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Recognition and continuity policy for Greek chapters created

The university believes that the strong partnerships between Greek actives, alumni and university staff have been critical to the success of Lehigh’s Strengthening Greek Life initiative. Members throughout the Lehigh community have committed countless hours helping to make our Greek system strong, self-sufficient and healthy through their work on a variety of different committees and working groups.

And our collective work is paying off, as evidenced by a successful spring rush, impressive preparation by many chapters for the upcoming accreditation process and stronger working relationships among actives, alumni and administrators.

One of these groups, the Recognition and Continuity committee—comprised of Greek and non-Greek students, Greek alumni and university staff—has created the recognition and continuity policy that addresses a variety of housing, accreditation and recognition topics.

Although some highlights from the policy are listed below, all those interested in Greek life at Lehigh are strongly urged to review the full recognition and continuity policy on the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Web site.

Policy Highlights:

Recognition

• Lehigh University only recognizes social fraternities and sororities that are affiliated in an (inter)national organization. No local social fraternities or sororities will be recognized.

• All fraternity and sorority chapters will comply with the 90 percent occupancy standards in order to remain in group housing. A chapter that loses its privilege to remain in group housing can retain recognition as a non-residential chapter.

• Student Affairs staff, with feedback from alumni and students, will be working over the next year to define what it means to be a non-residential chapter as well as the rights, privileges and accountabilities of such groups.

System Expansion

• Expansion of the Greek system at the present time is not feasible, but Lehigh remains open to the possibility in the future. If there is an opportunity for expansion, we look forward to helping the Greek system grow at a pace that continues to make it stronger.

• In the past, groups eligible to return to Lehigh’s Greek system were invited back based on the date of departure.
However, after lengthy discussion and review, the System-wide Assessment Committee (see Appendix D of the policy for composition) agreed that if and when Lehigh’s Greek system is able to expand, interested groups will be invited to apply during an open application process. If sorority expansion is possible, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs will coordinate with the NPC expansion policies as well.

• Applications will be evaluated by the University Committee on Greek Expansion, which is made up of alumni, students and staff (see policy section IV for composition and procedures). Their recommendations will take into consideration the group’s potential for long-term success, history and/or legacy, and availability of former house, among other information.

• All expansion opportunities will occur when the System-wide Assessment Committee determines that expansion is possible and within the process described in this policy. Priority will be given to groups who have a historical tie to the university over (inter)national fraternities or sororities that have never had a chapter at Lehigh.

• The same expansion policies and processes apply to groups that lose recognition due to the Greek accreditation process.

Housing

• Current residential priorities include: equitable sorority housing, special interest housing and Greek expansion as possible.

• Only Greek houses that are owned by the university and/or located on campus property or adjacent to campus property may house sophomores to fulfill the first and second year residency requirement.

• The sorority list, which is organized by year of colonization at Lehigh, determines the order that sorority chapters are offered permanent and equitable on campus housing. A sorority will not lose its ordered priority if it rejects an offered house.

• A Greek group that loses university housing or (inter)national recognition, may not be able to return to the house it once occupied, when, or if, it regains recognition.

• Once a Greek group regains recognition and is housed in a different facility than it occupied when it lost recognition, should its prior house become available at a later date, it can request to relocate to its old house. It should be noted that a group in good standing will not be evicted to accommodate such a request.

Living Rights

The Greek Life Task Force recommended that living rights practices be phased out with a thoughtful transition plan. With the end of living rights, the following financial transactions will take place:

• Pay off existing loans

• Reimburse each sorority for loan payments made to date with interest

• Reimburse Residential Services for its financial interest in living rights (deferred maintenance invested and sorority living rights)

• The Greek Alumni Council will provide recommendations to the administration on how the remaining funds will be used in the Strengthening Greek Life Task Force initiatives.

Code of Conduct

• The Continuity Committee made a recommendation, and it was affirmed by the Greek Life Implementation Group, to alter/revise the sanction structure for disciplinary actions that apply to corporate groups/organizations (see below for proposed revisions).

• Currently, this recommendation is merely a proposed change to the Student Judicial System language; if these revisions are voted upon by the LU Faculty into policy, implementation will most likely be in the spring 2006 or following semester.

• Proposed sanctions for groups/organizations:
a) Warning
b) Probation
c) Temporary loss of recognition for up to 10 years (would be eligible to apply for re-colonization following their sanction term during any period of time in which the university invites applications for expansion)
d) Permanent Loss of Recognition—To be invoked only for most egregious offenses. A group that permanently loses recognition will not be eligible to apply for recognition in the future.

Throughout the Strengthening Greek Life process, the input and work of Greek alumni, actives and university staff has been invaluable. The collective work being done today will help make the future of Lehigh’s Greek system a strong and sound one.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail Chris Marshall, alumni director, or Ron Yoshida, senior vice president for external relations and campus life. Look for more information on the Strengthening Greek Life initiative in future issues of the Lehigh Alumni Connection.

Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2005

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