Frequently Asked Questions
Listed below are frequently asked questions the Fraternity has received in response to the new policies the Executive Council passed in regards to alcohol, new member experience and volunteer advisor education programs. We’ve addressed each of the listed questions below.
What is the new policy?
- Chapters are permitted to have beer, wine, wine-coolers and cider in the chapter house. No hard liquor is permitted in the chapter house at any time.
- All social events held in a chapter facility with alcohol must follow BYOB or third party vendor guidelines. Such functions shall only allow beer, wine, wine-coolers and cider.
- All social events held away from the chapter house must also abide by 3rd party vendor or BYOB guidelines. Only events hosted at an offsite-location that carries liability insurance are permitted to serve hard liquor. This location cannot be an off-campus house, apartment or townhome. These events must follow all third party vendor guidelines.
All members of the fraternity are expected to abide by all university/college, local, state and federal laws.
Why is this change being made?
The change in the Phi Kappa Psi Alcohol Policy is being made to promote a safer environment for undergraduate members and guests of Phi Kappa Psi. Please visit the following links for more information behind the decision to change the alcohol policy:
What is the desired outcome of this change?
With the changes in the alcohol policy and continued education regarding alcohol consumption, our objective is to establish a policy that promotes a safer environment in chapter housing and during social events for our members and guests. For the Policy to have positive impact, our members must act responsibly and hold others accountable.
What would you define as a chapter event?
There are multiple factors that can contribute to any event being considered a chapter event:
- The event is being hosted or planned by one or more members of the chapter or colony and supported by the officers of the chapter or colony
- The event is financed by the chapter and/or being hosted on chapter property
- The event is being hosted or planned by one or more members and supported by members/associate/new members
- Officers of the chapter have prior knowledge of the event
- The event is listed or advertised on the chapter website or social media accounts [e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GroupMe, etc.]
- Online invitations refer to Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Psi, PKP, your chapter/colony or its members
- The event is listed on a chapter calendar
- The event is announced at a chapter meeting or through social media
- Officers of the chapter will be in attendance
- The event will be promoted via the chapter communications channel(s)
- The event is actively or passively endorsed by a majority of active chapter members
- If guests were stopped on their way to the event, would they say they were going to a Phi Kappa Psi event?
Who/what qualifies as a third-party vendor?
To be a qualified, third-party vendor, someone must:
- Adhere to and comply with specific liquor laws that authorize distribution by a third-party.
- The company or person must be properly licensed by the appropriate local and state authority. This might involve both a liquor license and temporary license to sell on the premises where the function is to be held.
- The person or company must be properly insured with a minimum of $1,000,000 in general liability insurance, evidenced by a properly completed certificate of insurance prepared by the insurance provider.
- If the event is being held at a location that is not operated by the third party vendor, the above “certificate of insurance” must also show evidence that the vendor has, as part of his coverage, “off premise liquor liability coverage and non-owned and hired auto coverage.”
- The certificate of insurance must name as an additional insured (at a minimum), the local chapter of the fraternity hiring the vendor and the national fraternity with whom the local chapter is affiliated.
- The chapter should use the third party vendor checklist when preparing for a function.
Where can we have liquor?
The chapter should use the following guidelines to determine if liquor can be present at an event. The answer to these three questions must be “Yes.”
- Is the event being held at a bar or event location that carries liability insurance? (this does not include the chapter house)
- Is the liquor being served at a cash bar by a licensed third-party vendor?
- Has the chapter completed all necessary registration requirements through the University or Fraternity and Sorority Life Office?
What is considered an acceptable off-site location to have a third party vendor with liquor?
An acceptable off-site location for an event with liquor is a facility with liability insurance (e.g., bar, restaurant, hotel event space) that is not the chapter house. Off campus houses, apartments or other residential spaces are not acceptable off-site locations.
What if we don’t have a chapter house or dedicated chapter living space?
If your chapter or colony does not have a chapter house or dedicated chapter living space, you should still follow all applicable 3rd party vendor or BYOB guidelines. Liquor is only permitted at an acceptable off-site location with liability insurance (e.g., bar, restaurant, hotel event space). Events held elsewhere are considered “chapter living spaces” and are subject to the Fraternity’s alcohol policies.
What is a cash bar?
A cash bar allows guests to buy drinks individually rather than having them provided without charge by a chapter/colony or third party. All drinks must be sold by the third party vendor.
What should we do with the hard alcohol we currently have in the chapter house?
