Executive Council Motions (Spring 2018)

This communication will be updated as new information becomes available. Please check back regularly for details.

Alcohol Policy

The last year-and-a-half has proven tragic as four fraternity members from different organizations died in their bid to become active members and proudly wear their groups’ letters. Not one of these men figured that joining a fraternity could be deadly. Nor did the members of these groups, including Phi Kappa Psi, ever figure that the choices they would make – or did not make – would have profound impacts on their own lives and the reputations of themselves, the organizations they represent and the host institutions they attend.

For Phi Kappa Psi and all Greek-letter organizations, these incidents have sparked national conversations about the value of Greek membership and the need to further define purpose, prove value and demonstrate that they deserve a place on campus. As strong men of character, it is the responsibility of Phi Kappa Psi leaders to ensure a safe and healthy fraternity experience for all members. This not only reduces liability, but leads to positive, lasting memories during the undergraduate years and beyond. That’s why effective immediately:

  1. Beer, wine, wine coolers, and cider are the only alcoholic beverages permitted in chapter houses. This is a courageous step forward for the Fraternity, and one that will reduce the potential for hazing to occur and the negative consequences that often follow.
  2. House corporation officers will also be leveraged to help enforce this policy. Those who utilize the Phi Kappa Psi Property Insurance Program will be required to include a clause restricting alcohol above 15% ABV, and it will be up to officers to be positive role models to their fellow chapter brothers.
  3. Finally, alcohol above 15% ABV can only be provided and served by a licensed, third party vendor at an off site location. This means not at the chapter house or any chapter-related facility (e.g., annex).

These moves are being taken in an effort to create a safer environment for all members.  Given the facts of the last year-and-a-half and knowing that the purpose of all Greek-letter organizations includes building lasting connections in a safe and healthy environment, this policy is the first step in making a change in the name of health and safety.

For more information on the Fraternity’s alcohol policy, contact Senior Director of Chapter Operations James D’Imperio at jpd@phikappapsi.com.

Member Orientation

Hazing has been a topic of great concern across all Greek organizations.  As part of our ongoing effort to improve the safety of our new members Phi Kappa Psi has been evaluating options to prevent unhealthy practices like hazing from impacting the organization’s mission to create better men. While traditional new member education may have been the organization’s go-to for decades, it has become clear that a shift in how members are educated is required.

Several Greek organizations have successfully made the shift away from a traditional, multi-week “pledging” model to a shorter, member orientation period followed by a longer, continued education for all members. Recognizing the need to evolve in how chapters cultivate new members, Phi Kappa Psi has chosen a similar path. At the Executive Council (EC) meeting in Las Vegas, the leadership voted to approve a Member Orientation program (the period previously considered “pledging”) that will not exceed 10 days in length. This is a replacement for the traditional six-week program.  This new approach will take effect during the Fall 2018 term. Specifics will be rolled out at the Grand Arch Council (GAC) and additional materials will be provided to chapters before the start of classes in August.

To supplement the experience, this new approach will require a renewed focus on continuing member education. Fraternity staff will be developing a package of materials that will help chapters understand how to orient their Fraternity Education committee and better educate and train both new and existing members.

While this change requires a period of adjustment, it is an important move for eliminating dangerous hazing practices and ensuring Phi Kappa Psi remains a partner in good standing on host campuses. Although this change will not completely eliminate all forms of hazing, it will reduce the amount of time where new members are potentially subjected to illegal hazing practices, and will empower young men to take action. Adequate training and resources, along with more directions on how the new policies will affect reporting, initiating and paying for members will be available this summer.

Ultimately, it is the leadership’s goal to create safer chapter cultures where members feel empowered to stand up for each other and the Fraternity’s values. Phi Kappa Psi can no longer stand on the sidelines and watch as the old system continues to put members in peril. Change requires courage, and it’s time for Phi Kappa Psi to lead by example.

For more information on the Fraternity’s Member Orientation program, contact Senior Director of Member Development Kyle Hickman at kah@phikappapsi.com.

Advisor Certification

Giving undergraduate members the best possible experience starts with having volunteer advisors who are trained in and dedicated to the mission and values of Phi Kappa Psi, and who are genuinely invested in positively shaping their lives. With a goal of engaging all advisors, reducing risk and providing information on important policies in higher education, the Fraternity seeks to build an Advisor Certification program. Using a mix of online and in-person training, advisors will learn about Title IX, Ethics and Codes of Conduct, hazing, substance abuse and other “hot button” topics.

Although much depends on advisor involvement, the Executive Council recognizes that more must be done to set advisors up for success. To that end, an Advisor Certification program is slated for rollout in the Fall 2018 Semester. Advisors will be provided training on Phi Kappa Psi-specific items and we will work with external partners to train advisors on best practices for fraternity advising and information on critical policies and procedures.  Expanding the program to a tiered certification system or train the trainer model will also be considered.  By August 15, 2019, all chapter advisors will be required to complete certification.

Along with Advisor Certification, the Fraternity is also adopting a regional advisor structure that has been successful at other peer organizations. During the first semester of the program, one or two advisors from each district or geographic location will offer support to chapter advisors within their designated region.

By working together to educate more advisors in modern challenges, Phi Kappa Psi will be poised to meet the challenges of an ever-changing higher education world.

For more information on the Advisor Certification program, contact Senior Director of Alumni Engagement and Housing Rob Nagel at rsn@phikappapsi.com.