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Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns the fraternity and sorority houses?
Lehigh University owns all the fraternity and sorority houses. All University-owned houses are leased to Greek Alumni Associations on a yearly basis through the Office of Residential Services, which acts as landlord in coordinating billing services and managing leases, among other services.
Who is responsible for maintenance and repairs in the houses?
As owner and landlord of the houses, Lehigh is responsible for all day-to-day maintenance and repairs in University-owned houses. Facilities Services oversees a staff of maintenance technicians who perform maintenance services in the houses. The individual crafts include electric, carpentry, plumbing, locksmith, preventive maintenance and HVAC. On some occasions, outside contractors are also used. Fraternity and sorority members, usually through the house manager, are responsible for reporting repairs or maintenance that they are aware of in a timely fashion, but should not perform any maintenance repairs on their own. Students are responsible for maintaining a clean and safe living environment.
How are room charges, meal rates, and house and parlor fees set?
Room charge - The room charge for all fraternity and sorority members is set by the University, and it is the same amount for all residents of our Greek housing system. All fraternities and sororities as well as the residence halls are now included in a common residential financial system. The University projects the costs for the following services to determine the room charges: building maintenance, custodial services, utilities, insurance related to Lehigh's role as landlord (not to be confused with chapter or individual renter's insurance), trash removal, cable television, exterminator services, etc.

Meal rate and House and Parlor fees - Meal rate and House and Parlor fees are all set by the chapter leadership. These rates and fees cover the cost of supplying a meal plan to the house, as well as other important fraternity and sorority costs. These costs include: content insurance for house-owned items and other insurance costs related to lease-required coverage, recruitment, chapter supplies, business meeting expenses, misc. expenses, composite photography, national organization expenses, etc. The costs are then charged to all members as determined by the chapter.
Can I move in early?
The Office of Residential Services recognizes that specific individuals may need to be permitted to occupy their rooms earlier than the scheduled check-in. The Early Check-In Request Form will be available in mid July from the main page of the website. All requests must be received by the first Friday in August. List all details concerning your situation on the Early Check-In Request Form. Upon receipt of the form, the Office of Residential Services will review your request and notify you by e-mail if your request has been approved. If so, you will be informed of the date, time, and check-in location that has been scheduled for your arrival.
  • You must provide a legitimate reason for requiring early check-in. If check-in is approved, you will be charged $25 per night until the scheduled check-in.
  • Requests made after the deadline will incur a $25 late request fee.
  • If you arrive without prior approval, you will be fined $25 and charged $25 per night until the scheduled check-in.
Are the fraternity and sorority houses open over Pacing Break? Thanksgiving? Semester Break? Spring Break?
Fraternity and sorority houses are open over Pacing Break and Thanksgiving Break. Students who will be remaining on campus over Thanksgiving Break must register with Residential Services and obtain permission from the Alumni Corporation in writing. The availability of break housing over the Semester Break and Spring Break will be limited during the upcoming academic year to only students who are required to remain on campus for NCAA-sanctioned practices and events and/or international students. All other residents are expected to make alternative housing arrangements during these break periods.
Who is responsible for custodial services in the houses?
In both fraternity and sorority houses, a professional cleaning contractor will supply full cleaning services in the common areas of the houses five days per week and general cleanup and trash removal on weekends. This cleaning includes all hallways, stairwells, bathrooms, dining areas, and kitchens. NOTE: The cleaning in kitchens does not include pots, pans, dishes, dining tables, etc., which, along with other cleaning not handled by the contractor, are the responsibility of the chapter actives.
What is a P&E (Programs & Education) account?
Formally known as a PLA (Provided for Living Accommodations), P&E (Programs & Education) accounts were created by the Development Office and are used for Alumni contributions to be made to the University that indicate a specific house preference. P&E accounts receive (or are charged when the account runs in deficit) interest at four percent (4%) on the balance in the account at month end.

