Officials begin search for assistant director of fraternity and sorority life

Media Credit: File Photo by Chanler Miller | Photographer

The new assistant director of sorority and fraternity life will manage housing and other aspects of Greek life on campus.

Officials started to look for a new assistant director of fraternity and sorority life late last month, according to a University job posting.

GW launched the search for a replacement for Ethan Stubbs, who stepped down in January, on Feb. 26, according to the post. The job posting states that the director will provide recommendations and oversight about Greek student involvement and advising, implement fraternity and sorority life initiatives – like assignments, budgets and training – and help manage Greek housing properties, among other functions.

“This position will serve as an instrumental liaison between campus and external partners, students, alumni, national offices and other stakeholders on behalf of these priorities,” the post states.

University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal did not return a request for comment about a timeline for the search, if a search committee will field for candidates or if officials will consult outside hiring firms.

Greek life experts said the new director must be able to serve as an effective liaison between administrators and students, particularly in facilitating conversations about pervasive issues in Greek organizations like racism, hazing and sexual assault.

Matthew Richardson, the director of the office of fraternity and sorority life at West Virginia University, said “transparency is key” for directors to build trust with students, who sometimes feel administrators are “out to get them.”

“Greek life is a subset of student culture, but it’s very much its own culture in that we have our own language, we have ways that we take in numbers,” he said. “There’s sort of the social capital that’s built there, so I think if you’re going to be a professional that’s going to be directing a community, you have to be able to speak that language.”

Richardson said the new director can facilitate organic conversations that “inspire” students to continue discussing sensitive topics in Greek life – like racism, sexual assault and hazing – that might be of the University’s concern.

Officials told Panhellenic Association chapters in September that sororities would be prohibited from holding social events or participating in informal recruitment after a racist Snapchat from a former sorority president surfaced.

Richardson added that Greek life directors need to be more innovative in approaching the pervasiveness of certain issues in Greek life with discussions and campaigns.

IFC members instituted risk management roundtable discussions last spring to discuss how to mitigate risks like sexual assault and improve mental health awareness.

“If we start treating these topics in a checkbox format where it’s, ‘OK, we did it right, we did our sexual assault training for the year, we did our diversity cultural awareness training,’ students are going to stop listening,” Richardson said.

David Hotz, the University of Washington’s director of fraternity and sorority life, said public institutions typically govern Greek chapters under the same rules as other student organizations, while private schools enact Greek life-specific policies that regulate areas like housing.

He said both methods are sufficient to keep Greek organizations in line, as long as the hired director works well with students and helps “empower them in their own leadership track.”

“No matter what rules or policies you’re working with, you’ve got to try and work with those successfully be at a public or a private or anything else,” Hotz said.

Ryne Burds, the assistant director of fraternity and sorority life at the University of Tampa, said the new director should have strong institutional knowledge of how different Greek life councils operate and “excellent” leadership skills to effectively advise Greek life leaders.

Burds said internally selecting a new director could expedite the hiring process and minimize the “learning curve” for the next director, but a candidate from another institution can bring a “fresh” perspective to the office that can more easily identify areas for improvement.

“I am always one to want to hire externally, but if someone internally fits what we are looking for, I would hire them in a heartbeat as well,” Burds said in an email.

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