August 15, 2016
President Schill sent the following message to students, advisors, and staff involved in Greek life:
Dear UO Fraternity and Sorority Life Community Members,
The University of Oregon recognizes the value of Fraternity and Sorority Life as you seek enriching experiences outside the classroom that will help you develop as leaders and citizens of the world. At its best, the Greek system promotes service, scholarship, and community—all traits we hold dear at the UO and want to continue to encourage and foster in a healthy and thriving FSL community.
We also know that many Greek letter organizations, both nationally and here at the UO, have experienced challenges with respect to drinking, safety, and climate that must be addressed.
Earlier this year, under the leadership of Vice President Robin Holmes, the Division of Student Life received an external review that highlighted concerns with the Greek system at the UO, including the size of fraternity and sorority chapters, staffing levels, and ongoing issues related to sexual assault, high-risk behaviors, alcohol use, and hazing. Following that report, the university took the step of approving a new $100 fee for fraternity and sorority members to strengthen the infrastructure in the Fraternity and Sorority Life office, including the addition of three staff members who will provide leadership, support, and mentorship. Those positions are in the process of being hired.
In addition, Vice President Holmes convened four working groups—governance; staffing, support and budget; social policy and risk management; and chapter growth, size and recruitment policies—that brought together concerned students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members to make recommendations on how to best address issues identified by the external review.
Those groups have completed their work, and Vice President Holmes and I are pleased to accept their reports. Many of the recommendations are very good ideas that can be implemented fairly quickly. Others will require further evaluation to determine if they are advisable both logistically and financially. The four reports, including each committees’ charge, membership, and final recommendations, are available on the Dean of Students website, and here:
- Staffing, support, and budget
- Social policy and risk management
- Chapter growth, size, and recruitment policies
The university will immediately move forward with one recommendation, due to the demonstrated need to address management and safety issues related to the size of existing chapters: Sigma Kappa sorority will begin formal recruitment in fall 2016.
To assist with the evaluation of the remaining recommendations, this fall we will create an FSL advisory board with representation from the faculty and staff, FSL students, advisors, and alumni. I look forward to their input as we continue to evaluate what is best for Fraternity and Sorority Life on the UO campus.
I want to thank all of the members of the work groups. Vice President Holmes and I truly appreciate the thoughtful analysis and recommendations. Looking ahead, I am confident we can work together in a positive manner to make the UO’s FSL community one of the best in the nation.
Thanks, and Go Ducks!
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law