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Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

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Committee formed to implement policy on fraternity, sorority freshman rush ban

Other groups established to address student life and leadership issues

An 11-member committee of Princeton students, faculty and staff has been formed to implement the new University policy that will prohibit freshmen from affiliating with a fraternity or sorority or engaging in any form of "rush" during freshman year. The ban will take effect in fall 2012.

The committee is one of six groups being established to help enhance the undergraduate experience by implementing recommendations made to President Shirley M. Tilghman by students, faculty and staff who participated in two recent initiatives to examine social and residential life and undergraduate women's leadership.

The fraternity/sorority committee will be chaired by Kathleen Deignan, dean of undergraduate students, and will meet throughout the fall semester in order to present recommendations to Tilghman and Vice President for Campus Life Cynthia Cherrey in the early spring.

Tilghman in August announced her decision to institute the ban based on recommendations from the Working Group on Campus Social and Residential Life that submitted its report last spring. She decided to defer implementation of the ban for a year to allow the committee to develop procedures for administering the prohibition.

Deignan will be joined on the fraternity/sorority committee by six undergraduates, half of whom are affiliated with a fraternity or sorority. The undergraduate committee members are seniors Arda Bozyigit and Thomas Hellstern, and juniors Jamie Joseph, Shreya Murthy, Jacob Nebel and Kees Thompson.

The other committee members are: William Gleason, professor of English; Deborah Prentice, the Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of Psychology and chair of the Department of Psychology; and Thomas Dunne and Victoria Jueds, associate deans of undergraduate students.

In her charge to the committee, Tilghman asked the members to clearly describe the kinds of actions and interactions that should be prohibited under the policy; to suggest appropriate, fair and effective penalties to encourage compliance; and to suggest the best methods to communicate and assess compliance with the policy.

Tilghman charged the committee to "consult widely with interested students and others" and to make its recommendations by early spring "so that there is ample time for campuswide discussion before final action needs to be taken to put policies and procedures in place prior to the fall."

Groups to focus on campus pub, student life, leadership

The fraternity/sorority committee is one of two policy implementation committees being formed based on recommendations of the Working Group on Campus Social and Residential Life, which was co-chaired by Cherrey and Vice President and Secretary Robert Durkee.

Another student-faculty-staff committee will be established to implement a policy based on the working group's recommendation to reinstate a campus pub that would be open to all undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff, and would help to model the responsible use of alcohol. This committee will convene in spring 2012 and conduct its work for a year.

In addition, four groups have been formed to implement programs that will address issues raised by both the Working Group on Campus Social and Residential life and by the Steering Committee on Undergraduate Women's Leadership, which released its report last spring offering recommendations to strengthen student leadership.

The four newly established groups will include students, faculty and staff. Beginning this fall, they will work for two to three years to implement campus programs based on selected recommendations that address key themes shared in the reports of both the working group and the steering committee.

Each group will be co-chaired by a staff member and a student, and other members will be selected in the near future. The groups and their co-chairs are:

  • Leadership: Rebecca Graves-Bayazitoglu, dean of Whitman College, and junior Catherine Ettman.
  • Orientation: Thomas Dunne, associate dean of undergraduate students, and junior Bruce Easop.
  • Campus social events: Joseph Ramirez, program coordinator in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, and junior Zachary Beecher.
  • Residential life: Cole Crittenden, associate dean of undergraduate students, and junior Christina Laurenzi.

The work of these groups will be guided by the following key themes that were shared in the recommendations made to Tilghman by both the working group and steering committee:

  • The first few weeks on campus, and even the time prior to arrival on campus, are important for making choices about academics, extracurricular activities, social networks and leadership aspirations.
  • A greater sense of community and common experiences is desired by students in all four undergraduate classes.
  • Students have a desire to build stronger connections with each other and to create stronger bonds between the classes.
  • Mentoring by faculty, staff, graduate students and alumni is needed to help guide undergraduates' academic choices, leadership and career success.
  • Students face challenges in balancing many competing interests, including academics, social life, extracurricular activities and athletics.

The work of the program implementation groups will be overseen by Cherrey and Dean of the College Valerie Smith. Leaders of each of the four groups will work to identify and coordinate collaborative efforts across teams. Programs will be implemented on a rolling basis.

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