As you prepare to remove all hard alcohol from your house, you will need to establish a plan for universal removal. All existing hard alcohol must be disposed of or removed from the premises. Beginning Friday, June 29, all chapter houses must be free of hard alcohol. Beginning immediately, no chapter should have an event in the chapter house or chapter living space that includes any hard alcohol.
What about empty bottles of hard alcohol?
All representation of hard alcohol must also be removed from the chapter premises or chapter living space. Continuing to display or retain empty hard alcohol will only make your efforts to eliminate the actual liquor more difficult. Further, it is inconsistent with the values and purpose of the Policy.
What if we already have a third party event planned for the chapter house that occurs after the change?
You should proceed with the event in your chapter house only if the vendor will comply with the new standards. Please discuss the policy change with your third-party vendor and communicate that you are only able to have beer and wine served at your event.
Can we still have events with alcohol at the chapter house?
Yes, (unless restrictions from your House Corporation or university ban alcohol from your facility). You can still have events with alcohol at the chapter house. The chapter can hold a Bring Your Own Beer or Wine (BYO) function at the chapter house. The chapter brothers may also choose to have a third-party vendor serve beer or wine at a function.
What if we already have an event planned at a hotel or other venue?
If you have already planned an event at a hotel or other venue, the applicable guidelines have not changed. You may proceed subject to those guidelines.
What type of alcohol is permitted in the chapter house?
Beer, ciders, wine coolers and wine.
Can you please explain the BYO policy?
BYO guidelines state that an individual of legal drinking age may bring a maximum of one six-pack of 12 ounce beers, one four-pack of wine coolers, or one bottle of wine to an event for personal consumption.
How will the new alcohol policy be enforced and what will happen to a chapter if it is violated?
As Phi Psis, it is up to the members of the chapter to hold one another accountable. If a violation is reported, an investigation will be conducted and the Executive Council will take appropriate action based on the findings of the investigation. By August 15, 2019, all House Corporations that are part of the Fraternity Property Insurance program are required to place a clause in their lease or property use agreement that prohibits hard alcohol from being stored or consumed in the chapter house.
How can the chapter protect itself from problem individuals if they choose not to follow the new alcohol policies?
The chapter has the right to remove any member from the chapter for violating its Code of Conduct, chapter bylaws or National Fraternity bylaws. Headquarters staff members are available to work with chapters to help them better understand this process and to develop appropriate policy codes, bylaws and property use agreements.
Can we co-host a party at another fraternity house with liquor?
Yes, but under such circumstances, you must abide by the rules governing that fraternal organization. Your chapter should be sure that no other co-sponsor of such event co-finance a function where alcohol is purchased by any of the host chapters, groups or organizations.
New Member Education
Why the change to a 10-day New Member Orientation period?
Will the New Member Orientation period be a gradual shift or will it be more of an immediate change, and what does that plan look like?
As of the Fall 2018 term, all chapters will be expected to adopt and implement the member orientation program and continuing education. Given the ongoing health & safety issues we face as an organization and fraternal community, we believe it is in our best interest to launch this program immediately.
What constitutes the 10-day period?
As an example, if a candidate accepts an invitation for membership on Friday September 1, the chapter has until Monday, September 11 to complete the orientation process and initiate the new member. Chapters do not have to wait until the tenth day to initiate their members—they may initiate at any point during the 10 days as long as the chapter completes the minimum expectations of the orientation period. Federal holidays and extended university breaks will not count towards the 10-day period.
What will occur during the 10-day period?
Chapters will schedule three separate education sessions conducted on three separate occasions. Each evening will have a unique theme and purpose, covering important topics such as getting to know the brothers and other new members, learning resources on campus, exploring why the Creed and Phi Psi’s values are important to members and alumni, understanding the expectations and obligations of membership, and understanding what national and local opportunities are available to brothers. These are the critical topics and discussions to allow prospective members to make the decision whether to initiate or not. The New Member Ceremony will be the first event that occurs on evening one of the orientation process.
What is the official term for the members going through this new process?
Since 2013, the National Fraternity specifically used the term New Member to identify and refer to a person “pledging” to join Phi Kappa Psi. We will continue to refer to them as New Members during the 10-day New Member Orientation period.
How can we educate our men on our local/national history and expectations in 10 days?
Member education is an ongoing process that is not exclusive to those just joining the fraternity. As members of an organization that requires a lifelong commitment, it is important that we continue to emphasize lifelong education. The current six week new member program does not provide all of the education new members should receive, and no program that we could develop would do so. Education should begin during recruitment to provide every new member with the most accurate representation of the organization before he decides to join.