P&E funds can be used for purchasing common area furniture, discretionary leasehold improvements, and for educational purposes such as scholarships and house-sponsored programs. Approval to utilize P&E funds for projects must come from the Alumni and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, and all P&E donations are tax deductible.
What contracted services does the University provide to the fraternities and sororities?
Contracted services provided by the University include the following:
  • Annual cleaning of kitchen hood fans and duct work, as well as monthly hood filter service.
  • Trash and recycling pick-up
  • Cable TV service
  • Movie Channel
  • Extermination Services
  • Snow removal
  • Cleaning/custodial services
  • Grounds maintenance
What inspections does the University perform throughout the academic year?
The following inspections are performed by the University in all houses:
  • Monthly – emergency lighting
  • Monthly – fire extinguisher
  • Monthly – fire system (includes smoke and heat detectors, pull stations, horns and sprinklers)
  • Three times each semester – cleaning inspections
  • Two times each semester – Life Safety inspections in common areas
  • Once each semester – room inspections
Who is responsible for providing bedroom furniture in the houses?
The University is responsible for providing all bedroom furniture in all University-owned houses.
Can I bring my own bed or build a loft?
Each year, members of fraternity and sorority houses will be given the opportunity to request or deny a University-provided bed on their Housing Contract. Residents are permitted to construct lofts; however, they must meet University loft requirements.
Who is responsible for the common area furniture in the house?
Common area furnishings (furniture, area rugs, draperies, etc.) are the collective and shared responsibility of the chapter, including alumni, but must be reviewed and approved by the University through the Office of Residential Services, prior to any additions to the house.
Who develops long-term facilities maintenance and capital renewal plans?
The Offices of Residential Services and Facilities Services meet yearly to discuss the long-term facilities needs of each fraternity and sorority house. Input is solicited from maintenance staff and other University personnel, as well as from alumni and undergraduates. The VFA report (an independent engineering analysis), also used as a guide, identified many facilities needs in each house.
How is student damage processed?
Residents of the chapter, coordinated through the house manager, and University personnel report work orders for maintenance concerns in the chapter house. Work orders are reviewed by University personnel, and those that fall out of the realm of normal "wear and tear" are sent to chapter leadership as student damage. The chapter leadership will assign the charges to those individuals responsible for causing the damage. In the event that those individuals cannot be identified, the cost of the repair will be considered common damage. It should be noted that the student damage billing process described above will only be initiated for University property. Any costs associated with Fraternity/Sorority property must be recouped outside of the University billing procedures and done through the House Corporation. Beginning in 2010-2011, common damages will not be billed to residents; however, the damage costs will be tracked and individual charges will be processed. For the few years following, this process will be evaluated by the University to determine if it is feasible for the University to absorb these damage costs. The intention is to hold those responsible for damage accountable for the cost of repairs without billing the entire community when the responsible individuals cannot be identified; however, if common damage becomes a persistent community problem, the chapter may be held accountable for some damages.
What are the guidelines for painting individual bedrooms and common areas?

The Offices of Residential Services and Facilities Services have been charged by the Board of Trustees to address the physical features of each house so that those students living in fraternities will enjoy a clean, well-maintained and safe environment. We are charged to ensure that these facilities remain in good repair so that each year, entering second year students and returning upper class members will find their rooms and the house in satisfactory condition. While it is paramount that fraternity and sorority houses maintain their unique qualities that separate them from residence halls, ensuring that houses remain safe, clean, and in good repair is our prime responsibility to our residents. Therefore, we present the following painting policy that will enable Lehigh University to manage its housing system while still providing each house the ability to remain unique.

In an effort to establish a baseline in each house the leadership for each Greek organization (e.g. actives, Alumni/ae house corporations, etc.) supplied the Office of Facilities Services with the following information:

Bedrooms

  • A standard color that each house bedroom was painted during the summer of 2005 was selected from a standard paint palette by house representatives and alumni/ae.
  • If the painting is satisfactory at the end of the year, the paint may remain. An inspection will be completed by Residential Services and Facilities Services.
  • If a student is returning to the same room for the following academic year and would like the room to stay painted in its alternate color, written notification must be supplied to the Office of Residential Services prior to the end of the academic year by submitting a Paint Transfer Request Form. This will ensure that the room will not be painted back to the chosen house color during the summer months.
  • A room painted an alternate color can be passed down to the next resident of that space should that person request that the room remain painted the alternate color. Written notification of this must be supplied to the Office of Residential Services. It should be understood that at that point, the next resident assumes the responsibility maintaining the room at the end of that academic year or they will be held financial. If the person who is financially liable for repainting the room leaves school or is not available to bill, the organization will be charged to have the room repainted.
  • Some chapters have murals in bedrooms. Chapters can take responsible for these murals, which will carry through from year to year. To establish this responsibility, the House Manager must notify Residential Services in writing (including the design description and location).

