Monday, September 29, 2014

Reflections from Presidents Academy

Approximately 50 leaders from across the fraternity and sorority community gathered at Camp Canadenis for Presidents Academy, a weekend leadership retreat, in early September.  Participants explored Kouzes and Posner's Five Exemplary Practices of Leadership; built relationships across chapters and councils; and identified a number of challenges facing our community as well as opportunities to address those challenges.  Below are some reflections from participants. 

President’s Academy was truly an eye-opening experience for me. As a chapter president who is already halfway through my term, I thought I already knew the basics of being a leader in the Greek community. What I realized is that there is so much more to learn from my peers and advisors, and we as leaders have the power to use this new knowledge to make some lasting impacts on our chapters and the community as a whole. I am not only more prepared but also more motivated to start this year with the right mindset and methods for successful growth. - Leah Tranovich, Pi Beta Phi President 

I'll admit it: I wasn't excited about this weekend. I'm not a naturally outgoing person and ice breakers usually make me want to run screaming in the opposite direction. It didn't help that I had class until 4pm and had to be that kid that walked on the bus last and tried to not awkwardly find an open place to sit.
But then something unexpected happened: I had one of the best weekends I can remember in a long time. In a group of 55 of Lehigh's Greek Leaders, I spoke up. I made my voice heard. I made jokes, I laughed. I opened up about things that I hadn't told anyone. I rethought how I saw others, further developed and expressed ideas I've been passionate about but never felt I had the right people to tell. I taught a group of surprised fraternity presidents about the often ridiculous rules of sorority recruitment, ate some questionable food (it was perfectly reasonable to confuse that hot sauce for salad dressing...), and celebrated the 21st birthday of one of my best friends. Rarely do we get a chance to do any of these things, let alone all of them over less than 48 hours. 
I went into this weekend dreading what I was going to experience. I left with a support system of 54 other Greek Leaders, people that I can't wait to spend my senior year with. Thank you so much to Stefanie, Tim, Ashley, Carter, Jen, and Elizabeth for giving us this chance to have the conversations we needed to have. I'm so ready for the amazing year we're going to have and all the great things this group is going to do. - Elizabeth Campbell, Panhellenic Council VP Greek Relations 

Presidents Academy will undoubtedly be one of my fondest memories at Lehigh. I have never felt more connected or more able to make positive change in my life. This weekend made me proud to go Greek, even though it was later in my college career than most Lehigh students. Thank you Lehigh for supporting the Greek tradition and continually challenging us to make ourselves better. - Olivia Hodina, Kappa Delta President 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Update on Phi Kappa Theta

On two separate occasions (August 21, 2014 & September 6, 2014), the Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity hosted parties at an off campus residence. At those events hard alcohol, beer (in kegs), and wine were available and provided without control or monitoring. During both of these events brothers of Phi Kappa Theta sang a drinking song to other members that encouraged them to consume large quantities of alcohol. The lyrics to the song included a chant “He’s gay, he’s gay, he’s gay as fuck”.    

Information about the first incident was forwarded anonymously to Lehigh University’s Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.  Information about the second incident was reported to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Expectations by the Lehigh University Police Department.  Upon receiving this information, Lehigh University conducted an investigation into these incidents.

Phi Kappa Theta met with Assistant Dean of Students Chris Mulvhill on Friday, September 25th for a pre-hearing conference and have been charged with the following Code of Conduct violations:

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.

Basis of Charge: The actions of the organization and its members failed to reflect social responsibility in that they did not monitor the alcohol at their party in regards to access by those under 21 or those who may have been intoxicated. Additionally, the organization and its members encouraged attendees to consume large quantities of alcohol, and used language that showed a lack of respect to members of the University community.

