Greek Suspension 1
Club & Greek

University Suspends Greek Organizations Indefinitely

Greek life at Monmouth University “has been suspended indefinitely” as of Aug. 20 by administrators.

University President Grey Dimenna, Esq., and Vice President of Student Life and Leadership Engagement Mary Anne Nagy shared their official decision in an email sent out to all students and faculty on Sept. 6.

Their decision was prompted by a series of events, including the closure of two Greek organizations, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Alpha Kappa Psi, by their national headquarters last semester, a severe drop in academics, and hazing allegations.  “All non-educational Greek activities are cancelled,” said Nagy in a joint interview with Dimenna on Aug. 30. 

“This includes any social, philanthropic, or recruitment events. The Office of Student Activities will continue to host events that will teach students about risk management, alcohol and drug education, sexual misconduct, Training for Intervention ProcedureS (TIPS) training, among other topics,” said Nagy.

The decision to suspend Greek Life was not an immediate one.  Students involved in the Greek Senate, the Inter-Fraternity Council, and the Panhellenic Council (three leadership councils which oversee the Greek community) met with Nagy and Dimenna on May 1.  They were assigned the task of creating a proposal to reform Greek life and create a “sustained and meaningful change” by Aug. 15, with the final proposal draft to be submitted to Dimenna by Oct. 15 to determine what will be of Greek Life for the Spring 2019 semester.  However, when Dimenna didn’t receive such a draft by the Aug. 20 deadline, he chose to take action with a suspension.

Greek Suspension 2The Greek Senate, the Inter-Fraternity Council, and Panhellenic Council all declined to comment to The Outlook. 

“The idea here is not to punish the Greeks,” said Dimenna.  “We want to encourage and empower the Greeks to change the environment, to change the system so it is a positive experience for the students.”

 Dimenna continued, “I say it’s an opportunity for them to really make a huge change in how they operate and how they interact with each other on campus, and my goal is to assist them with realizing that new system of operations.  Let’s work together to create something better.”

There is currently an online petition with over 780 signatures to preserve Greek Life on campus.

In the Spring 2018 semester, Tau Kappa Epsilon was shut down following the death of a student from alcohol intoxication coming from a fraternity party.  Similarly, Alpha Kappa Psi was shut down after severe hazing allegations were levied against the Fraternity.  Once the national headquarters for an organization terminates the charter, the University cannot continue with that organization. 

There are approximately 900 students involved in Greek life, and the closure of Alpha Kappa Psi and Tau Kappa Epsilon brought that figure to about 750.

Additionally, academics plummeted last semester.  Spring semesters yield bigger number of initiated students because the University requires at least one semester of classes, 12 credits, and a GPA of 2.5 to be eligible to join Greek life.   This is known as a deferred recruitment.

According to the Spring 2018 Academic Report, found on the University’s website, of the 16 organizations of campus, only seven made or exceeded the University average of 3.19.  The new members’ GPAs for the spring semester upon initiation, however, were even more concerning.

“When you look just at new members’ GPAs for the Spring semester, 12 of the previously 16 organizations did not make the University average of 3.19,” said Nagy.  “That’s 75 percent.  Ultimately, we are an academic institution, and academics should be our first and foremost priority.”

Another indicator in the decline of Greek life is the most recent performance of the Greek Excellence Packet, a lengthy document of about 100 pages that shows each individual organization’s progress and involvement for a school year. 

Topics covered include leadership positions, community service hours, campus involvement, new member education programs, academics, and more.  These areas are scored, with a total score out of 680 points.  Michelle Kaplan, Assistant Director to Student Activities for Fraternities and Sororities, explains how Greek organizations did this past year. “We were across the board with how organizations did,” said Kaplan.

 “We had organizations make gold, silver, and bronze rankings.  We also had a couple that were accredited and a couple that weren’t,” continued Kaplan.  Those organizations that weren’t accredited have certain sanctions to work on, otherwise they may lose the University’s cooperation if they don’t meet these expectations.

Dimenna and Nagy are hoping to help facilitate any changes proposed as quickly and thoroughly as possible for implementation.  “There is every opportunity for them to succeed, if they want to, and we have made it clear to them that we want to help,” said Dimenna.  “But, make no mistake, if they do not deliver, there will be consequences.  I’m a nice guy, but I’m not that nice.”

“I think just shutting down the Greek system is a little draconian and a little overbearing,” said Dimenna.  “This isn’t just a Monmouth issue; this is a nationwide issue.  A number of institutions have shut down their Greek systems following deaths of students from hazing, overindulgence of alcohol…and I told the Greek leaders in May, I’m not going to wait until that happens.”

Once again, the final draft deadline for the Greek leadership councils to the administrators is October 15th.

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University

PHOTO TAKEN by Ray Romanski