Bloomsburg University Announces Reforms to Greek Life

For Immediate Release

Date: December 2, 2019

Contact: Tom McGuire, Director of Communications

 

Bloomsburg University Announces Reforms to Greek Life

 

BLOOMSBURG—Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is announcing immediate reforms for its Greek Life system with the primary focus on the health and safety of its students.

 

The reforms are aimed at curbing dangerous drinking, hazing, sexual assault, and other negative behaviors and consequences found in the Greek Life system around the country. The new initiatives were established following conversations and exchanges of information with other institutions that have forged new paths for their fraternity and sorority communities. The scope and intended outcomes align with national standards and will re-establish safety as the primary focus of the Greek system that has traditionally been private and unregulated.

 

“Today, Bloomsburg University is taking important steps to strengthen fraternity and sorority life on campus and protect the safety and well-being of our student-members so that their experiences can be cherished and admired,” said BU President Bashar Hanna. “With these changes, we have established new standards of excellence to which we can all strive. As a community, we have put a stake in the ground with respect to our values and standards for the benefit of our fraternity and sorority communities, and most importantly, for the safety of all our students.”

 

Previously known as the Office of Greek Affairs, the office now known as the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (OFSL) is directed by Nicole Cronenwett, Ph.D., who brings more than 15 years of experience in fraternity and sorority life to the position. In addition, the office now reports directly to Bloomsburg University President Bashar Hanna.

To support Cronewett and the mission of the office, additional staffing will be added to the office.

Additionally, the following reforms will go into effect immediately.

  1. Zero tolerance for hazing. Hazing that involves alcohol, physical abuse, or any behavior that puts a student’s mental or physical health at risk will result in swift permanent revocation of University recognition of the chapter. In determining violations, the University is using the legal definition of hazing under Pennsylvania law. Ongoing education of all members, as well as discussions about responsible behavior, will occur throughout the academic year.
  2. Risk management policy development. OFSL will work with each chapter to develop risk management plans and policies to ensure safety for its members. These plans and policies must include the election of a standards chair and the creation of a chapter judicial board. Plans will be submitted for review and approval by the Offices of the DOS, OFSL, and CLE.
  3. Recruitment. Chapters will create a recruitment plan, which will be submitted for review and approval by the Offices of the DOS, OFSL, and CLE before the start of each recruitment period. These recruitment plans which include such information as the recruitment goals and plans for recruitment education. Plans Students wishing to participate in recruitment must have 12 credits from a higher education institution or Bloomsburg University and a minimum GPA requirement of 2.5.
  4. New Member Process. Chapters must review and revise their current new member plan new member period cannot begin for a chapter until they have submitted their plan for review and have received formal and written approval by the offices of DOS, OFSL, and CLE. New members must be initiated within one week of the conclusion of the six-week new member education period.
  1. Chapter Operations: Each chapter must have a primary chapter advisor who is an alumna or alumnus of the organization or local chapter. The chapter advisor will join the monthly advisor conference calls and attend the spring chapter advisor training day. Additionally, all chapter officers must attend the officer training day offered each fall and spring semester.
  1. Chapter Scholarship: Each chapter must have a University faculty member to serve as the chapter’s faculty advisor. Chapters will also submit an academic plan that includes academic standards and expectations for continued membership, academic support, and resources available to chapter members, and incentives and recognition for academic achievement.
  1. Fraternity/Sorority Score Card. A scorecard will be posted on the OFSL that displays critical information to educate parents and potential new members. The information will include such information as total members, chapter GPA, and alcohol and hazing violations. Additionally, individuals who visit the website (bloomu.edu/ofsl) will be able to learn about the organization’s core values, status, community service efforts, and graduation rates. It is the expectation of the OFSL that chapters regularly report information about their chapters and their members.
  1. Other Measures: There are also other measures being evaluated and developed by the University such as a social event policy, parent education and communication, relationship agreement for the recognition of social fraternities and sororities, an accreditation program that will detail the minimum criteria for chapters to be recognized by the university, and an OFSL strategic plan.

During the next 18 months, the entire fraternity and sorority community will be in a probationary period as these new reforms are implemented. Those organizations or individuals who do not meet the requirements will be held accountable and adjudicated through the student conduct process. It is important to note that the fraternity and sorority life system will be under review during this probationary period, and new reforms may emerge for the community.

“Meaningful change cannot be created in a vacuum,” said Hanna. “We will need for each fraternity and sorority member and their respective organizations to be committed to a healthy and safe experience here at Bloomsburg University.  I thank in advance our students, alumni, alumni boards, Greek councils, and the inter-/national organizations for joining us as partners as we implement these changes. Together, we can ensure that fraternity and sorority life will thrive and prosper within BU’s community for years to come.”

For further updates and progress, please visit bloomu.edu/ofsl.