This policy will ensure that all bedrooms will be returned to a satisfactory condition prior to fall arrival each year.

Common Areas

  • Hallways and Bedroom Doors - each Greek organization supplied a standard color "scheme" for hallways, including wall color, trim color, and bedroom door color. All fraternity hallways and bedroom doors will be painted the selected color and will be maintained each subsequent summer with patching and repainting as needed. This will ensure that all fraternity hallways and bedroom doors will be returned to excellent condition prior to fall arrival each year.
  • Existing Murals - murals located in fraternity hallways, stairwells, and common areas were evaluated by a committee with representation from Interfraternity Council (IFC), Alumni/ae and administrators, and the committee determined whether the mural should remain as part of the décor.
  • Other House Common Areas (e.g. living room, dining room, kitchen, stairwells) - if it is determined during the facilities audit that a common room, such as a living room or a dining room, would be repainted during the summer months, a paint color scheme will be requested from the house leadership.
What is the occupancy standard that houses must maintain?
The occupancy standard for fraternity and sorority houses beginning with the 2005-2006 academic year is 90% based upon newly established house capacity counts. Only chapter members living in the house and exempt members living outside the house will be counted toward the occupancy number. Chapters falling below the 90% occupancy rate for three semesters in a row will lose group housing privileges.
What is the University's expectation for houses at academic year-end?
The University expects students to maintain a clean and safe environment throughout the year. It is, therefore, the expectation at year-end that the facility will be clean and in good order and condition; reasonable wear and tear is expected. This condition holds true for common areas as well as bedrooms. In addition, students must remove all personal property from their student rooms, including beds and lofts if they were supplied by the resident. The only items remaining in the room should be the University-supplied furniture. The University reserves the right to remove and dispose of any personal property that remains. Students shall pay any charges or expenses incurred in the disposal of such property.
Who is required to live in the house?
As of 2005-2006, all second-year students are required to live on campus. If they are a member of a Greek organization, they are required to live in their fraternity or sorority house as a second-year student. Although junior and senior members will not be required to live in the houses, it will be an expectation that they will, unless the chapter is at the required occupancy. It is felt that the privilege of membership and of independent group living on the campus should carry responsibilities for sustaining continuity and stability within the chapter. Making the commitment to live in the chapter house should, therefore, be a fundamental expectation of membership, with exceptions allowed. Each fraternity and sorority has a particular set of rules and regulations that may affect which members are required to live in a house. Additional information can be obtained from individual fraternities or sororities regarding this question.
Can the house be over-occupied?
In 2005, bedrooms were assigned specific capacities. Capacities were based on University standards to maintain a high quality of living for residents, which left mostly single and double bedrooms and a limited number of triples. In addition, each house has at least 8 bedrooms that were designated as singles. The chapters are able to over-occupy bedrooms up to University standards, which are used in the residence hall system. Chapters are strongly discouraged from occupying bedrooms above these standards. If the chapter chooses to do this, they must adhere to fire code standards and residents must sign an Over-Occupancy Waiver for the chapter to over-occupy bedrooms.
What type of Lease and Housing Agreements are required by the University?
The University requires a Lease to be signed between the University and the Fraternity/Sorority House Corporations or Alumni Associations. This lease is for the academic year and is renewable on a yearly basis. The University requires a separate housing agreement to be signed between the residents living in fraternities and sororities and the University.
What right of entry to the leased premises does Lehigh (landlord) have?
In addition to all the rights of entry, lessor (Lehigh) has by-laws and under other provisions of the house lease, lessor may enter the leased premises at any time in case of emergency and otherwise at reasonable times for any of the following reasons:
  • to inspect the condition of the building;
  • to inspect for fire and health hazards;
  • to make repairs, installments, additions, or alterations to the rooms or to the building, to paint same, or to perform housekeeping functions;
  • to remove personal property, equipment, placards, signs, fixtures, alterations, or additions to the leased premises that are in violation of the lease;
  • to verify room occupancy, and to search by authorized University officials when there is cause to believe that a violation of University regulations is being, or has been, committed. (See lease agreement for more details on this.)
What is the role of Residential Services in fraternity and sorority housing?
The Office of Residential Services is part of the Office of Student Auxiliary Services that reports to the Vice President for Finance and Administration, and has the responsibility of acting as landlords for the University. All leases with alumni corporations and housing agreements with residents originate in the Office of Residential Services. Residential Services works closely with the Office of Facilities Services to ensure that these University assets are well maintained. Residential Services also provides billing services for all fraternity and sorority student charges related to room charges, board rates and house and parlor fees.
What is the role of Facilities Services in fraternity and sorority housing?
The Office of Facilities Services reports to the Vice President for Finance and Administration and is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of our Greek Houses to ensure a safe and healthy living environment for our residents.
What is the role of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs in fraternity and sorority housing?
Fraternity & Sorority Affairs works closely with chapter alumni and actives in promoting fraternity and sorority life on campus. They are responsible for advising houses on issues such as recruitment, membership, education, leadership, meeting University standards, and accreditation.
What type of insurance must the fraternity/sorority houses have?
Fraternities and Sororities are required to carry insurance coverage (e.g., Commercial Liability, Fire Legal Liability, Loss of Income, Extra Expense etc.) as outlined in the Lease between the House Corporations and the University. Please refer to the Lease for more detailed information.
Is the personal property of the fraternity and sorority residents covered by the house or University insurance?
Personal property of the residents living in fraternities or sororities is not covered by the house or University insurance. Residents should cover their personal property through renter's insurance purchased by the resident at his/her option, or their parent's homeowner's insurance.
Are air conditioners permitted in fraternity and sorority houses?
Any student who has a medical condition that requires air conditioning in his/her room as part of their prescribed treatment must have a Medical Request for use of an Air Conditioner Form completed by the Primary Care Physician, Allergist, Pulmonologist, or Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist on file with the Office of Residential Services.