Many of our chapters currently operate under the guise that the only time to educate is when men are new members. The New Member Orientation period provides opportunities to begin learning history, expectations and obligations. That education does not stop once they are initiated, which is why this program focuses so much on continuing education.
Have other organizations had success with a model like this?
We are not the first national fraternity to pursue a change in new member education. Sigma Phi Epsilon introduced the Balanced Man program in 1993, and it is considered an industry best practice in continued member education. Zeta Beta Tau instituted a 72-hour initiation rule in 1989, Alpha Gamma Rho eliminated pledging in 1992, and Sigma Alpha Epsilon created a 96-hour program in 2015. All four organizations have seen positive benefits from these changes. In particular, Sigma Alpha Epsilon has seen a major reduction in insurance claims during the past two years. Alpha Kappa Lambda also recently eliminated the “pledge process”. Across the fraternity and sorority industry, changes to organizational education and operations to craft healthier, safer experiences are occurring more frequently with positive results. While at the forefront of this policy change, Phi Psi will not be the last organization to commit to a stronger and healthier new member integration process.
What are the educational requirements for newly-initiated brothers under this new model?
New brothers will still be required to complete GreekLifeEdu and CllftonStrengths® by an established deadline. They will also be expected to participate in the Fraternity’s continued education program that will be rolled out later this summer.
How does this affect the New Member Educator position?
In this new model, the New Member Educator will become the Fraternity Educator. They will work closely with the Health & Wellness Chair, Risk Manager and Scholarship Chair to create a full membership education experience. This person will be tasked with managing a committee that coordinates and supports the educational needs for all members and holds them accountable to completing their annual requirements.
How will progress in the continued education program be tracked?
Phi Kappa Psi will be building a system via our new technology partnership with ChapterSpot for members to individually track their progress in each area of the continued education program. The Fraternity Educator and other key officers and advisors will have access to track progress by all chapter/colony members. It will be rolled out later this summer.
With these changes, can we anticipate that insurance rates will fall?
Not necessarily, but the possibility is real. Ultimately, our objective is to create a safer environment for our members. We believe that this is one step towards that objective. If the number of insurance claims are reduced over time, we may see a reduction in the cost of insurance for chapters. As of now, the Fraternity’s insurance premium is higher than the average of our FRMT counterparts.
Can we change our chapter bylaws to disavow the unit rule in favor of something less stringent to kick out problem members?
The Unit Rule remains in place as part of our Constitution and must be followed by all chapters. If it is determined that a member is no longer worthy of being a full-fledged brother, the chapter must follow the process set forth in the Constitution, Bylaws and Rules of Phi Kappa Psi. Headquarters staff members are preparing education files and webinars for chapters to better understand this process. Please look for more information in the coming months.
What happens if a chapter takes an underground class, does not report a class to the Headquarters or includes activities in the 10 days that are not a part of the program?
Each instance where this occurs will be addressed in the same manner as any policy infraction by the Fraternity’s Headquarters and Executive Council. Our drive is to develop and implement a program that provides a healthy experience for all members. We encourage chapters to avoid looking for workarounds or outright policy infractions.
Will this eliminate hazing?
This policy change alone will not eliminate hazing. The intent of this change is
- To emphasize fraternity education as a life-long experience, not a six week program
- To redirect attention to the Ritual and Creed of Phi Kappa Psi
- Create a culture where our newest members do not tolerate poor treatment
- Create a culture where our members are willing to speak up and address unhealthy behaviors in their chapter
Hazing is an action taken by an individual or group to reinforce a system of dominance. There is an inherent power dynamic in the ongoing new member education process between brothers and new members. This makes it difficult for new members to stand up for themselves in the face of hazing practices without sacrificing social and political capital and potentially severing relationships with current brothers and new members. By limiting the time these men serve as new members, it creates an environment where they are more likely to hold each other accountable to the Ritual and Creed early on in their membership, and make it less likely that they are willing to tolerate abhorrent behaviors.
A shortened new member education period may help reduce instances with new members, but how will the Fraternity work to reinforce the values of the organization with active members to curtail hazing, sexual assault and alcohol violations?
The Fraternity is already engaged in comprehensive educational efforts with our members on those topics. A majority of it is being tackled through our award-winning ELEVATE Health & Wellness program that addresses dangerous drinking behaviors, sexual violence prevention, healthy masculinity, and other related topics through a variety of awareness campaigns, in-person programs with volunteer facilitators, and comprehensive Campus Resource Guides.
