SJS gives Greeks self-governance

Student Judicial Services will no longer hear some cases involving infractions by Greek-letter groups after it granted fraternities and sororities self-governance last month.

SJS gave the Panhellenic Association and the Interfraternity Council, the governing organizations for sororities and fraternities, the authority to hear cases and discipline its groups. The Panhellenic Association and IFC governing councils will only hear cases involving Greek-letter group violations, not infractions committed by individual members. All Panhellenic Association and IFC rulings will go before SJS for approval and more serious cases, such as those involving hospitalizations, will still go before SJS.

The Panhellenic Association and IFC have been attempting to receive self-governance for several years. Student Activities Center Director Tim Miller said the groups had to draft several proposals.

IFC has heard two cases so far. Miller said fraternities typically have more governance issues because they are allowed to sponsor events with alcohol. Sororities are prohibited from having alcohol in their houses or sponsoring events with alcohol.

IFC President Jordan Peterson said cases involving minor alcohol violations and violations of IFC policy or student organization regulations are the types of cases his organization will hear.

“Self-governance lightens SJS’s case load in the future, and helps to make GW a better place,” Peterson said. “The people doing the sentencing before didn’t necessarily understand how to adequately sanction Greek organizations,” Peterson said.

Peterson added that the IFC plans to suggest sanctions geared toward education and risk management rather than social probation, a punishment that SJS has given several fraternities and sororities in recent years.

SJS Director Tara Woolfson could not be reached for comment. Sara Gimmy, Panhellenic Association vice president of standards, cited an incident last fall where SJS placed educational sanctions on the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority for hazing new members as a case that the Panhellenic Association would have heard under self-governance.

“If sanctions come from within the community, chapters will have a better attitude toward them,” Gimmy said.

Miller said he does not think students will be more lenient on their peers in a self-governance situation.

“The funny thing is that it’s often assumed that students aren’t as harsh, but students are typically harder on each other,” Miller said.

He added that many universities have adopted a self-governance system for Greek-letter groups.

The Panhellenic Association is receiving self-governance for the first time. IFC was granted self-governance for a short time several years ago, but lost it while transitioning leaders.

-Caitlin Carroll contributed to this report.

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