Proactive review to strengthen fraternity and sorority life

February 7, 2019 By Meredith McGlone

The University of Wisconsin–Madison will work with students, alumni, campus and community stakeholders and nationally recognized experts in an external review of fraternity and sorority life. The review aims to strengthen these student organizations, which have been a part of campus life since 1857, and ensure they have a robust future.

“We appreciate the many contributions individuals and chapters have made to UW–Madison.  We also know that, as at other campuses around the country, challenges remain,” says Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor. “This review aims to help our fraternities and sororities benefit from the many new initiatives and best practices that are being developed nationally. Overall, this review is intended to increase safety in our community and to elevate to a new standard of excellence.”

UW–Madison currently has 60 fraternity and sorority chapters made up of 4,500 student members. The chapters are overseen by four councils: Interfraternity Council (IFC), Multicultural Greek Council (MGC), National Pan-hellenic Council (NPHC), and Panhellenic Association (PHA).

The university implemented the review proactively, not in response to any specific incident or issue. It will assess, clarify, and strengthen the relationship between the university and the fraternity and sorority community.

“Our shared goal is for students to be healthy and safe and for fraternities and sororities to contribute positively to the campus community through their shared values of scholarship, leadership, service and brotherhood/sisterhood,” says Reesor.

During the spring semester, the external review team will assess specific areas including accountability, diversity and inclusion, institutional relationship, membership experience, resources and support, and student safety. Team members will engage with current students and alumni as well as campus and community stakeholders. A report and recommendations are expected by summer.

“I fully support the charge for an external review of the entire FSL community,” says Ace Hilliard, a graduate of UW–Madison and member of Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority Inc. “It will give our institutional leadership the awareness of the issues the community is having on a systematic and community-wide level, and this review could show where and what improvements could be made to give our students the ability to thrive as Greek leaders on this campus. With a community of 4,000+ students, this is a powerful number that can create lasting change on this campus if provided with the tools to do so.”