CSU, Chico President Accepts Task Force Recommendations for Reorganizing Greek Life
President Paul Zingg, California State University, Chico, has accepted the recommendations of the Greek System Review Task Force. The task force is one of four study groups on campus life commissioned by Zingg in response to several incidents within the Greek community over the past academic year, including the February hazing-related death of student Matthew Carrington.
In two separate addresses to the Greek system, one in February and one in April, Zingg called for the transformation of the existing Greek system at CSU, Chico. Although he acknowledged that members of the Greek community are not the only students who engage in irresponsible and dangerous activities, in his address to the Greeks on April 12, he told them that they set the tone, in large part, for perceptions of the University. “Rightly or wrongly, fairly or not, the burden of responsibility and the price of notoriety fall squarely on your shoulders,” said Zingg.
Zingg appointed Vice President for Student Affairs Jim Moon as chair of the Greek System Review Task Force. The goals of the task force recommendations are consistent with the Franklin Square Group’s “Call for Values Congruence.” The Franklin Group, a national group of university presidents conferring on fraternities and sororities, called upon universities to hold such Greek organizations accountable to the values of community and citizenship espoused in their charters.
In addition to forming the task force, Vice President Moon hired Tom Jelke, a consultant with nationwide expertise in assessing Greek systems, to conduct an independent review. The task force, which included seven Greek organization leaders out of 20 members, was able to use Jelke’s assessment of the current Greek system, in addition to the input from more than 100 members of the university and Chico communities, to create a comprehensive set of recommendations for change that would create a system in line with the core values of the University.
There are 59 separate task force recommendations divided into three tiers for implementation over the next two years. For a recommendation to be accepted by the task force, it had to meet several criteria, including that it be substantive, affordable, manageable, measurable and able to be incorporated into existing organizational infrastructures. It also had to have the potential for ensuring safer and healthier learning and living environments for students.
The task force identified potential positive attributes of a Greek system organized around values of leadership, academic achievement and service. It stressed the need for university and community support and involvement with Greek organizations as they implemented the changes necessary to realign with positive goals.
The first-tier recommendations, which will be implemented by October 15, 2005, include
"I am very pleased with the report and particularly so with the folks who served on the task force to produce such a thoughtful and comprehensive study in a short period of time,” said Zingg. “This report is a foundation and a blueprint. It establishes the understandings that will guide the University in these matters, and it prescribes the steps, both immediate and long-term, that we will take to accomplish the transformation of the Greek system into something of which the University and the Chico community can be proud. I am encouraged that so many members of the Greek organizations, including their alumni, support this direction. We have a long way to go, but we are clearly moving in the right direction."
Three other task forces under the Commission on Campus Life, chaired by Stephen King, dean emeritus, College of Communication and Education, have reports forthcoming. They include Alcohol and Other Drugs Task Force, chaired by Pedro Douglas, director of Student Health Services; Hazing Task Force, chaired by Rick Rees, associate director for Student Activities; and Personal Safety in Campus Neighborhoods Task Force, chaired by Herman Ellis, assistant vice president for Student Life.
The entire Greek system Review Task Force Report can be found at http://www.csuchico.edu/sa/greekreport/.
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