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

Basis of Charge: The Lehigh University Harassment Policy prohibits discrimination based on age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital or familial status, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.  (Section 1.1)

One form of harassment that is prohibited under this policy is the creation of a Hostile Work, Learning, Co-curricular, Social or Living Environment. The policy states that a hostile environment occurs when a member of the Lehigh University community or a guest is subjected to unwelcome statements, jokes, gestures, pictures, touching, or other conducts that offend, demean, harass, or intimidate. Harassment includes offensive verbal or physical conduct that has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance, or has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.  (Section 2.1)

In this case an anonymous community member who was in attendance at the party on August 21, 2014 sent a digital video recording of members of Phi Kappa Theta singing a song which included a chant that said, " He’s gay, he’s gay, he’s gay as fuck”. The person who sent this video indicated that they felt harassed and asked that the University investigate. LUPD heard this song again on September 6, 2014 when stopping to investigate a loud party prior to the Lehigh football game. Upon investigation it was confirmed by six of the seven students interviewed that this song is sung on many occasions including chapter members birthdays and other "special occasions" and that the lyrics always include " He’s gay, he’s gay, he’s gay as fuck”. This shows that not only was this harassing language it is also an ongoing and persistent occurrence. (Section 2.1.2)

Respect for Others D1 (Hazing): Violation of the Definition of Hazing found in the Lehigh University Code of Conduct:
Hazing is any action taken or situation created, whether on or off campus, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule. Hazing includes but is not limited to any brutality of a physical nature, such as paddling, whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug or other substance, or any other forced physical activity that would subject the individual to physical harm or mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct which could result in extreme embarrassment, or any other forced activity which would adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual. Among prohibited activities are forced or coerced activities which create excessive fatigue; cause physical and psychological shocks; involve kidnapping; involve morally questionable quests, treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, or any other such activities; involve publicly wearing apparel that is conspicuous and not normally in good taste; cause students to engage in public stunts and buffoonery, morally degrading or humiliating games and activities, or late night activities which interfere with scholastic activities. Also prohibited are any activities that are in violation of federal, state, or local laws, this Code of Conduct, or accepted standards of good taste or propriety. For purposes of this definition, any activity described in this paragraph upon which the admission into or affiliation with an organization is directly or indirectly conditioned shall be presumed to be "forced or coerced" activity, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.

Basis of Charge: During the investigation of these incidents it was confirmed by six of the seven members that the song with the lyrics, "He’s gay, he’s gay, he’s gay as fuck," accompanied by an encouragement to consume large quantities of alcohol occurred on many occasions with nearly all members of the organization at one time or another. One brother spoke about “being able to avoid it by his birthday falling near a break” and another said that “everyone knows that it is what they will do on their birthday." When asked about drinking when the song is sung a member said, “You don’t have to, but if you’re hearing that song, then yeah you kinda have to.”
These actions meet the definition of hazing in the following manner: It was an action taken off campus to produce mental or physical discomfort and embarrassment and ridicule. Furthermore, it was forced or coerced consumption of liquor, drug, or other substance because continued membership in the fraternity was indirectly conditioned upon drinking the alcohol.  Individuals participate in this birthday song ritual due to their membership in the fraternity.  As stated in the hazing definition, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity does not preclude the action from being hazing.

Respect for Community J1 (Encouraging Others): Encouraging or facilitating others in actions that violate the Code of Conduct.
Basis of Charge: The Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity hosted off campus parties on two occasions (August 21, 2014 and September 6, 2014) in which large quantities of alcohol were present for consumption by any attendees. By failing to monitor or control the alcohol at these events Phi Kappa Theta encouraged violation of the Code of Conduct in several ways: students under 21 consuming alcohol and students of any age consuming alcohol in an unhealthy manner. Furthermore encouraging and/or coercing members to chug quantities of alcohol also encourages unhealthy consumption.

Respect for Self A1 (Unauthorized Consumption, Distribution, or Possession) The unauthorized or illegal consumption, distribution, or possession of alcohol.
Basis of Charge: The Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity hosted an off campus event in which various types of alcohol was available to any attendees regardless of age. The chapter's failure to ID guests, or provide any control as well as the fact that a significant portion of both the organization and the student body (the guests at the party) are under 21 it makes it likely that people under 21 were provided alcohol.

Respect for Self B1 (Unhealthy Consumption) The consumption or distribution of alcohol or other drugs in a manner detrimental to one's health and safety (or the health and safety of others).

