In a letter to the Presidents of the Inter-Fraternity Council and Inter-Sorority Council, Provost John Etchemendy outlined a new policy regulating housed fraternal organizations on campus. Etchemendy discussed the new policy in a meeting with IFC and ISC presidents, multicultural Greek presidents and members of the African-American Fraternal & Sororal Association.
This letter, written to the IFC and ISC council presidents and later circulated among Greek life residents, says that an organization will lose its eligibility for on-campus housing if there is one major violation or three minor violations of University policy or law during any one school year.
“Just as individuals who misbehave can lose the privilege of living on campus, a fraternity or sorority that allows bad behavior on the part of its members or in its house, can lose the privilege of on-campus housing,” Etchemendy wrote.
As defined in this letter, major transgressions will include such violations as “a serious injury caused by overconsumption of alcohol, sexual assault by a member, drugging or spiking drinks served at the house, failing to call for needed medical help for seriously intoxicated students, or hazing.”
Minor transgressions will include “failure to follow University rules for parties, serving alcohol to underage students or distributing intolerant or disrespectful comments about others.”
Incidents will be evaluated as major or minor by a three-person panel selected by the Provost’s office consisting of a faculty member, a staff member and a student. Matters of sexual assault will also include the University’s Title IX Coordinator.
These incidents can be violations on the part of an organization’s members or just any incident that occurs in its house.
Explaining the logic of this decision, Etchemendy says that “group housing on campus is a privilege, not a right” and later goes on to suggest that, though violations may be the actions of the few, the organization should still be held accountable.
“If the organization does not carefully select and police its members, and some of those members behave badly, we can only conclude that the group does not have the capacity to meet the University’s expectations of respectful conduct while living together on campus,” Etchemendy explained.
If housing is lost, the house will be reassigned to another fraternity or sorority or will be operated by Residential and Dining Enterprises for an indefinite amount of time with no stipulation that the house organization in question will eventually regain the house.
Associate Dean of Residential Education Nate Boswell said that he thought the Provost developed the new policy as a call to a higher standard for the campus as a whole and that he expects all campus organizations to be evaluated against this new policy annually.
Etchemendy also alluded this letter to one that was sent to students on May 30 — addressing leaked fraternity emails from Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel — earlier this year as another call to reflect on community values and obligations.
“We are very appreciative that Provost Etchemendy took the time to outline and explain this new policy to the leadership of the Greek community in person,” said Everett Watson ’15, IFC president. “He stressed the need for cultural shift within our community here at Stanford and also told us that he is optimistic that we will be able to do so.”
Contact Alex Zivkovic at aleksa ‘at’ stanford.edu or Catherine Zaw at czaw13 ‘at’ stanford.edu.