When Ohio State suspended social activities for all 37 of its Interfraternity Council chapters following 11 investigations into fraternities for violations of the Code of Student Conduct, nobody knew how long the suspension would last.
It wasn’t until Friday, when the university released its plan for IFC chapters to follow in order to lift the suspension, that those involved in fraternities were given more details on how to regain good-standing, meaning they could once again participate in social and recruitment activities.
Suspending all IFC chapters was an unprecedented move at the time. For a university to suspend activity for all chapters with no one incident or lightning-rod moment was rare, even with today’s heightened awareness of hazing and drinking on college campuses.
A few weeks after the suspension, IFC President Drew Cooper said he was completely surprised by the decision from university administrators and didn’t expect anything like that to happen.
But Cooper said he thought the temporary suspension was a good idea and fraternity chapters at Ohio State had a lot to work on to present themselves as model citizens of the university’s large community.
Since the suspension, Cooper said he has worked with chapter presidents to create a plan and new practices in order to obtain reinstatement.
In a letter to chapter presidents notifying them of the suspension Nov. 16, Ryan Lovell, Ohio State’s senior director of Sorority and Fraternity Life, called the suspension a moment to “pause to reflect and create individual, actionable strategies for the future.”
Now, it appears the 37 chapters have done just that in the short time since the suspension was handed down a month ago.
Ohio State’s plan to lift the suspension includes several requirements that need to be met before each chapter can begin recruitment and social activities next semester.
Cooper said in a statement that he believes this action plan presented by Ohio State will provide the necessary changes for social activity to begin again.
Cooper also said he was pleased that Ohio State’s action plan contained many elements of the presentation IFC presidents gave to university administrators Nov. 29.
The action plan outlines changes to several key components of fraternity life.
Each chapter must submit revised policies and plans to SFL leadership before recruitment can take place.
Those plans must include a vision statement with each chapter’s organizational values, a healthy and safe recruitment plan and alcohol and hazing prevention plans.
They must describe in detail their recruitment process, as well as provide a list of official events associated with recruitment complete with the date, time and location of each event.
As part of the action plan, IFC chapters must now submit the statements and procedures to the SFL website, which is publicly available.
New Member Activities
The new-member period is a critical time for Greek communities, communities. Following recruitment, new members learn about their chapter’s history, practices and rules before officially initiated as chapter members.
As such, Ohio State made it a point to include several new policies focused on anti-hazing education and hazing prevention during this period.
Additionally, each chapter must describe the new member process and give the overview to SFL.
Just like for recruitment activities, each event with new members must be posted publicly.
Planning of Recruitment and New Member Activities
Each chapter will now be tasked with meeting and presenting its plans to SFL.
“Chapter leadership, as defined below, will schedule a meeting with SFL to review and discuss recruitment and new member education plans,” according to the action plan given to chapter presidents Friday.
Moving forward, SFL also will meet with IFC chapter officers for “roundtables” to discuss procedures and practices at least once a semester, likely within the first two weeks of each semester.
Social Culture of Organization
Social calendars must now be made and approved by SFL each semester. The first calendar must be approved before the suspension can be lifted.
The calendar must list all alcohol involved events for the semester and is limited to 20 events with alcohol present between two time windows: Aug. 15 through Dec. 31, and Jan. 1 through Aug. 14.
It is unclear how many events were allowed to have alcohol before, or if the university or IFC recorded the number.
Monitoring and Continuing Education
“Outcomes” of Code of Student Conduct investigations will now be made public, as well.
The public post will include date of an investigation outcome, the organization’s name, the section of the code that was violated and the consequence and length of punishment.
Any organization suspended or put on any kind of sanction also will be listed from here on out.
Pre-membership education programs will now be required for all Greek communities, including both fraternities and sororities.
“SFL, in conjunction with sorority and fraternity student leaders, will create mandatory pre-membership education modules for potential new members,” the action plan stated.
The modules will include, but are not limited to, the following topics: anti-hazing education, alcohol use and misuse, social event and risk management policies, sexual misconduct, academic requirements, founding history of Greek letter organizations and Ohio State Greek community overview.
Finally, to assure these standards, SFL will work with the Greek community at Ohio State to evaluate the new practices put in place and develop new ways to measure each chapter.