SOURCE: LockPath, Inc.


May 20, 2015 00:00 ET

Universities Review Greek Life Policies in Light of Recent Scandals

OVERLAND PARK, KS--(Marketwired - May 20, 2015) - There has been no shortage of negative incidents and publicized scandals occurring on college campuses, many involving fraternities. Universities are often caught in the crosshairs of such scandals. While institutions do not directly regulate Greek life, it's the college's public image that takes a direct hit.

Consequently, universities should engage in proactive risk management and mitigation to reduce the potential for negative fallout when incidents such as these occur.

Greek life in the news

Recent fraternity-related scandals include:

  • In early April, Rutgers University banned all sororities and fraternities from throwing parties for the rest of the spring semester. The ban was in response to an alcohol poisoning death and other alcohol-related incidents.
  • In March, a University of Oklahoma fraternity was closed after video surfaced of its members engaged in a racist chant. Some members were expelled from the university.
  • A six-month-long debacle between the University of Virginia and Rolling Stone magazine included allegations of a fraternity gang-rape. The article was later discredited. Regardless, the university faced continual negative press while the incident was investigated.
  • In March, a Penn State fraternity was suspended after police discovered a Facebook page, run by fraternity members, full of photos of illegal drugs and unconscious, partially nude women.

Institutional Policies on Greek Life

These incidents point to a growing issue in higher education: how closely can colleges and universities regulate and control the Greek communities on their respective campuses, without taking on undue legal liability. Both Penn State and Clemson are currently reworking how their relationships play out with Greek life organizations. Although the Greek chapters are separate entities from the universities, the two are interlinked in the news and reputation.

Now is an opportune time for institutions and fraternity leadership to take preventative measures. The following three-step process, which can be facilitated by a risk and compliance platform such as LockPath's Keylight, is a good place to start:

  1. Reviewing all policies regarding Greek-life related incidents, such as hazing, alcohol, discrimination, sexual harassment and assault. Ensure that all necessary policies are in place and reviewed at least annually. Involve all stakeholders, including legal counsel, academic and university officials, student and faculty representatives, etc., in the discussion.
  2. Build awareness by requiring Greek leaders to communicate policies to their members and have all member acknowledge receipt of this information in writing.
  3. Send out a risk assessment to university and Greek leaders to identify serious risks that may warrant mitigation and remediation plans.

About LockPath

LockPath is a market leader in corporate governance, risk management, regulatory compliance (GRC) and information security (InfoSec) software. The company's flexible, scalable and fully integrated suite of applications is used by organizations to automate business processes, reduce enterprise risk and demonstrate regulatory compliance to achieve audit-ready status. LockPath serves a client base of global organizations ranging from small and midsize companies to Fortune 10 enterprises in more than 15 industries. The company is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas.

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