brothers now have the opportunity to earn points for going above
and beyond their requirements as a brother that can be redeemed for rewards. This has led
to an increase in brotherhood participation and has made the fraternity a more efficient
system. On multiple occasions, different officers representing the LUPD have held meetings
and joined the brotherhood for dinner. These visits have been incredibly productive and
informative. The brotherhood now has a much deeper understanding of the larger picture of
the Lehigh community. The brotherhood has realized that the LUPD officers job is to ensure
our safety and not to get us in trouble.

With change comes adjustment, but as a brotherhood, we recognize the need for
these changes to occur. A few bumps in the road mean nothing when it comes to the big
picture. The retreat was initially met with worries of futility as a difference in opinions is
frequent with the new and the old. After the retreat, however, all involved were not just
satisfied, but excited about the outcomes. The same sort of sentiment was felt about the
meetings with LUPD, but in the same fashion was quickly dismissed. Standards points are
now an integral part of our organization and are adjusted as we feel fit. We have begun to
realize that everything is constantly in motion within our organization and that we have to
expect the unexpected, be proactive, and appreciate those that are there to guide us.

It is a testament to how strong the Chi Phi fraternity is that the brotherhood has been
able to bounce back so strongly after as unfortunate an incident as the one that happened on
December 6th. The Chi Phi fraternity has had no risk management issues in the year since
the incident. In order to better to prepare for the upcoming wet semester, Chi Phi has had two
successful, university-approved alcohol reintroduction events. These events consisted of a
parents weekend dinner, and an alumni cocktail party. Both events went off without any
issues. This resilience should keep the Psi Chapter of Chi Phi strong for many years.