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 firstname.lastname@example.org.