Greek Life

Greek Life

Fraternities and Sororities have been a fundamental part of Ursinus since the early 1900s. Now, Ursinus is home to five sororities (four local and one national) and seven fraternities (four local and three nati), representing 20% of our student population.

Membership in a Greek organization enhances the “out-of-the-classroom” experience while also supporting each student’s individual academic goals. Greeks organizations focus on five key elements: leadership, scholarship, community service, civic engagement, and fun.

Greek Expansion Policy

The following information contained in this document pertains to students who wish establish a new social fraternity/sorority here at Ursinus College. Ursinus College recognizes that fraternities and sororities can provide significant positive experiences for the development of student leaders through academic rigor, civil engagement, and social interaction. The procedures in this document will serve a guide to assist in the process of positive fraternal opportunity for any student hoping to take up the challenge of starting a new organization. In addition, it is important that any expansion of the greek system (new or reinstated) occurs in a manner that is consistent and conducive to the policies, practices, and mission of Ursinus College. Prior to an organization becoming a fully instated chapter at Ursinus College, the proposed greek letter organization must first become a colony. A colony is an approved student organization working toward recognition as a chartered chapter of a greek-letter organization. By following these guidelines, any group wishing to colonize on this campus will be provided with the opportunity for successful colonization through a process that is both meaningful and rewarding allowing for a betterment of the existing greek community.

A chartered chapter of a greek-letter organization is a campus group of a national organization. Within each organization, chapters are usually referenced via a greek-letter order. For example, the founding chapter would be the “Alpha Chapter,” and the second chapter is usually the “Beta Chapter.” Since local organizations are unique only to the institution, the term “chapter” refers to their recognition of the Inter-Greek Council at Ursinus College.

Chartering: For local organizations: obtaining permission from Ursinus College to become a recognized greek-letter organization. For national organizations: obtaining permission from their national affiliate to become a recognized greek-letter organization at the desired institution.

A colony (or colonization period) is a proposed greek-letter organization in the process of becoming a fully instated chapter for both local and national organizations.

Criteria for Expansion:

For the addition of social greek letter organizations, the expansion process can begin by way of any of the following methods:

  1. An interested group of at least ten students as determined by the Leadership Development and Student Activities Office submit a letter requesting to establish a new or previously recognized national/local chapter on our campus to the Leadership Development and Student Activities Office.
  2. Through reviewing a formal petition for recognition by an organization coming off of a disciplinary sanction having resulted in the loss of the organization’s charter and College recognition.
  3. Formal expansion is requested by the Inter-Greek Council, and/or the Ursinus Student Gov’t Association and an invitation to national Greek organizations will be extended by the College (LD/SAO) for participation in the expansion process.

Process for Expansion:

For a New International/National Organization:

Upon receiving a written request to establish a new organization, the Leadership Development and Student Activities Office will initiate the following:

  1. Students, who are interested in starting a new International or National affiliated greek letter organization, must submit a letter of interest to the Leadership Development and Student Activities Office.
  2. The LD/SAO will then review the submitted request to verify that the proposed group does have the appropriate number of interested members and understands the expansion process and established timeline.
  3. Once there is approval from the Leadership Development and Student Activities Office, the Inter-Greek Council will be notified of the possible interest in expansion of the greek system.
  4. Following, the interest group requesting a chapter will provide the LD/SAO with the Application for Recognition as a Greek Organization, which can be found on the last page of this packet.
  5. The Leadership Development and Student Activities Office will review this information. It is the responsibility of the interest group applying for expansion to adhere to all college policies and regulations as outlined in the Ursinus College Student Handbook.
  6. After reviewing the recommendation and consulting with the LD/SAO, the request will be presented to the Student Activities & Services Committee for final determination on the expansion request.
  7. Each group wishing to start a new organization will make an open formal presentation the Ursinus community and the Inter-Greek Council concerning the proposed new organization.
For an Organization that has had its Charter Revoked:

Greek organizations whose recognition was revoked due to disciplinary sanctioning will not be permitted to apply for renewal.

