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Iowa Implementing Changes to Fraternity/Sorority Life

New policies to take effect in 2022

The University of Iowa will implement a multi-pronged approach to support students and improve the fraternity and sorority life (FSL) experience on the University of Iowa campus. The changes, deployed at the university and chapter level, will have a positive, systemic, and long-term impact on Iowa’s campus.

New Chapters and Re-establishment of Chapters

Establishing new or re-establishing previously recognized chapters on campus is an important step for the university and for fraternity/sorority life culture. The university, starting in the fall semester 2022, will require new chapters or chapters seeking re-establishment on campus to review and agree to an updated expansion agreement.

The agreement outlines expectations and policies for being a member chapter of Fraternity and Sorority Life at the University of Iowa. Some of the expectations include:

  • Membership expectations related to student conduct and training/education
  • Restricting the ability to obtain a chapter house within the first five years
  • A new house director policy (see below)
  • Identifying local support systems, such as individuals to serve as graduate or alumni chapter advisors

House Directors in Chapter Facilities

The engaged professionals who live in chapter facilities are important on-the-ground influences for participating students. Providing professional wages, suitable housing, standard work week hours, and time off will ensure that individuals with experience in higher education and student affairs will be hired and retained.

The new policy will apply similarly for fraternities and sororities and be enforced by Fraternity and Sorority Life staff in collaboration with Alumni Boards and/or Housing Corporations. Specific duties that will be required of a house director include:

  • Serving as an on-site host at all social and recruitment functions
  • Serving as a host at all evening meals
  • Organizing and facilitating maintenance of the chapter house and yard
  • Working closely with the property management and its agents, to determine plan for overall care of property including snow removal, landscaping and mowing
  • Advising the house corporation and property management and its agents, on matters concerning the condition of the house and furnishings and the need for repair or replacement
  • Participating in House Director/House Corporation meetings and trainings hosted by FSL staff members during the fall and spring semesters

Recruitment Process

Joining a fraternity or sorority is a long-term commitment between a student and an organization. Fraternity and Sorority Life Programs staff members are currently reviewing options and drafting a proposal recommending changes to the membership intake and recruitment, including the possibility of a second-semester timeline.

Education and Training

Over the past year, Fraternity and Sorority Life Programs has developed a comprehensive education and training curriculum covering:

  • Alcohol education
  • Violence prevention
  • Academic excellence
  • Wellness
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Leadership development, and
  • Bystander intervention

A collaboration with the Women’s Resource and Action Center and Rape Victim Advocacy Program created a coordinated violence prevention education program for the Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) community. Chapter members access this training via ICON and council leadership have used this training as a mandatory educational program or a way to complete education requirements.

Compliance with education requirements is tracked by FSL staff members each semester and is publicly available via the FSL scorecard.

Additionally, all fraternity and sorority life students now participate in new member onboarding by reviewing the responsibilities of membership and access to services. This includes:

  • Academic support
  • Creating a healthy, safe learning and social environment
  • Implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, and
  • Involvement opportunities once a member of an FSL organization

FIJI Chapter Review

The University of Iowa is supporting the members of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity (FIJI) and the national headquarters of FIJI as they perform a holistic review of the Iowa chapter and its membership. The review includes questions regarding:

  • Law and policy compliance
  • Chapter and member-level accountability
  • GPA
  • Educational program attendance, and
  • Financial obligations

The review process will also include an internal recommitment process and outline the expectations of all members going forward.

This review is expected to conclude in mid-November with outcomes provided by the team assigned by FIJI national headquarters in collaboration with UI FSL staff members.

Transparency

The fraternity and sorority life scorecard and accountability action summary provides information to the public about chapters on campus. This information can help students, families, and chapter members engage in actions that will create positive change. The following information is shared every fall and spring:

  • Total members
  • New members
  • New member GPA
  • Semester GPA of the chapter
  • Hazing investigations
  • New member academy completion
  • Iowa FSL Awards
  • Hawkeye Leadership Awards
  • Bystander intervention training
  • Accountability action, and
  • Race/ethnicity of members