Our Standards team is working proactively with chapters that experience issues with hazing, sexual assault and alcohol violations. Our Consultants are also working with chapters on their visits to have discussions around policies (e.g. Ladder of Risk) and other risk prevention initiatives.
These continued education programs will reinforce the Fraternity’s focus on the Ritual, Creed and our values while providing expectations for members to be educated and trained on key topics.
How does this affect our chapter’s recruitment efforts?
One of the top concerns of parents and potential members alike when asked about fraternity membership is hazing. We anticipate this having a positive influence on recruitment. Given chapters and new members will have 10 days to decide if membership in Phi Kappa Psi is for them, it will require chapters to do as much as possible in the recruitment period to ensure men given invitations for membership are worthy. Chapters who embrace 365-recruitment will have the most success in ensuring each invitation for membership is considered carefully and selectively.
We recognize some universities only allow about a week in the fall term for chapters to meet potential new members and invite them to join their organization. If this is the case, chapters will need to be more selective about who they invite in during that short period and be willing to add additional members at later dates (i.e. halfway through the term, the spring term, etc.).
If New Member Orientation over 10 days is a way of weeding out those who do not have the heart for or emulate the values of the Fraternity, will there be other methods of evaluation besides the Unit Rule?
Successful chapters will focus the majority of their efforts on recruitment to set themselves up for success in this new system. The former system of new member education was not designed to be a method for weeding out new members—it traditionally existed as a way for worthy men to learn more about the organization and the members, and to determine if membership reflected their expectations and standards. Invitations for membership should only be given if the chapter is confident the new member will make a great Brother. The new system is designed to be a time for prospective members and the Brothers to become acquainted with one another and make a calculated decision as to whether lifelong membership in the organization is a fit for both sides.
How do we respond to other organizations who may say that we are not building brotherhood with a shortened education period and only care about collecting dues and not about building lifelong connections?
Brotherhood is not built in a day, 10 days or six weeks. It’s an ongoing, lifelong process of men building trust and camaraderie through shared experiences. This new approach will reinforce that Brothers need to continually earn each other’s trust and build brotherhood underneath the Fraternity’s Ritual, Creed and values as initiated members. By eliminating a lengthy new member education process, it emphasizes that all Brothers should be connecting with one another versus simply expecting new members to get to know each other. One of the biggest challenges we’ve seen in chapters over time is a culture where new members are expected to get to know initiated members, but there was not a reciprocal expectation.
How does reducing the length of time a person is a new member from six weeks to 10 days give anyone the incentive to learn and understand the values and history of the Fraternity?
Members can create the incentive to learn more about Phi Kappa Psi, its values and history, by recognizing Phi Psi as a top chapter on their campus and living the values of the Fraternity. Demonstrating that they are a chapter worth joining — along with an active recruitment strategy based on building relationships with prospective members — will naturally develop an incentive for them to join and learn more about Phi Kappa Psi.
Will this change allow chapters to take multiple classes of new brothers each term?
Chapters are encouraged to take as many classes per term as they are able and willing. Hypothetically, a chapter could take upward of four to five new classes of prospective members each term if they choose to do so. Those chapters who are already practicing 365 recruitment will be better prepared to start taking multiple classes per term.
With this new change, are there any plans to include parents in the recruiting process as a way of determining a potential member’s character?
During the member orientation process, chapters will be encouraged to connect with the parents of prospective members to help them better understand the obligations and expectations of membership. To maximize recruitment efforts, chapters should understand the qualities they seek in potential members and find every avenue possible to learn about the character of their recruits.
Does this violate any of the Constitution, Bylaws and Rules?
No. This does not violate any Phi Kappa Psi governing documents. The development of this program and other policy changes have sparked discussions on other amendment changes. The bylaws refer to pledging, but since this is not abolishing pledging, but rather shortening it, there is no conflict with the current bylaws.
How will we remove someone who has been initiated if we find out later that they are not worthy of membership within the Fraternity?
According to the Phi Kappa Psi Constitution, Bylaws and Rules (CBR); Rules Article I, Charges and Trials, Section 4: Procedures Upon Charges Proffered Before a Chapter, Clause 9: Whenever the findings of the Judicial Committee shall be adverse to the defendant, the chapter may impose whatever penalty it may deem suitable, provided that a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the undergraduate members of the chapter shall be necessary to suspend or expel a defendant.
The Headquarters staff will be preparing a webinar for the fall term to help educate chapter leadership on this process.
Does HQ have any advice on how to assign big/little brothers since 10 days is not enough time to really get to know a new member?