To Gain Recognition for an Inactive Organization:

Greek organizations with no active members are deemed inactive. In order to regain active status the organization will need to do the following:

  1. For an organization that has gone inactive, the organization will be required to recolonize following the process for expansion for new/international chapters.
To Re-Gain Recognition for an Organization that has had its Charter Revoked due to Probationary Loss:

Greek organizations that have lost their charter due to probationary loss are not permitted to re-gain recognition and will not be permitted for a review.

To Re-Gain Recognition for an Existing Organization on Probation:

Greek organizations that have lost recognition from the Inter-Greek Council or have failed to meet the standards of the Five Star Program are considered on probation. The probationary period will last a total of one academic semester. These organizations will need to do the following in order to gain recognition from the Inter-Greek Council and remove the probationary status. Failure to meet these requirements will result in loss of the organizations charter.

  1. The organization must attend every IGC meeting with at least two delegates from their organization.
    1. The organization will not be allowed to vote on any motions presented at the IGC meetings.
  2. The organization will not be allowed to participate in Homecoming, Greek Week, or Formal Recruitment.
  3. The organization will not be allowed to host parties.
  4. The organization will not be allowed to participate in intermural sports as an organization.
  5. The president of the organization must attend bi-weekly progress meetings with the Director of Leadership Development and Student Activities.
  6. The organization must plan and implement a campus wide service event that demonstrates the importance of community.
    1. Organization must have 75% or more membership attendance.
    2. The event must be approved by the UCARE and Leadership Development and Student Activities Office.
    3. The event must benefit the Ursinus Community.

If the request is denied at any stage in the process, the interest group will not be permitted to reapply for at least one calendar year from the initial request date. The Inter-Greek Council will recognize no more than one interest group for each gender as a colony within the governing body/council at one time. Therefore, the governing body/council will not be allowed to expand further until the colony has become a chartered chapter or has been disbanded.

The interest group members, representatives from the National Organizations, or local alumnae will work with the Leadership Development and Student Activities Office regarding the fulfillment of the Colony/New Organization requirements.

There are three major National Fraternity and Sorority affiliations. Below are their mission statements as well as a link to direct you to the standards set forth by the affiliations. In addition to the three mentioned below, there are several other organizations that provide membership to multicultural greek letter organizations.

Those include:

  • National Association of Latino Fraternal Organization
  • National Multicultural Greek Council
  • United Council of Christian Fraternities and Sororities
  • National Association of Asian Pacific Islander Pan-Hellenic

National Pan-Hellenic Conference
www.npcwomen.org

Established in 1995, The National Pan-Hellenic Conference Foundation continues to promote values and ethics in women’s fraternities and encourages all members to be active and responsible leaders in their respective communities. Our mission is supported through the sponsorship of National Pan-Hellenic Conference educational and charitable programs addressing health, safety, education, leadership and general women’s issues in today’s society. The Foundation was incorporated in August, 1995, in the State of Indiana and is a 501 (c) (3) public educational charity. To advance the 26 women’s organizations of the National Pan-Hellenic Conference and their commitment to personal growth by underwriting initiatives that launch and sustain women leaders

National Pan-Hellenic Council
www.nphchq.org

The National Pan-Hellenic Council, Incorporated (NPHC) is currently composed of nine (9) International Greek letter Sororities and Fraternities: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. NPHC promotes interaction through forums, meetings and other mediums for the exchange of information and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions. All 9 organizations are historically African American greek letter organizations.

Northern American Inter-Fraternity Council
www.nicindy.org

The North-American Inter-fraternity Conference (NIC) is a voluntary trade association and membership in the NIC requires each member organization to adhere to the following Standards of Membership, known as the NIC Standards. Undergraduate chapters are self-governing. Nothing in the NIC Standards shall be interpreted to imply that a member organization has a duty to provide day-to-day supervision or direction, or control the daily activities of undergraduate chapters and/or individual members associated with that member organization. However, member organizations are expected to provide appropriate follow up with their chapters on compliance with NIC Standards to the same extent they follow up with chapters on compliance with the policies of the member organization and to provide its undergraduate chapters with ongoing education on the NIC Standards. Failure of a member organization to provide appropriate follow up with their chapters on compliance with NIC Standards shall subject the member organization to appropriate action by the NIC, up to and including suspension or expulsion of membership in this voluntary trade association.

