Greeks create own ethics board

A new greek peer accountability system will go into effect this fall.

Samantha Alisankus

As the recruitment process for fraternities and sororities comes to a close, the greek community is partnering with the University of Minnesota’s Student Unions and Activities for a slightly different type of recruitment.

For years, fraternities and sororities have relied on the SUA and Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity to resolve issues of misconduct within the greek community. Now the University is partnering with the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life to develop an ethics board that could handle greek members breaching University conduct codes.

The Fraternity and Sorority Ethics Board would consist of both greek and non-greek members, and will function like a jury — a body of peers will hear appealed FSL decisions and come to a consensus as to whether or not they are fair.

According to FSL, the board will be large enough to compensate for potential conflicts of interest when chapter members have to hear cases involving fellow group members.

Nolan Anderson, president of the University’s Delta Chi fraternity chapter, said those who serve on the board should be “people who are really interested in being involved, people with great moral fiber and those who want to see a positive effect in the community.”

The idea behind the board is to give chapters and their members a chance to hold each other accountable for the values and expectations detailed in the FSL’s 2011-14 strategic plan for University greek life.

Matt Levine, program director for FSL, describes the board as “an opportunity for a collaborative process between my office and students.”

In addition to giving members the opportunity to review student misconduct cases, the board is designed to educate greek chapters on how to handle both internal and external disputes — ones that involve conflict between chapters or between chapters and the University.

Amelious Whyte, chief of staff for the vice provost for student affairs, said the new ethics board mirrors the University’s existing process for dealing with student misconduct.

Both begin with an informal meeting between the accused party and a University official. If the two parties cannot reach a consensus at that point, a formal hearing would convene.

One of the board’s main goals is “for more peers to stand up and hold their peers accountable,” Whyte said.

Although the ethics board wouldn’t have the authority to directly administer punishment or hear cases that could result in expulsion, its voice would be a guiding force in further action, he said.

The project is still in its infant stage, and members for the board — which is expected to begin hearing cases this semester — are still being recruited.