Thursday, April 28, 2016

Staff Update: Carter Gilbert

We're excited to share that, in recognition of his excellent work and commitment to inclusive leadership, Carter Gilbert will be shifting roles on our staff and will be moving into the Assistant Director of Greek Leadership position within the Office of Student Leadership Development (OSLD). Carter is deeply committed to social justice in a leadership context and also understands the potential of the fraternity and sorority experience to develop culturally aware leaders that are necessary for Lehigh and our pluralistic community.

Carter has been an Assistant Director in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (OFSA) since July 2014. Within this role, Carter served as advisor to the Multicultural Greek Council, Greek Allies, and 11 organizations, and he has strong relationships with students from across these groups and beyond. Carter has been the driving force behind the latest reiteration of Courageous Conversations, and the program's recent successes can be attributed to Carter's dedication and commitment to social justice and advocacy work. In addition, Carter has been engaged in a collateral position in the OSLD for the 2015-2016 academic year, focused on the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership (MSL) data and how the results can impact and influence our leadership work at Lehigh.

To provide some context to the position, the assistant director of Greek leadership position is certainly unique, as it is housed in the OSLD, and has significant responsibilities with the fraternity and sorority community. This position approaches the work with fraternities and sororities and other peer education programs with a willingness to dive into both OSLD and OFSA to coordinate Greek student leadership programs, advise and coach councils, chapters, and individual Greek students on leadership topics, supervise the leadership consultants and other peer education programs. There is a strong focus on inclusive leadership, collaboration, and leadership advocacy.

We believe that Carter's strengths and experiences provide a truly great platform to further launch leadership development within our community. 
We're hosting an open dialogue with Carter next Monday, May 2nd at 12PM in B020, and all are welcome to attend. During this time, Carter will share some of his thoughts on his vision for the role, reasons he's excited, and ways he hopes to work with students and others moving forward. In addition, this would be a chance for you all to ask Carter questions as well.

Carter will be transitioning into this new position as of July 1st. Please join us in congratulating Carter on his new role!!

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.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Message Regarding Hazing Allegations + How to Report

Yesterday a number of individuals from across the campus community received an anonymous email from an individual alleging the ongoing and escalating hazing behavior occurring across fraternities at Lehigh. Hazing is inconsistent with the values inherent in fraternities and sororities as well as the University. Lehigh University does not condone hazing among any students or student organizations. It is also a path to extinction for groups that cannot or will not cease such behavior, and has most recently resulted in the dissolution of an Greek-lettered organization with a long history on our campus.

We take such allegations very seriously, and work in partnership with the Lehigh University Police Department alongside the Office of Student Conduct and Community Expectations to investigate all reports of hazing. No different than any other report we may receive, we are looking into this matter and will do our due diligence on this front.

I invite you to learn more about the University's efforts to transform hazing cultures by developing an evidence base for effective hazing prevention as apart of the Hazing Prevention Consortium. I also invite you to learn more about our hazing prevention efforts.
Lastly, if you have experienced or witnessed hazing, there are a number of reporting mechanisms available to you. They include (1) Submitting an anonymous a hazing reporting form; (2) Contacting the anonymous National Hazing Hotline at 888-NOT-Haze; and (3) Calling LUPD at 610-758-4200. As a reminder, our ability to conduct a thorough investigation is severely halted when we receive a claim with no details. We ask that you please report any and all alleged hazing incidents immediately and with all details possible so that we can complete a full investigation.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs by phone at 610-758-4157 or by email at