Greek Life update
Binghamton University's response to spring 2012 hazing allegations
In March and April 2012, Binghamton University offices began receiving anonymous and second-hand reports of hazing among Greek organizations. On April 11, 2012, the University took bold and decisive 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. In an April 19, 2012 article, The New York Times then wrote "the move at Binghamton is emblematic of an increasingly tough stance on hazing and on other forms of student misbehavior on campuses nationwide."
From that point forward, Binghamton's Division of Student Affairs has consistently directed extensive attention not only to responding to the specific reports of hazing from the spring 2012 semester, but also at developing a more durable response aimed at changing the culture of fraternities and sororities at the University.
A timeline and review of all actions taken:
- On April 11, 2012, Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Rose approved an action by then-Acting Dean of Students Lloyd Howe suspending all fraternity and sorority activities in any way connected to new-member initiation and Howe and his staff met with fraternity and sorority leadership.
- On April 12, 2012, the decision was explained and communicated to parents and students via various communication outlets.
- On April 12, 2012, the vice president for student affairs directed staff from multiple student affairs offices (Residential Life, Student Conduct, Off Campus College and Multicultural Resource Center) as well as University police to assist the Greek Life Office in pursuing investigation of all complaints as a priority over all other duties.
- On April 16, 2012, Binghamton University announced a process permitting organizations not under investigation to induct new members under close supervision.
- For the remainder of the spring 2012 semester, 14 investigations of the various allegations were conducted under the direction of the Dean of Students Office and three matters were referred to police. Some investigations continued into the beginning of the fall 2012 semester. Though no person communicating concerns to the University was ever willing to formally participate in a review process, and though no police investigation concluded with sufficient findings to support criminal charges, outcomes of the University process have nonetheless included: suspended privileges (new-member intake and use of college resources), additional administrative oversight, hazing and risk-reduction education, increased participation of local advisors and national offices, delayed recruitment start dates, internal accountability systems for groups, and strengthened and transparent new-member programs.
- At the conclusion of the spring 2012 semester, Rose asked the acting dean of students to review the University's structure for oversight of fraternities and sororities and make recommendations for strengthening that oversight. On June 25, 2012, Rose accepted recommendations to elevate the Greek affairs position from an assistant director to a director level, to have it report at a higher level (directly to the dean of students) and to undertake a review of the governance document defining the relationship between the University and fraternities and sororities. A search for a new Greek life director was immediately launched.
- On August 6, 2012, new Dean of Students April Thompson began her employment and was immediately tasked by Rose to develop a plan to engage fraternity and sorority members in a reform and review process for the fall 2012 semester.
- On August 20, 2012, Rose formally accepted the plan outlined by Thompson, which was communicated to students by her letter dated August 28, 2012 (pdf, 61.2kb).
- On September 4-6, 2012, the dean of student's staff, Rose and Thompson met with hundreds of individual fraternity and sorority members to explain the semester plan and process for review moving forward. We anticipate securing external support for a formal review process as we move forward in accordance with the plan developed by Thompson.
Our partnership with students will be key to the success of any these efforts to make positive change.
As a result of these initiatives 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.
Beginning the week of Sept. 24, several candidates for the University's open director of Greek life position will be brought to campus for interviews. Each candidate will hold an open session for the campus community, which will be announced on Dateline.