First, your chapter should be learning as much as possible about a potential recruit before you offer him an invitation for membership. A bid should not be given to a recruit unless his character, values, and goals are understood, and it has been determined he would make a great member. If you do your homework on potential new members, it should help eliminate the worry that 10 days isn’t enough time to get to know a potential member before asking him to join and assigning him a mentor.
We recommend assigning big brothers simultaneous with the initiation ceremony or immediately after.
Were any members beyond the Executive Council consulted before making this change?
This decision was not made lightly. It has been an ongoing conversation among the Executive Council (EC) (Archons included), our peer organizations, the Fraternity’s Headquarters staff, chapter advisors, house corporation members and other experienced and knowledgeable volunteers. A number of volunteers were invited to the Executive Council meetings in December and February to participate in lengthy discussions on this topic, and solicited through emails for additional input and guidance. Research on the topic was circulated to all attendees ahead of each meeting to understand the entire context of the environments in which we are operating. The Executive Council and Headquarters staff have also been closely monitoring the recommendations of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) and the policy changes being implemented at host institutions across the country, to determine the best plan of action.
How will the success or failure of the Member Orientation program be evaluated?
We are developing a comprehensive assessment strategy to help us understand the long-term impact of the changes to our education approach and the overall impact of the Phi Psi experience on our members. More information will be available as the plans are finalized.
When should we expect more information on the program and any necessary resources?
More information will be available at the GAC in Las Vegas July 11-15. All necessary resources will be available to chapters at the latest in early August.
Will there be a conference call to discuss this topic further with the membership?
Yes, the intention is to further discuss this topic during scheduled call later in the spring. The exact timing has yet to be determined, and more information will follow.
Who do we contact if we have additional questions?
Please send your additional questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why are we adding barriers to entry to find volunteers and keep them involved?
If you are an alumnus and willing to volunteer, there is a role for you. As an organization, we are adding new resources to keep our volunteers and leaders updated on current campus issues. Rather than barriers, these are aids to better train, prepare and guide you for your time as an advisor and leader.
How do I become a Certified Advisor?
By completing the advisor certification program. The training will blend self-guided online trainings with an expectation of attendance at Regional Officer Training by a member of the Chapter Advisory Team. The Chapter Advisor is expected to meet the training requirements by August 15, 2019.
Many chapters find it very challenging to get quality alumni to volunteer in an advisory role. Do these requirements apply to only the Chapter Advisors or to all members of an Advisory committee?
The requirements for the certification will include the Chapter Advisor and any members of his/her advisory team. Only one advisor from each team will be required to attend ROT to fulfill the in-person trainings. This may be subject to change as financial resources increase or other in-person programs are developed in the future.
How will the advisor certification training be implemented?
In the Fall 2018 semester, advisors will be notified when they can begin certification training. We are currently in process of moving to a new CRM system. When that is deployed, we should have more details available.
Is there a cost to the advisor to become certified?
No. The cost to provide this certification is paid by Headquarters.
How long will it take for an advisor to get certified?
Most of the certification will take place through self-guided online modules. We do expect the Chapter Advisor (or member of advisory team) to at least attend Regional Officer Training (ROT). We currently estimate it may take 15-20 hours of time (outside of ROT attendance) between the rollout and certification deadline date of August 15, 2019 (about 60 to 90 minutes per month).
Will advisors be consulted to ensure that the certification program is well-rounded?
Selected chapter advisors will help build the program and provide feedback before the program is officially rolled out. This feedback will be compiled and taken into consideration for any changes to and future development of the program.
Will there be a continuing education requirement for advisor certification?
Yes. Continuing education will be required, and this program is currently under development.
Will there be a test that an advisor will have to successfully pass?
There are no tests that an advisor will need to pass. However, we are requiring completion of online modules for all advisors and attendance at Regional Officer Training by at least one person on the advisory team.
After the initial pilot program for regional advisors is complete, how many regional advisors will there be per region, and how will they be selected?
Our goal is to systematically roll out the regional advisor program to all districts at one time. Regional advisors will be broken into approximately two per district – roughly following the pattern of the Regional Officer Training groups. This has the added benefit of creating a built-in, in-person meeting point for all advisors and the regional advisor in each area they oversee.
As to the selection of regional advisors, the Fraternity Staff, in conjunction with the Executive Council, will work to select experienced and qualified individuals within each of those geographic locations.
How will the success of the regional advisor model be determined?
Benchmarks will be created to review progress. The intention is that more alumni involvement will lead to: Lack of chapter advisory team vacancies, an improved network of alumni to share best practices, and development of regional advisors who will provide guidance and serve as a resource to those in his area.