Halfway there: Greek gpa progress promising
By Julie Depenbrock ‘13
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 14:03
Halfway through the three-year assessment period, fraternities and sororities are standing on solid ground.
“I think right now we’re in a really great place,” President of Phi Kappa Psi Jamie Benson ‘14 said. “What was key was the school being very specific about what they wanted from us, and then we can implement that into how we operate our chapters.”
Eighteen months ago, the future of Greek Life was anything but certain. “I think it was astray because we ran into some serious behavioral issues,” President Daniel H. Weiss said. “And that led to a series of changes and discussions and the creation of the Greek Life study group.”
Last year, the Implementation and Assessment Group on Greek Life—known as IAGGL—established standards for academics and conduct, as well as accessibility and acceptance.
“The evidence that we’re gathering from the data that we’ve seen is that the Greek organizations are performing very well,” Weiss said. “Their academic performance and behavioral issues seem to be consistent with the student body as a whole, which is what I asked for at the beginning of this.”
Indeed, IAGGL’s data from fall 2012 show a marked academic improvement. Two sororities, Alpha Phi (3.41) and Alpha Gamma Delta (3.37), have outperformed non-affiliated women (3.36).
Overall, the Greek community bested non-affiliated men and women by 0.05.
While fraternity men on average had higher GPAs than non-affiliated men in fall 2012, the two lowest averages were held by fraternities: Zeta Psi at 3.09 and Delta Kappa Epsilon at 2.97—from fall 2011, an improvement for Zeta Psi and a step back for DKE.
Fraternities have pulled even with “all college men,” progress from last year when they trailed by 0.08.
The chapter presidents and administrators have been meeting regularly to discuss progress. They’re placing greater emphasis on academics through study halls and leadership conferences. And they’ve gotten
better at publicizing their community involvement.
Still, Greek Life continues to butt heads with administrators over issues of transparency, balking at a more open recruiting process. Last spring, the sororities notified the college that they would not disclose recruiting practices as IAGGL attempted to gather information.
Last March, sororities said in a statement to Dean of Intercultural Development John McKnight that they “are happy to cooperate with the college. But not to the point of disclosing their private and confidential policies and documents.”
Four sorority presidents declined comment for this article. The other two did not respond by deadline.
Violations of college policy attributed to Greek affiliates are in line with the percentage of the population they represent, according to Vice President for Campus Life Annette Diorio’s February 20 IAGGL update.
“During the 2011-12 academic year a total of 361 sanctions were issued for violations of student conduct rules and regulations. Greek affiliated students made up 19.3 percent of the students found responsible for violations of College policy,” Diorio wrote. “As a comparison, student athletes comprised 21.8 percent of the students found responsible for violations of College policy during that same time period.”
Despite the improvements, the Greek system will continue to undergo scrutiny for the next eighteen months.
Whether they are here to stay won’t be decided until the Board of Trustees votes in June 2014.
Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Stuart Umberger, Diorio and Weiss agreed that they are optimistic about the future of Greek Life.
“We had a problem,” Weiss said. “We don’t seem to now. And I’m very pleased about that.”