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Fraternity & Sorority Community Relationship Statement

Drafted in 2005 and updated in 2018, this statement outlines the relationship between the College and the fraternity and sorority chapters. The document outlines the expectations for services, behavior, and operation for the College and chapters.

Muhlenberg College, like other private institutions of higher education in the United States, enjoys considerable independence and autonomy in articulating its mission and designing policies and programs in support of its mission. The College is a residential educational community. Muhlenberg believes that its Greek system, a fraternal structure of students, alumni, international organizations, and volunteers, offers interested students worthwhile opportunities for developing leadership skills, engaging in the community, participating in philanthropic projects, and forming lifelong friendships. Muhlenberg College’s decision to recognize fraternities and sororities as one desirable option for interested students has, for many years, also been a part of our vision of a residential educational community. Accordingly, the College chooses to continue recognizing such organizations, within a framework of mutual expectations that this Relationship Statement will describe.

The necessity of this agreement derives from the special status fraternities and sororities are accorded by the nature of their creation, composition, and activities. Fraternities and sororities are chapters of national and international organizations that are legal entities, independent of the College. They are entitled (within constraints of national and College policies) to select their own members, elect their own officers, set their own fee structures and manage their own budgets, and govern their own chapters.

It is our intent that this Statement of Relationship provides the foundation for continuing efforts focused on a mutual goal of achieving greater excellence and new strength in this relationship while preserving the rights, independence, and integrity of Muhlenberg College and the Greek community.

Muhlenberg College intends to:

  1. Continue developing the Greek system as a positive contributor to the campus and surrounding community;
  2. Provide staff, leadership training and educational programming and the necessary funding for such endeavors;
  3. Advocate on behalf of the Greek community as a liaison between internal and external constituencies; provide assistance and training for the self-governance system;
  4. Provide access to and use of campus facilities for chapter activities;
  5. Ensure that College-owned chapter houses are maintained up to the College’s normal standards for residential facilities and work with fraternities and sororities residing in non-College-owned facilities to ensure that their housing meets College standards;
  6. Ensure the existence of an educational and operational environment supportive of Greek life and its mission;
  7. Partner and communicate with the national organizations to develop, maintain and convey mutually agreed upon goals and standards;
  8. Provide a system of judicial review for cases which the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council feel are inappropriate for their disposition, and;
  9. Develop and manage an accreditation system that (a) articulates specific expectations of fraternities and sororities, (b) monitors those expectations, (c) provides adequate warning of a chapter’s failure to meet College standards; and (d) takes appropriate action, up to and including withdrawal of recognition, with chapters that do not meet standards.

Muhlenberg fraternities and sororities recognize their obligation to:

  1. Maintain a strong scholastic emphasis that includes attending and participating in educational programming sponsored by Muhlenberg College;
  2. Respect the rights of the campus community and the neighborhood;
  3. Abide by the rules of conduct included in the Student Code of Conduct;
  4. Meet National and College risk management standards;
  5. Maintain facilities to the acceptable College standard;
  6. Ensure safe and effective new member education and initiation practices;
  7. Actively participate in the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council and maintain a national affiliation in good standing;
  8. Maintain an active relationship with an alumni board;
  9. Participate in community engagement and philanthropic activities;
  10. Meet the expectations articulated in the accreditation system for fraternities and sororities; and
  11. Observe all other policies which govern the Greek system.

Fraternity and Sorority Self-Governance

The College recognizes the importance and benefit of limited self-governance for the fraternity/sorority community. It therefore supports the establishment and maintenance of local governing councils based upon a chapter’s national participation in any of the umbrella groups such as the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), the National Multicultural Greek Council (NMGC), and the National Pan Hellenic Council (NPHC). Each council shall be endowed with certain rights and responsibilities as outlined in their own governing documents and within this Relationship Statement.

Recognition of Fraternities and Sororities

Annual Review Process

All fraternities and sororities recognized by the College are required to participate in the Annual Review Process, known as Accreditation. The process is intended to be an exercise in chapter self-evaluation and an opportunity for the chapter to receive guidance and constructive criticism. The Accreditation Review committee will review annual report submissions and review the chapter’s in-person presentations to determine the chapter’s success in meeting the agreed upon goals and expectations of the community and the chapters. Chapters that consistently fail to meet expectations will lose recognition from the College. The loss of recognition includes the loss of: use of campus facilities, equipment or resources; participation in intramurals as a Greek organization; participation in sponsored recruitment publications, training and events; participation in the Interfraternity/Panhellenic Council; sponsorship of any social or other events with any other college organization; affiliation with the college’s Fraternity and Sorority Life website; housing privileges as an organization; and use of Muhlenberg College’s name, logo or symbols.

