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AU Panhellenic Association passes "Events with Recognized Fraternity" policy

Policy mandates that sororities only participate in events with fraternities in 'good standing' with University

The AU Panhellenic Association passed a new policy stating that sorority members may only participate in events with fraternities that are in “good standing” with the University at a Delegate’s Meeting on Nov. 17.

Article XVIII, which reinforces the National Panhellenic Council’s policy on “Events with Recognized Fraternities,” emphasizes the 2015 Edition of the NPC’s “Manual of Information,” which states that member organizations can only participate in events involving men’s fraternities if those fraternities are active and in good standing with their national or international organizations and the University, according to Michelle Le, president of the AUPA.

“That is the same language that they [the National Panhellenic Council] have in their existing policies already, it’s just that we went ahead and clarified and made the language more targeted and narrowed to American University,” Le said.

The Article uses positive language to reinforce existing policies found within the NPC Manual Information, which each sorority member is required to follow. However, the Article itself is tailored specifically to American University.

“When you’re in ‘good standing,’ that means that your organization isn’t under investigation, your organization is recognized by your headquarters and your organization is recognized by the University,” Le said. “Under various circumstances, your recognition, either by your headquarters or the University, can be revoked or rescinded.”

The Article discusses collegiate chapters that are not in good standing and student groups that are unrecognized by American University and the University Center. This language is used to include all unrecognized men’s fraternities that operate near or on campus.

“You can have organizations that were once recognized by the University, but lost recognition, and then you can have organizations that never were organizations, but are attempting to become organizations, or are just operating,” Le said.

According to Le, this discretion in language was suggested by Colin Gerker, assistant director of Fraternity and Sorority Life at AU, who has seen men’s organizations that simply materialize with no charter from any national organization or any recognition from their university.

“This bylaw amendment is something to give chapters something to lean back on,” Le said. “We’re not restricting anyone’s civil liberties, we’re not saying ‘you as a person cannot be friends with them,’ we’re saying, ‘you as a chapter cannot associate with them and have an organizational relationship’ as opposed to a personal relationship.”

The article has the support of the Office of Campus Life as an attempt to address the issue of unrecognized chapters and their operations, Gail Hanson, vice president of Campus Life, said in a press release.

“The Panhellenic Council’s new bylaws help us address the detrimental effects of disbanded organizations’ continuing engagement in Fraternity and Sorority Life,” according to the press release. “We appreciate the Council’s leadership in asking its members to adopt a new and higher standard for their activities.”

“This amendment solidifies our point that we as Panhellenic women do not associate with unrecognized Greek organizations that have lost national recognition and University recognition,” Panhellenic Council Vice President of Administration and Standards Lauren Wiggins said in the press release. “We hold ourselves to a standard that these groups do not represent. They are fundamentally at odds with our values and presents a danger and risk to all students.”

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