Understanding the Fraternity-Sorority Judicial System

Background information for those unfamiliar with how fraternities and sororities are organized at Cornell is given below.

A Sorority and Fraternity Judicial Committee has been assembled to look into how the judicial system can be improved/reformed.

Improving the fraternity-sorority  judicial system is not just an issue for students, the alumni, and the administration. It is an issue for the faculty. Education does not occur in a vacuum and the behavior of student groups, including Greek organizations, can strongly impact the educational environment in both positive and negative ways. It is thus essential for the faculty to be represented in any discussion of what standards we expect for the behavior of student groups and how those standards are enforced.

University Oversight

The Director of the  Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life reports to the Executive Director of the    Office of Campus and Community Engagement who reports to the Vice President for  Student and Campus Life.

Fraternity/Sorority Councils

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) oversees 35 fraternities. The Panhellenic Council (PHC) oversees 13 sororities. The Multicultural Greek Letter Council (MGLC) oversees 16 culturally-based fraternities and sororities.

The “Greek Tri-Council” is a term used by the leaders of the above councils whenever they get together to address issues as a group. It is not a separate organization having  as members the IFC, PHC, and MGLC. During the Fall 2017 semester, the Greek Tri-Council produced documents on diversity and inclusion and on the recent racial incidents.

The Fraternity and Sorority Advisory Council reports to the Vice President for Student and Campus Life (SCL), the Executive Director of Campus & Community Engagement, and the Director of Sorority & Fraternity Life on broad matters of policy and planning for recognized fraternities and sororities at Cornell University. In the past, this group  produced annual reports.

Judicial Processes that are Currently in Place

Overview of how things are currently handled. It explains the role of the Greek Judicial Board and how the fraternity/sorority  judicial system interacts with the university’s judicial system. More details about procedures here. See also this schematic.

Some facts about the Greek Judicial Board:

The Greek Judicial Board is a peer-led board. Each of the three councils has a Vice President Judicial. Additionally each council selects student Judicial Board members through an application process annually. The students on the Greek Judicial Board are sorority and fraternity members.

If a case against a particular chapter arises, then the chair of the hearing is the Vice President Judicial of the chapter’s parent organization, i.e., the IFC, the PHC, or the MGLC.

The Director of Sorority and Fraternity Life or a designee attends the hearings and serves in an advisory capacity to the Greek Judicial Board.

Greek Judicial Board outcomes are sent to campus partners, national organizations, and alumni advisors. If the allegations are hazing, outcomes are also posted on the  University’s Hazing Website

It is important to note the Greek Judicial Board cannot remove a chapter’s recognition. That is a function of the Chapter Review Board. The Chapter Review Board is chaired by the Director of OSFL and consists of students and administrators. The Chapter Review Board recommendations are made to the Executive Director of Campus and Community Engagement. The Recognition Policy  constitutes the University procedure for the conferral or withdrawal of recognition of fraternities and sororities

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