System Expansion

The College will consider expansion in the future in response to student interest and subject to the availability of institutional support. Should campus conditions warrant consideration of expansion, the College shall entertain proposals from all interested nationally affiliated groups in accordance with the guidelines as established in the College’s Expansion and Extension Policies.

Community Citizenship

All fraternities and sororities as well as their individual members are part of the Muhlenberg College community and are subject to all policies, regulations, privileges and obligations of that community. Students who violate College policies or local ordinances while involved in chapter activities will be held accountable individually for their behavior and will be referred to the College conduct system. It is expected that chapters will similarly hold individual members accountable for inappropriate behavior through conduct processes internal to each organization. Chapters suspected of violating College policies or local ordinances during, or as a result of, chapter activities will also be referred to the College conduct system.

Membership

Formal Membership Recruitment

The governing bodies of the fraternities and sororities shall be responsible for establishing a period for recruitment, creating and enforcing guidelines for programs and activities within recruitment based on NIC and NPC policies and additional policies determined by individual councils, and managing the bid distribution process. Minimum requirements for receiving a bid to any organization shall be determined by either the chapter’s national headquarters or the conference (e.g. NIC, NPC, etc.) to which the organization belongs.

New Member Education (NME) and Intake

Chapters are expected to follow their nationally mandated guidelines regarding the length and content of the New Member Education or Intake program. New Member Education or Intake may not continue into performance days, study days or final exam week.

The College requires all chapters to submit a written New Member Education/Intake program to the Associate Director for Student Engagement before recruitment week begins. The program shall specify the dates, times and content of all activities as well as the dates for new member induction or initiation. Any changes to the printed schedule must be submitted to the Associate Director for Student Engagement before implementation. All new members and aspirants shall receive a written copy of the NME/Intake program from the chapter’s new member educator prior to the start of the education process.

Housing Policies and Requirements

Residential Regulations

  1. Chapters living in recognized chapter houses shall be responsible for creating and submitting housing rosters and room assignments by the deadline determined each year by the Office of Housing and Residence Life. Chapters shall be required to fill at least 90% of available bed space in the chapter house or, in cases where active membership is less than the number of bed spaces, have at least 90% of the active membership living in the chapter house. This total must be met before any active member will receive approval to live elsewhere. Only members of the chapter shall be eligible to live in the chapter house.
  2. Should the chapter house occupancy fall below capacity in either semester and the chapter desires to fill some empty bed spaces, the chapter may request recently associated members (members associating in that year) to move into the chapter house and fill vacancies. In cases in which a chapter house is not college-owned, the Office of Housing and Residence Life reserves the right to limit the number of students who can be released from their campus housing contract during the academic year. In order for this to be considered:
    1. The new associate must have the minimum GPA required by the College to move "off-campus" which is a 2.0
    2. All efforts with current members have been exhausted and this is a method of "last resort" to fill the house.
    3. The new member may not be “required” by the chapter to move during the semester that he or she is associating.

The final approval for relocating an associate will be made by the Office of Housing and Residence Life.

  1. At least one member of a chapter’s executive board must live in the chapter house.
  2. Students living in a chapter house who are requesting a special housing accommodation must complete the application and personal interview with the Office of Disability Services in order to receive the accommodation. Please note that while the special housing annual deadline is in March, an accommodation request for fraternity and sorority housing must be submitted for the spring semester by October of the fall semester. If you are requesting the accommodation for the fall semester, it must be submitted by January of the spring semester. Exact dates during those months may vary year-to-year.

Safety and Security

The Office of Campus Safety and Security will automatically respond to emergency calls, as well as to any calls for assistance from chapter houses regardless of ownership or location.

Meal Plans

All initiated members living in chapter houses are required to participate in Muhlenberg College’s contract-dining plan unless they participate in a contracted, full-service meal plan, approved by the College, at the chapter house.

Insurance

Each chapter must provide the College with a certificate of insurance, annually, evidencing Commercial General Liability coverage that includes, but is not limited to, bodily injury, personal injury, property damage, host liquor and contractual liability, and listing the College as an additional insured by endorsement. Coverage must be written with companies reasonably acceptable to the College and at limits of at least $1,000,000 each occurrence/$3,000,000 general aggregate. The college must be named as an additional insured.

Social Policies

Use of College facilities and services

  1. All recognized chapters are eligible to use College facilities and services. Users must complete the appropriate paperwork to reserve campus facilities and will be afforded the same considerations as any other recognized student organization.
  2. Chapters may open a Muhlenberg College account through the Business Office to be used for campus business including dining services pending the approval of their national organization.

Chapter Events

All chapters shall be expected to comply with the College’s policies with regard to the registration and conduct of chapter events, both in campus facilities as well as at off-campus locations.