The University of Kansas' Sorority and Fraternity Life Task Force released its final report with five recommendations to improve Greek life at the University and combat hazing.
The report defined the shared values and key characteristics and the desired membership experience of Greek life, and included specific recommendations for all Greek councils including the Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-hellenic Council, Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association.
Among the recommendations were specific measures task force members said should be taken in risk management and the prevention of hazing in Greek life.
“The greatest risk to the health, safety, and welfare of university students include substance abuse, sexual violence, and mental health,” said Task Force Chair Mike Michaelis in the report. “These risks are not unique to the sorority and fraternity community.”
The task force recommended evaluating the alcohol and substance abuse policies of sororities and fraternities and reevaluate the council social policies to address “pre-games” and open parties hosted at chapter houses and “senior houses.”
In addition to risk management policies, the task force recommended the University, alongside IFC, NPHC, MGC and PHA continue to develop programs and policies to eliminate hazing at the University.
“Some organizations’ traditions and/or alumni networks continue to support mindsets that foster hazing, and cultural change is challenging,” Michaelis said in the report. “Indeed, in many cases, members have expressed that the hazing activities were part of ‘bonding’ rituals or ‘rites of passage.’”
To combat hazing, the report also recommended University Administrators and members and alumni of Greek life should form a working group by 2020 to develop a plan which identifies and creates solutions for the root causes of hazing at the University.
Chancellor Douglas Girod, who called for the creation of the task force in November 2018, sent the report to students on Friday, Jan. 10. The task force convened during summer 2019 to develop the recommendations.
The formation of the task force came after the University’s IFC froze all social activities of fraternities in March 2018. The action was a result of four fraternities receiving disciplinary action for hazing. Two of the fraternities, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Delta Upsilon, were removed from campus.
“I look forward to working with the task force and our Greek partners to implement these recommendations in the months and years ahead,” Girod said in an email to all University faculty, staff and students.
The task force will now work with the University to implement its recommendations to improve the quality of Greek life at the University.
“We believe the fruits of our efforts will benefit not only the University but may also serve as a ‘beacon of light’ to help guide other universities who are experiencing similar issues within their Greek communities,” Michaelis said in the report.