Basis of Charge: The Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity provided large quantities of alcohol (including hard alcohol and grain punch) to guests without supervision or control. Additionally the organization and its members repeatedly engaged in the singing of a song that encouraged chapter members to chug alcohol.
The social chair of the fraternity reported that there was table set up for beer pong. Drinking games encourage the unhealthy consumption of alcohol.

Respect for Community A1 (False Information)   Intentionally furnishing false information to a university official, hearing panel, or conduct officer.

Basis of Charge: During the investigation of this case, one of the witnesses, a member of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity, provided false information to the investigators. He was charged with violations of the Code and admitted responsibility.  As a member of the organization the organization is accountable for his actions via the accountability statement in the Lehigh University Code of Conduct (Article II, Section 1. Part G).
The accountability statement reads, "Organizational Accountability. Any group or organization may be held accountable for the actions of any of its members if the violation of this Code of Conduct is in any way related to the group or organization. Group misconduct need not be officially approved by the entire membership in order to be considered grounds for possible disciplinary action against the group. There is no minimum number of group members who must be involved in an incident before disciplinary action may be taken against the entire group. In some instances, the conduct of a single member may provide sufficient grounds for action against the entire group. An appropriate but not exhaustive test to determine whether a group may be held accountable for the conduct of individuals is to ask whether it is likely that the individuals would have been involved in the incident if they were not members of the group or, if, by group action, the incident was encouraged, fostered, or might have been prevented."

The accountability statement applies in this manner: A student member of Phi Kappa Theta was asked to provide information regarding this case. By his own admission he provided false information. The accountability statement provides an appropriate test to determine if the organization should be held accountable for the actions of its members: 1) Was an action taken; 2) Is it likely that the individuals would have been involved in this incident if they were not members of the group;.
1)      Was an action taken? YES – the student provided false information.
2)      Is it likely that he would have been involved if he were not a member of the organization? NO – if the student was not a member of the organization he would not have been called as a witness or had any reason to lie about his actions or the actions of other members.

Furthermore Article V, Section III, part D of the Code of Conduct states, "Organizations are responsible for insuring that their members provide truthful and complete information when providing information to a hearing panel or the Conduct Officer." In this case a member of the organization did not do so therefore Phi Kappa Theta is charged with this violation.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Million Minute Challenge

The Interfraternity Council, Multicultural Greek Council, and Panhellenic Council have banded together to challenge the Lehigh fraternity and sorority community to reach a goal of 1,000,000 minutes of completed service over the course of the 2014-2015 academic year. 

What does 1,000,000 minutes of service mean? 
16,667 hours between three councils. 
618 hours per chapter. 
8 hours per chapter member in a year. 
4 hours per chapter member each semester. 

If we all work together in this challenge, we can reach our common goal of serving our local community in a greater extent. Chapters can log completed service hours via on online form accessed on the OFSA homepage ( in the bottom right hand corner or by clicking on the following link: 

Updates on where our community stands within this challenge will be provided throughout the year.  Currently, 7 chapters have logged 12,240 minutes!!  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thoughts from a QUΣST Guide

Marty Melochick, QUΣST Guide ’13 & ‘14, shares his thoughts on the latest QUΣST PreLUsion program in the reflection below:

QUΣST is like the other PreLUsion programs in that it is for first year students who want to spend time with others with similar interests and would like to move in to Lehigh a few days before everyone else, but there is so much more to QUΣST that makes it such an unforgettable experience. QUΣST is for these incoming first-years to learn more about Greek Life in general and primarily at Lehigh, but throughout the three days the
students learn much more about themselves and establish some great friendships in the process. Being a QUΣST guide for the past two years has been one of the best choices I have made during my time at Lehigh, and through it I have built tight friendships with the other guides and especially with the participants.

The journey this year began with the five guides: Gladys Castellon, Morgan Coonrad, Kane Kuharik, Shannon Varcoe, and myself; getting to know one another and preparing for the exhausting, yet very rewarding, following three days. We made sure we had all the supplies and that the logistics were all figured out, and we even got to play some of the games that the first-years played during their challenge! The following day, after all the participants were moved into their residence halls, we met at House 104 to
begin their QUΣST towards becoming more knowledgeable about Greek Life at Lehigh University.

