Tufts has completed its months-long investigations into the nine fraternities and sororities with misconduct allegations. One fraternity — Pi Delta — dissolved last semester, two fraternities are on disciplinary probation and five fraternities and sororities remain under cease-and-desist orders while awaiting resolutions for their cases.
Tufts will re-open sophomore recruitment for seven Greek life organizations, while introducing new reforms to discourage hazing and other misconduct, according to an email sent out to the Tufts community today from several school administrators.
These changes follow 10 months of controversy and uncertainty for the university’s Greek life system, which has faced a surge of misconduct reports and calls for abolition in the wake of a November 2016 Tufts Observer article. While investigations were ongoing last year, social events and recruitment were suspended for all fraternities and sororities, before being reinstated for organizations in good standing.
Status of Greek Life Organizations
Following the concurrent investigations into multiple Greek life organizations at Tufts, the disciplinary status of every fraternity and sorority is now listed on the school’s website.
Members of Pi Delta chose to dissolve their organization in January instead of resolving misconduct allegations, according to the website. Meanwhile, two other Greek life organizations have accepted sanctions so far: Delta Tau Delta (DTD) and Pi Rho Omega.
“Two organizations have accepted sanctions which include Suspension, Disciplinary and Social Probation, and a variety of educational sanctions and requirements for restructuring policies and processes related to recruitment, risk management, and member well-being,” the email read.
DTD is on disciplinary probation until June 2019 for hazing, alcohol violations, sexual harassment and academic integrity violations. Additionally, the organization is required to develop a new member plan, alcohol is not permitted at its social events for a period of time and all members are required to receive training on hazing and other topics. DTD was previously under disciplinary suspension until June.
Pi Rho Omega is on disciplinary probation until December for hazing and sexual harassment. Like DTD, it is required to re-do its recruitment and new-member plans, among other sanctions.
Two other organizations are considering administrative resolutions from the Dean of Student Affairs, and three will be presented resolutions soon, the email added. The school’s website lists five organizations with pending resolutions: sorority Chi Omega, as well as fraternities Delta Upsilon, Theta Chi, Theta Delta Chi (123) and Zeta Psi.
The email also notes that Tufts’ three active Multicultural Greek Council organizations are all in good standing, and no misconduct allegations were made against them.
Students can still report hazing or sexual misconduct through the Dean of Student Affairs Office, Tufts University Police Department, the Office of Equal Opportunity or EthicsPoint, the email adds. Also, the university created a centralized online resource on hazing this summer that outlines Tufts’ policies and reporting system.
“We encourage those affected by these allegations, reports, or issues to take advantage of resources available at the University and in their local communities,” the email read.
Furthermore, Tufts will now participate in the efforts of the Hazing Prevention Consortium, a multi-year project including eight other U.S. universities. The university hopes that the research conducted by this consortium can be implemented in furthering Tufts’ efforts to prevent hazing.
Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Su McGlone told the Daily in an email that the information gathered by the consortium will be used to help Tufts revise its hazing policy. For now, McGlone said recruitment will be modified to include more hazing prevention education.
New Member Educators must participate in a three-part training track that focuses on creating a safe, meaningful New Member curriculum, McGlone explained. There will also be trainings for current and potential members on how to recognize and report hazing.
Hazing prevention classes will be an aspect of new members’ weekly training and community-building events, required by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, according to their website.
Additionally, only sophomores and older will be able to rush, another major change to the fraternity and sorority recruitment process.
“Joining a group after you’ve had a year of undergrad behind you changes the frame quite a bit,” Dean of Student Affairs Mary Pat McMahon explained. “You’d be joining as an additional element of building an identity and association at Tufts, rather than the first, which changes the power dynamics.”
Emmett Pinsky, who advocates for the abolition of Greek life, criticized the university’s education efforts as unsubstantial and failing to address the root of the problem.
“We have seen time and time again that ‘workshops,’ ‘task forces,’ ‘initiatives,’ or whatever other buzzwords the administration picks, do not create lasting or substantial change,” Pinsky, a junior, told the Daily in an email.
McGlone noted efforts to prevent hazing in other campus organizations are not yet underway.
“This fall’s immediate efforts are focusing on fraternities and sororities,” McGlone said. “Athletics and a variety of other groups will be included in the broad work on hazing prevention moving forward, in partnership with the Hazing Prevention Consortium.”
Setting Sights on the Future
Additionally, the Student Life Review Committee report will be released within the next several weeks.
“[W]e look forward to partnering with students, faculty, and staff on ways to remodel Fraternity and Sorority Life in order to enhance oversight, improve risk management, and ensure that organizations are aligned with the University’s values and standards of inclusivity, personal and academic integrity, and active citizenship,” the email read.
Chi Omega President Hannah Macaulay believes that there remains an opportunity to reform the Greek life system and is pleased to be part of the conversation.
“It is of utmost importance that we continue these conversations in productive ways, so that we can make our organizations positive and transparent aspects of the larger Tufts community,” Macaulay, a senior, told the Daily in an email.
Pinsky noted that they and other students who oppose Greek life will continue to advocate for its abolition.
“Reforms make it too easy for the admin and Greek life members to pat themselves on the back and continue on without making real changes, changes that look like abolishing the system all together,” they said.
For the interim, Greek life will not be abolished. McMahon explained that there is a three-year period of constant review in which the administration, student leaders and committees will be assessing how to create a healthy social environment on campus which is not limited to Greek-life spaces.
“The general aim is to create a climate that is more inclusive, safer, partnering with student leaders from many different seats and thinking about ways that we can address this in a systemic, lasting way,” she said.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to clarify Hannah Macaulay’s comments