Ric Hall, the vice provost of student affairs, met with leaders within the Greek community to discuss the 10-point plan for Greek Life Excellence on Monday, March 4, 2019. Greek members said they have some concerns over the proposed plan. (Alexis McGowan/B&W Staff)

Greek leaders respond to 10-point plan

7

The new 10-Point Plan for Greek Excellence that was released by the Office of Student Affairs Tuesday morning sparked backlash from fraternity and sorority members.

Ricardo Hall, vice provost for Student Affairs, discussed the proposed plan of in a meeting with executive members of the Greek community in a conference Monday night, preceding the release of the plan in an email to the rest of the Lehigh community the following day. The plan outlines 10 ways to create a better Greek life at Lehigh. Members of the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council and the Cultural Greek Council were in attendance on Monday, as well as the presidents of individual chapters.

Caroline Carlton, ’21, president of Alpha Omicron Pi, said there was concern during the meeting over the lack of detail provided by Hall. She noted that people were disappointed by the fact that their voices in the meeting did not seem to be heard.

“People do realize it is a positive and idealistic plan, but a big concern was the fact that they presented this plan and then decided they were going to release it the next day no matter how the conversation went,” Carlton said.

President of Panhel Emily Brown, ’19, said Hall presented his plan in terms of future excellence, but the chapter presidents left the meeting most concerned about how their members would react to these changes in the short term.

President of IFC Matt Tracy, ’19, said there was a positive response to most of the points of the plan that address systemic issues concerning Greek Life. However, one of the topics that struck a chord with many students present at the meeting, Tracy said, was the decision to add live-in Graduate Assistants to sorority and fraternity houses.

“I personally don’t think that this will prevent anything,” Tracy said. “At the Beta Theta Pi house at Penn State, there was a live-in GA when Tim Piazza passed away.”

However, Tracy said there is a misconception about the role that GA’s will play while living in these houses.

“A lot of people believe the university is going to choose someone to spy on them,” Tracy said. “None of this is true. They are there in the event of a crisis in case someone needs help. They aren’t there to shut down the parties or do room searches.”

Austin Leopold, ’21, president of Delta Chi, said he believes that people looking in from an outside perspective may believe the university is pushing rules and regulations onto the student body that they are not ready for.  However, he noted that the university is making an attempt to look out for the welfare of the student population.

Brown agreed that the school is acting in good faith with the implementation of this plan, but suggested that “intention versus impact” is important to consider.

“It’s a lot of temporary fixes,” Brown said. “If we want to work toward a cultural shift, then there’s a lot more work to be done that won’t fit inside a 10-point plan. That’s on us at this point, since the school has shown that they are willing to dedicate the resources.”

Carlton said there are positive aspects of the plan, but it will bring a lot of good publicity to the school without addressing the actual issues concerning the problems behind Greek life.

There was a significant outcry from the Greek community, Leopold said, but noted that there will always be backlash when an institution tries to change an existing culture. He said opening up the dialogue between Greek organizations and Hall is important when making major changes.

“I really hope that he will continue to work with us because there were times in the past few months that he wasn’t always too open to discussion,” Leopold said. “At times, the conversation was inclusive, and at times, I felt a little bit in the dark about what they were doing.”

Tracy said he believes the administration is working hard to do great things for the future of this school. However, he said the university hasn’t always paid attention paid to the current students and what they require.

“Leadership isn’t supposed to be about you and your agenda, it’s about the people that you’re serving,” Tracy said. “As of right now, we don’t feel as if we’re being served nor do we feel like we’re being led.”

Tracy said Hall once told him that people will always be averse to change, so it’s about figuring out what good change actually looks like.

“For me, good change looks like change where the people who are closest to the problem have a say in the solution,” Tracy said.

Comment policy


Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.

7 Comments

  1. Amy Charles '89 on

    It’s amazing how blind the Greek groups are to the historical wrecking ball that’s headed their way, and to the fact that this is a last-ditch effort at preserving them, or at least letting them subside gently.

    • There Amy goes with her condescension! Amy, at 50+ years of age, do you not have better things to do on a Saturday at 2:00 pm and then 8:45 pm than to read and comment on a college newspaper article?

      God forbid you should sympathize with the concerns of nearly a third of the student population. Whether or not you think it’s idiotic of them to drink to excess, that’s their decision (and mistake, in some cases) to make as young adults. They’re in college. Leave them be.

      • We were just “Leaving them be”…..I’d like to see how that works out as a defense in the multitude of parental (and other) lawsuits that would follow a serious “mistake” like the tragic Piazza incident.

        Amy is indeed condescending and snarky much of the time…she’s also scarily well informed and often correct.

  2. Students should do what we did in the late 60’s and early 70’s and rebel against the admin.

    The ‘hazing definition” and “good Samaritan” provisions employed by Lehigh are among the poorest constructed in the country – which causes many of the problems being dealt with. For example “hazing” includes many innocuous activities such as wearing the same color clothing and “good Samaritan” provisions do not provide relief from sanctions as it should. But Lehigh does not really want to improve and foster Greek life or it could make these changes.

    The admin should just be honest with newly admitted students, current students, and alumni and declare that Lehigh is intent on ending greek life.

    So students how do you fight this? To rebel greek students should disaffiliate and form secret societies and operate these groups separately from Lehigh. Why are students’ social lives of such concern of the admin? The admin will use risk and safety to scare parents into agreeing with the grab of your freedoms and their cash (for extra years on campus – Bethlehem is not safe for students to live in unless you are in campus housing). LU should concentrate on improve its slipping USWR ratings and reducing tuition increases.

    Students, preserve your rights to free association and pursuit of happiness by going underground with your social organizations. Many great secret societies exist at other colleges – do your research and create your own.

  3. Hall is not interested in real solutions; the 10-point plan is largely window dressing and paints all groups–multicultural Greeks and Panhel sororities with the same broad brush to address what is primarily (and before it starts, I’m not saying exclusively), bad actors in the fraternity community. The OFSA office has one junior staff member running the show after more senior staff left in the fall — so it strains credulity that Hall is committed to helping Greeks thrive when the office is so woefully understaffed. Amy might be right about that wrecking ball.

Leave a Comment

More in News
Paige Van Wirt announces bid for second term on Bethlehem council

This article is part of a series of The Brown and White to profile current Bethlehem council members running for re-election in...

Close