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Report of the Greek Life Steering Committee - Overview

June 27, 2001


The critical issues concerning Greek organizations at Dartmouth College are not new; nevertheless, fundamental change has been avoided for a number of years. The committee recognizes that an instant solution does not exist. However, the rich store of statistical data and anecdotal comments argues against more study and more rhetoric. In April of 2000, the Board of Trustees provided direction and impetus to the development of solutions to these long standing issues through the Student Life Initiative. At the direction of the Board of Trustees, the Office of Residential Life formed a Greek Life Steering Committee early in the Fall Term of 2000 to develop new practices and standards that would result in a significantly improved Greek letter system at Dartmouth. Throughout seven months of debate and deliberations the thirty-one-member committee worked collaboratively to develop an over-arching vision and a set of operational principles. A values-based foundation, encapsulated within the Guiding Principles, provided the essential tool for subsequent phases of the committee's work (see Appendix C for a complete description of the committee and its methods). The committee's plan is designed so that effective September 2001, Dartmouth College Greek organizations will have three years to adopt principles, practices and procedures that assure social responsibility, and full participation in the College community.

The framework for the development of healthy and successful Greek organizations presented in this report focuses on relationships, resources, programs, expectations, and administrative support. More explicitly, the committee has constructed a three-year quality improvement plan including tangible strategies for assisting Greek organizations. This plan provides for annual assessment to evaluate the incremental progress of each organization. While the improvement strategies are ambitious; we believe they can be implemented within the next three years. A majority of the Greek organizations at Dartmouth are ready to embrace higher expectations, to work toward significant improvements and to be held accountable to their own values and those of Dartmouth College. Groups who choose to maintain the status quo will find their organizations faced with a short-lived future.

The Guiding Principles: A Resounding Consensus

The Guiding Principles are a composite of the Dartmouth College mission statement; the five value statements from the Committee on the Student Life Initiative Report, including The Dartmouth College Principle of Community; and individual chapters' mission statements or statements of purpose. The Guiding Principles received the unanimous support of the committee.

Dartmouth College: Greek Community Guiding Principles

As participants in the Dartmouth College community, we are all responsible for seeking individually creative and innovative ways of engaging in campus life while simultaneously serving as stewards of a common set of values. The Dartmouth College Greek community exists to complement the educational mission of the institution, to enhance the quality of campus life, and to provide opportunities for social interaction that result in personal growth. As members of the Dartmouth community, Greek members agree to uphold the following commitments:

Scholarship - to the pursuit of knowledge, with individual academic excellence as the primary goal.

Leadership Development - to fostering skill development for use within the Greek community and the broader community.

Service/Philanthropy - to fostering an ethic of support and care through community involvement and outreach.

Brotherhood/Sisterhood - to establishing and nurturing lifelong friendships among all members.

Inclusivity - to building a community that embraces diversity and appreciates differences in thought and opinion.

Accountability - to dealing responsibly with choices, decisions, and actions, and to maintain the integrity of these principles by insisting that all members live up to them both in spirit and action. It is understood that Greek organizations are accountable to Dartmouth College and the Dartmouth community, to the membership of each individual organization, and to their Greek peers.

The Guiding Principles in Practice

With the Guiding Principles as a foundation, six student-chaired subcommittees developed methods and practices for organizations to employ as they transform themselves over the course of the next three years. The following are only a sample of the tangible strategies the Greek community will employ (the exemplars noted below are explained in detail in the Strategies for Implementing the Greek Community Guiding Principles):

