BLOOMSBURG, COLUMBIA COUNTY, (WBRE/WYOU) — Bloomsburg University is looking to maintain the health and safety of its students with immediate reforms to its Greek Life system, hoping to curb the potential for dangerous drinking, hazing, and sexual assault.
Safety will be the primary focus of the once private and unregulated Greek system. Initiatives at Bloomsburg were established following conversations with institutions that have already implemented such changes.
The Office of Greek Affairs will now be the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (OFSL), headed by Nicole Conenwett, Ph.D. and report directly to Bloomsburg University President Bashar Hanna.
Reforms effective immediately include:
1. Zero tolerance for hazing: Hazing that involves alcohol, physical abuse, or any behavior that puts a student’s mental or physical health at risk will result in swift permanent revocation of University recognition of the chapter. In determining violations, the University is using the legal definition of hazing under Pennsylvania law. Ongoing education of all members, as well as discussions about responsible behavior, will occur throughout the academic year.
2. Risk management policy development: OFSL will work with each chapter to develop risk management plans and policies to ensure safety for its members. These plans and policies must include the election of a standards chair and the creation of a chapter judicial board. Plans will be submitted for review and approval by the Offices of the DOS, OFSL, and CLE.
3. Recruitment: Chapters will create a recruitment plan, which will be submitted for review and approval by the Offices of the DOS, OFSL, and CLE before the start of each recruitment period. These recruitment plans which include such information as the recruitment goals and plans for recruitment education. Plans Students wishing to participate in recruitment must have 12 credits from a higher education institution or Bloomsburg University and a minimum GPA requirement of 2.5.
4. New Member Process: Chapters must review and revise their current new member plan new member period cannot begin for a chapter until they have submitted their plan for review and have received formal and written approval by the offices of DOS, OFSL, and CLE. New members must be initiated within one week of the conclusion of the six-week new member education period.
5. Chapter Operations: Each chapter must have a primary chapter advisor who is an alumna or alumnus of the organization or local chapter. The chapter advisor will join the monthly advisor conference calls and attend the spring chapter advisor training day. Additionally, all chapter officers must attend the officer training day offered each fall and spring semester.
6. Chapter Scholarship: Each chapter must have a University faculty member to serve as the chapter’s faculty advisor. Chapters will also submit an academic plan that includes academic standards and expectations for continued membership, academic support, and resources available to chapter members, and incentives and recognition for academic achievement.
7. Fraternity/Sorority Score Card: A scorecard will be posted on the OFSL that displays critical information to educate parents and potential new members. The information will include such information as total members, chapter GPA, and alcohol and hazing violations. Additionally, individuals who visit the website (bloomu.edu/ofsl)will be able to learn about the organization’s core values, status, community service efforts, and graduation rates. It is the expectation of the OFSL that chapters regularly report information about their chapters and their members.
8. Other Measures: There are also other measures being evaluated and developed by the University such as a social event policy, parent education and communication, relationship agreement for the recognition of social fraternities and sororities, an accreditation program that will detail the minimum criteria for chapters to be recognized by the university, and an OFSL strategic plan.
As the reforms are instituted, the fraternity and sorority systems will be on a probationary period for 18 months. Individuals and organizations not meeting the requirements will be held accountable via the student conduct process.
For more information, visit bloomu.edu/ofsl.