If you are reading this, there is a good chance you are aware of the challenges the Greek-life community has faced in the past few months. Our once thriving community now appears weakened after several chapters were under investigation for hazing, alcohol and drug-related changes throughout the fall.
But that is old news and we are not weakened. While there are no excuses for the events of last semester, it is time to move on. As a community, we need to support the chapters’ decisions to accept the charges and sanctions the University handed them. But these chapters were also given an opportunity to be contributing members of the community again. These chapters know they have made mistakes, and are making sure their transgressions are not repeated.
Greek life always has been and will be an important part of the GW experience. Chapters of the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association and Multicultural Greek Council have all shown their impact on campus life in numerous ways, including strong chapter GPAs, community service and philanthropic efforts, as well as promising leadership across this campus and beyond. In these past two weeks, I have been amazed at the continued strength of this community in the face of challenges.
Just in the past few days I, along with the rest of the IFC Executive Board, made an effort to visit the rush events for all fraternities on campus. Freshmen, sophomores and even some juniors turned out in high numbers in order to learn more about the possibility of joining a fraternity at GW. Close to 200 men attended rush events. Of the presidents and recruitment chairs I spoke with, all told me these were the best spring rushes they had seen.
And I’m going to make sure that positive experience continues for the brothers and new members. As someone who is actively involved in the drafting of the new self-governance policy, I believe the change will make our community more accountable. I urge all who are judging this policy on its name alone to attempt to do more to understand it rather than criticize it.
The policy – jointly crafted by Student Judicial Services and the IFC – is meant to implement education and enforcement of the values we are supposed to uphold as a community. When finalized, SJS will use its discretion to determine which cases it will hear and which it will delegate to the IFC Judicial Board to hear and issue judgment upon. Even in cases that are sent directly to SJS, the IFC Judicial Board has the ability to hold its own hearing and issue punishments in concurrence with SJS. By empowering the Greek-life community, the University has given us an incentive to become part of the process to enforce the standards we hold ourselves to.
Every fraternity member I have spoken with these past few weeks is excited to begin a new kind of relationship with the administration, and is dedicated to making sure our judicial representatives are active and effective in their judgments.
There is still no excuse for the actions that took place last semester. That being said, the Greek-life community is ready to be an even stronger and greater positive force within GW. I know that every member of the Greek-life community and administration official I have spoken with is motivated and excited to rebuild our community’s image. It is time for us all to focus on moving forward.
Frank Gervasio is the president of the Interfraternity Council and a member of Beta Theta Pi.