  • A Grade Point Average of 2.30 will be the standard for Greek participation.
  • As of January of 2002, individual students will need to have at least a cumulative 2.30 grade point average, or a 2.3 term grade point average during the term immediately preceding rush in order to participate in recruitment activities or join an organization.
  • Organizations must maintain at least an aggregate 2.30 chapter GPA to maintain their organizational privileges.
  • Council leaders will assist organizations in establishing a Faculty Mentor program for their members.
  • The Greek Councils and the Office of Residential Life should consult more frequently with the Office of Alumni Relations. This partnership will serve as a tool in supporting Greek organizations in their quest to recruit additional alumni advisors, and to communicate with their alumni more effectively.
  • Individual organizations will be required to have an established active advisor or advisory board in place by the end of Winter Term of 2002.
  • Each organization and Greek Council will expand or establish the position and duties of Service/ Philanthropy Chair.
  • An executive leadership position should be dedicated to further integrating service and philanthropy as a responsibility of the Greek community.
  • Greek community events will specifically include service among their regular activities.
  • It is our firm conclusion that hazing has no place in any organization. Greek organizations support the value of brotherhood and sisterhood, and therefore, must not tolerate any form of hazing.
  • The president of each organization will be responsible for assuring that inclusivity is a priority in the way the organization conducts itself in all endeavors.
  • The best public relations plans are communicated through one-on-one student interactions. In order to recruit, retain, and to promote the value of inclusivity and diversity, Greek students must begin focusing on recruitment as a year-long process, and acting consistently with these values at all times.
  • By the end of the Fall Term of 2001, each Greek organization must have created a Code of Conduct. This document will list inappropriate actions and their consequences. The Code will clarify both tangible and ethical infringements.
  • Clearer communication of all policies on all levels is necessary; making policies available on-line may increase student accessibility to this information.
  • The administration must be supportive and consistent; they too must follow and support the rules that they create. Open, honest dialogue is crucial to develop a trusting partnership between the Greek community and the administration.
  • The current social event monitoring process is not working. By the end of the Summer Term of 2001, Greek Council leaders, Office of Residential Life staff, Safety and Security staff, and other College staff, will assess, revise, and rewrite the social event monitoring protocols for both the Greek community roving peer monitors and the Safety and Security monitoring officers. These monitoring procedures will be implemented upon completion.
  • Additionally, the Greek community should host at least one "expert" educational speaker a term for their members, with a special emphasis on speakers addressing risky behaviors within Greek organizations. Similarly, all New Members should receive risk management education within the first two weeks of association with the Greek community.
  • In addition to implementing the preceding strategies, the Greek community needs to communicate the actions and progress towards fulfilling the aims of this quality improvement plan. Therefore, the committee recommends that the Greek community execute a comprehensive public relations effort. The Greek Councils should communicate the progress of the Greek community as frequently and as broadly as possible.

Assessment, Evaluation, & Implementation

Assessment and evaluation are important components for the Greek community. The implementation process will be carried out in the following fashion:

  • 1. The Office of Residential Life will be responsible for collecting base-line data from every Greek organization throughout Spring, Summer, and Fall Terms of 2001. The completed data will provide detailed descriptions of programs, activities, and organizational management practices currently employed in each organization.
  • 2. Greek organizations will submit an annual Action Plan based on the Greek Community's six Guiding Principles to the Office of Residential Life by November 1, 2001. The Office of Residential Life, in conjunction with leaders from each organization, will review this plan for realistic and achievable goals. Action Plans that do not explicitly focus on progress towards meeting the Guiding Principles and striving for excellence will not be accepted.
  • 3. Action Plans will be filed with the Office of Residential Life. Each organization is responsible for successfully completing its Action Plan within the allotted time. Subsequent due dates for plans will be coordinated with the overall administration of Greek organizations.
  • 4. Upon expiration of an annual Action Plan, the membership of each organization will go through a review process with the Office of Residential Life. The Office of Residential Life will compare baseline data with actual implementation of the Action Plan. This progress and evaluation will be the basis for constructing the subsequent year's Action Plan. Progress must be indicated in all areas to continue to receive organizational privileges and/or recognition. Repeated problems or failure to fulfill Action Plans will be grounds for withdrawal of recognition.
  • 5. In order to assist organizations in preparing their first Annual Action Plan, an Action Plan Advisory Group will be formed beginning in the Summer term of 2001. This group, with the assistance of the Office of Residential Life staff, will assist Greek organizations in completing their Action Plans by November 1, 2001. The advisory group will be charged with identifying potential pitfalls in organizational Action Plans. The Advisory Group will work to match organizations with the expertise of Dartmouth officials and offices. Additionally, the Advisory Group will offer suggestions to organizations based on the information and ideas presented by the Greek Life Steering Committee and its sub-committees.
  • 6. Throughout the initial phase of Action Plan development and report implementation, the Action Plan Advisory Group will be readily available to explain the rationale of the Greek Life Steering Committee report, and to serve as a sounding board for Greek organizations as they develop their Action Plans.
  • 7. An Action Plan guidebook/ manual will be generated and made available to both the Action Plan Advisory Group, and every Greek organization. This guidebook will be provided with all of the suggestions generated from the Steering Committee process. It will serve as a resource tool as organizations develop their Action Plans. In addition to the resources provided by the Office of Residential Life, organizations will be encouraged to avail themselves to the resources and expertise of the various offices and officials of the College. This may include, but is not limited to: Health Services, Tucker Foundation, Women's Resource Center, Career Services, Student Life, and the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office.

Facility Baseline Data

The Fuller physical plant audits, commissioned as a result of the April 2000 letter from the Board of Trustees, are providing an excellent base-line assessment of the Greek facilities. Periodic evaluation of the physical plant will continue as an important aspect of administering Greek organizations through the Office of Residential Life. The committee acknowledges the distinctions between the physical plant aspects and the organizational viability aspects of Greek participation. With respect to this report we have separated organizational issues from physical plant issues. The intention of separating these factors was to deliberately concentrate on the collective organizational characteristics of each of the twenty-five Greek organizations. All Greek groups will be held to a consistent set of ideals and expectations regardless of their residential occupancy.

Last updated: 01/24/05