Thursday, April 7, 2016

Conduct Update: Chi Psi

Chi Psi Fraternity was involved in an incident on November 7, 2015, in which behavior violated the Lehigh University Code of Conduct.  The chapter was charged with the following violations:

Respect for Community (General)
Respect for Others (General)
Respect for Others A1 (Physical Violence)

Respect for Community L1 (Failure to Report / Being in the Presence of a violation)
Respect for the Law 1

Chi Psi was found responsible for Respect for Community (General), Respect for Others (General), and Respect for Community L1 (Failure to Report/Being in the Presence of a Violation).  Any other listed charges were dropped. 

The rationale for the findings is as follows: 

The acts that occurred on the night in question were committed in part and led by two members of Chi Psi fraternity. They would not have had reason to commit the acts they did against the specific students they targeted had it not been for their affiliation in Chi Psi and therefore their personal connection to the chapter president (who is not on the football team). After the incident with chapter president, the chapter could have taken a much more proactive approach to ensure that further violence and retaliation did not occur, but that did not happen. Knowing that tensions were high, the group could have also forgone their event at Essence that weekend as not to further promote the heavy use of alcohol that in part led to the violent behavior that occurred. Finally, the students who were targeted in the fight were members of another formerly recognized fraternity. It is much more likely than
not that Chi Psi would retaliate against another fraternity rather than the football team freshmen players taking the lead in the incident.

As a result of this behavior the following sanction(s) will be imposed:
Chi Psi Fraternity is placed on disciplinary probation effective April 7, 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.

The following educational sanction is being imposed. The chapter will have a member of OFSA staff up to a chapter meeting BEFORE their late April formal to review expectations of conduct when at events and to discuss how the actions of one or a few members can impact the whole group in settings like that. It is to be completed by April 22, 2016. 

The following educational sanction is being imposed. The chapter will plan an educational workshop in the Fall to talk about the relationship between alcohol and physical violence and how that is important to them as men and how it relates to them because they have a large number of athletes in the group as well.  It is to be completed by December 31, 2016. 

The following educational sanction is being imposed. The chapter will participate in a Restorative Circle conversation with the Assistant Dean of Student Conduct and a member of the OFSA staff early in the Fall semester to discuss the harm that has been done in this situation and others this year and to help the group re-frame more positively moving forward. It is to be completed by October 31, 2016.

The following educational sanction is being imposed. The chapter executive board will meet with a member of the University's Bystander Intervention planning team to provide feedback on a bystander intervention training for fraternities and sororities and to give ideas about how to make it most relevant with the Greek population. After the training is complete, Chi Psi Fraternity will pilot one of these trainings with their members during the 2016-2017 academic year. It is to be completed by October 31, 2016. 

The rationale for the sanctions is as follows:
In terms of sanctions, while Chi Psi did contribute to the environment that led to this incident, they did not hold an irresponsible event with alcohol that night. The event at Essence was without incident and was held at a third party venue. Therefore, though the group is placed on probation, they may continue to host events with alcohol. The probation is simply to help them be more mindful for the next year of their actions and how the actions of their members reflect the chapters values and reputation. The group needs to spend the time learning more about the relationship between violence and alcohol and talking more about how to best manage the football/Chi Psi connection. They also need the opportunity to repair harm internally as a result of this incident and figure out how to move forward productively. With regard to the bystander training, I feel confident if they knew more about this topic and how to intervene with one another this entire incident would not have occurred int his way or to this extent.

The chapter retains the right to appeal this decision as outlined in the Lehigh University Student Handbook.