The group of 15 students was willing and ready to be vulnerable and even act a little silly right from the beginning with the icebreakers. This was the catalyst for ensuring the next three days were going to be successful. As the first day proceeded with discussions about a bit of the history of Greek Life at Lehigh, recruitment and intake, and some self-recognition, the participants were very engaged and surprised us all with how much they already knew about what it means to be a member of a Greek organization. Then
the real fun began...

The QUΣSTers were then split up into four teams, and the QUΣST Challenge began. The first day consisted of Minute to Win It and Hollywood Game Night games with Lehigh Greek Life themes, which were both very fun and amusing and also informative. On the second day of the Challenge, we all went to Philadelphia, which was unanimously chosen as the best day of QUΣST! In Philadelphia, there was a Greek Alumni Panel
during which the QUΣSTers had the opportunity to ask the young alumni questions of what Greek Life was like for them and lessons learned from being a member of the Lehigh Greek Community.

After the panel, the participants split back into their teams and went on a scavenger hunt around Philadelphia, ranging from Pat’s and Geno’s Cheesesteak restaurants to the Liberty Bell and Philly’s historic Reading Terminal Market. This served as a great way for everyone to explore the City of Brotherly Love and for the QUΣSTers to learn more about themselves and others on their teams in a fun, competitive environment.

On the third day, QUΣST culminated with the QUΣSTers recapping all that they learned during the first two days and putting it to action. They first took a Leadership Practices Inventory and a values inventory. Then we all went to North Bethlehem to the Kemerer Museum to help with anything they needed. Having that opportunity showed the QUΣSTers that their actions collectively can have a huge impact, and that is exactly what being a member of a fraternity or sorority is all about.

We did a lot during QUΣST in just three short days, and I could not ask for a better way to have started my senior year than working with Tim Wilkinson, Stefanie Burke, the other facilitators, and all of the QUΣSTers! I am certain we all had so many positive takeaways from those first few days, and I am very excited to see all the QUΣSTers reach their full potential and become outstanding members of the Lehigh Community and
potentially the Lehigh Greek Community!

Marty Melochick, QUΣST Guide ’13 & ‘14

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Get Involved with the New Mentorship Program from the Pride Center

The Pride Center is launching a new membership program and is hoping to reach some students affiliated with fraternities and sororities that may identify as LGBTQIA, but don't necessarily wish to associate with the Rainbow Room or Pride Center.  This is an opportunity for them to connect one-on-one with a faculty or staff member. More information is included below: 

In partnership with the Lehigh Faculty/Staff Pride Network, The Pride Center is launching a new Mentorship Program for LGBTQIA students.  The program will offer students a chance to connect one-on-one with a faculty or staff member and receive guidance to develop and manage their academic, professional, and personal growth.  If you are interested in finding out more about the program, The Pride Center will be holding short half-hour informational sessions in September.  RSVP to a session below by emailing Kim Ketterer (

Information sessions for Faculty and Staff Mentors

September 8, 4:15-4:45pm
September 16, 4:15-4:45pm

Information session for Students
September 11, 4:15-4:45pm
September 17, 4:15-4:45pm

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Greek Week Incorporates Service

This year our fraternities and sororities are incorporating service into Greek Week and will be participating in Day of Caring on Thursday, September 11, 2014. This service experience has been made possible thanks to a partnership with the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.  

Day of Caring will consist of a kick-off lunch hosted by the Community Service Office at 12PM (Location TBD), and then groups of volunteers will serve the community from 1-4PM.  There will be many different volunteer projects scattered around the Lehigh Valley for us to participate in and, in order to make this volunteer experience successful, we are asking for a minimum of 10 volunteers per chapter.  Each chapter is responsible for their own transportation.

Community service chairs should register as their chapter's respective team leader here. Community service chairs should then choose which event their chapter would like to participate in here

NOTE: Because this is our first year partnering with the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, it is imperative that we have a strong representation from each chapter. This event can either be an amazing opportunity to show our local community that Lehigh Greeks are thoughtful and caring individuals, or by the same token we can easily show these organizations and our community that we aren't responsible. Let’s have a great time by showing the Lehigh Valley that our Greek community is comprised of outstanding individuals.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Rob Solis at or Elizabeth Campbell at