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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Last spring, after receiving several reports of hazing, Binghamton University took action by shutting down the Greek system and halting all new-member activities to allow time to investigate the allegations and develop plans for student safety. This was a tremendous step that garnered local and national media attention, in part because few schools have been willing to take such a strong stand about safety. Binghamton acted BEFORE tragedy struck us and this has been a clear wake-up call to our community.

Since that time, my office has been working directly with the Greek organizations on campus to create new programs that emphasize values and, most importantly, student safety. You can find a summary of our efforts to this point here.

In September, the Office of Student Conduct concluded interviews with the six Greek organizations that remained under investigation and all have cooperated. We are now partnering with these organizations to improve their new-member programs and eliminate any activities that involve hazing. Each organization that violated University Policy is now being offered an administrative agreement that includes required education and administrative oversight for them to be allowed to recruit new members. We've had excellent input from students on crafting the best agreements and we're supporting any restrictions that have been imposed by the national organizations. We believe that these programs will be a positive step forward for the entire Greek community.

As a result of these signed agreements and the partnering we've been doing with Greek organization leadership, we will host Greek new-member intake this semester for most organizations, beginning Sunday, Sept. 23. The leadership of the seven Greek councils on campus is actively working to create a safe intake environment and we are working with students to establish new-member education periods and programs including day-long retreats and workshops on topics such as anti-hazing and fire safety. Students are taking the lead in reviewing their value statements, re-training all members, launching academic initiatives, building internal accountability systems, and working with local and national advisors to be sure the groups are putting real values into action.

Following initiation, we expect that members of fraternities and sororities will continue as students in good academic standing or limit fraternity and sorority involvement to activities that directly enhance scholarship and high academic performance.

Our partnership with students and the Binghamton community will be key to the success of any of our efforts to make positive change. We know we have a lot of work ahead and I am prepared to do all that I can to move us forward to a Greek program that is safe and respectful of individual rights, and that benefits the University and its surrounding communities. I am looking for help from community partners who would be willing to advise organizations, participate in the search for a director of Greek Life, develop new academic initiatives or simply provide input and advice.

Later this month, several candidates for the University's open director of Greek Life position will be brought to campus for interviews that will include an open session for the campus community which we will announce on Dateline. We encourage you to attend these open sessions and provide input into the hiring of this key position.

We expect additional challenges and issues to arise as we move forward. If you hear about any activities that may compromise the safety of our students or you see something that concerns you, let us know immediately. You can contact the University Police at 607-777-2393 or the Dean of Students Office directly at 607-777-2804.

Here are a few resources for more information:

A timeline of actions taken since spring 2012

Binghamton University Fraternity/Sorority Recognition and Governance Document

Code of Student Conduct

If you have any questions, contact my office at 607-777-2804 or dos@binghamton.edu.

April Thompson
Dean of Students

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Last Updated: 9/28/12