Students should have submitted this form prior to assignment so that they could be accommodated in an air-conditioned space by the house leadership. Forms submitted after assignment will be discussed by chapter leadership and alumni. All students living in an air-conditioned space must fill out an Air Conditioning Policy and Contract. Any student with a Medical Request for use of an Air Conditioner Form on file who is not placed into an air-conditioned space must fill out an Air Conditioning Waiver.

Air conditioning is permanently installed in 6 rooms of each house as selected by the alumni and the house leadership. There will be no installation fee charged directly to the student.

All air conditioners are owned and installed by Lehigh University hired staff and will remain in windows year round. Maintenance concerns regarding the air conditioning units are to be reported as a work order to Facilities Services. Air conditioner filters will be checked and changed as necessary over breaks.

Air conditioners are not to be removed or tampered with by the resident(s) under any circumstance. Unauthorized air conditioner units will be removed and the resident responsible will be fined.
Whose responsibility is it to keep the fraternity and sorority houses secure?
The security of the houses is a collective responsibility shared by the residents of the house and University personnel. Residents of houses are encouraged to keep all exterior doors, bedroom doors and security windows locked so that only residents of that community and their guests can have access. University personnel, including the University Police/Security Guards and University administrative offices, all work together to keep the fraternities and sororities safe and secure.
What security features are installed in fraternity and sorority houses?
Each building is accessible by University ID cards. Card access is a more secure way to manage building access as it does not allow for exterior doors to remain open (unless requested for a specific purpose such as an event where people are present to monitor the doors) and it eliminates the risk of losing keys (as ID cards can be turned off remotely if lost).

In addition to card access, all windows with ground level access have security screens installed. These screens allow students to get out of the building in case of emergency but do not permit people to enter the building from the exterior.
Are there penalties for tampering with fire safety equipment?
There are severe financial and disciplinary penalties for tampering with or disabling fire safety equipment. Repeated offenses may result in individuals being removed from housing or groups losing their housing privileges. Detailed information is shared with residents and alumni through the Office of Residential Services and Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.
Who do I contact if I want to join a fraternity or sorority?
You can contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs at infrasor@lehigh.edu or 610-758-4157.
 
 

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