The Five Star Program

In addition to the guidelines mentioned above, currently the Inter-Greek Council institutes the “5 Star Standards Program” for all fraternities and sororities. This plan will require all groups to participate in benchmarking activities including community service, membership levels, risk management, scholarship, campus leadership, and greek community accountability. Below are the current categories of evaluation:

  • Scholarship Development
  • Organization Development
  • Risk Management
  • New Member Development
  • Service to the Campus

New Member Education Guidelines

Introduction and Purpose

New Member Education (NME) activities must adhere to all state and local laws and Ursinus College policies. Please pay particular attention to the following sections of the Student Handbook: “Student Conduct,” “Greek Life,” “Alcohol Policy,” “Illegal Drugs,” and “Noise Regulations.”

All NME activities must be approved by the Leadership Development & Student Activities Office.

NME activities must conform to the Pennsylvania Anti-Hazing Statute. Each member and potential new member will be required to sign a document indicating that he/she understands the anti-hazing statute.

Guidelines and Procedures

  1. NME plans must be submitted electronically to Todd McKinney by the deadline. Detailed plans must include times, locations, dates, and an in-depth description of the activities for each evening.  Each activity must include a statement of purpose.
  2. In order to participate in NME, each organization must have a faculty or staff advisor. The advisor must be a full-time Ursinus employee. Advisors will:
    1. Have frequent and consistent contact with the organization concerning all aspects of the fraternity or sorority’s activities.
    2. Approve and sign the NME plan. 
  3. All members of each organization must also sign an anti-hazing agreement via electronic means before commencement of NME. Failure by any member of the organization to adhere to this statement (i.e. breaking the hazing agreement) will result in the immediate suspension of all members of the organization and the new member class. The suspension will entail immediate removal from campus of all students in the organization until a determination is made regarding the violation or incident.
  4. If charges of hazing are reported to any college official, the NME activities for the group in question will immediately be suspended, pending an investigation. Loss of time or activities will not be made up during NME, and the college may require an abbreviated plan be followed for the remainder of the NME period.
  5. New Member Education will consist of no more than 8 “weeks” of education spread over eight calendar weeks during the fall semester, chosen by the Leadership Development & Student Activities Office. New member education activities can take place seven days a week but are limited to twenty hours per week. Activities are permitted at the following times:
    1. Monday – Friday: 5pm - 11pm.
    2. Saturday – Sunday: Any hours between 7am – 11pm.
    Meals & breaks are required for extended sessions.
  6. Due to the fall break and homecoming, the weeks are broken down as follows. You may only complete up to 80 hours of New Member Education. This means that you can complete this process in 4 weeks. There is a 20 hour a week cap on New Member Education with the above mentioned hours in consideration. New Member Education must be completed by November 11th with no more than 10 hours per week over an 8 week period.
  7. No group activities associated with new member education will be permitted outside of these days/hours. If the organization wishes to hold a campus event at another day/time other than that specified, e.g. a community service project – prior permission must be granted by the Leadership Development & Student Activities Office.  

Academic Information

  1. Each new member educator must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 and be a full time student at Ursinus College. All new member educators must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the College.
  2. In order to participate in NME, a student must:
    1. Be a full-time student at Ursinus College
    2. Have completed at least 24 credits at Ursinus College prior to the start of NME.
    3. Have a cumulative grade point average of 2.33
    4. Be in good standing with the College.
  3. If the mean GPA of a fraternity/sorority’s new member class is below 2.33 for the semester of new member education, that fraternity/sorority will be placed on social probation for the following semester. Each fraternity/sorority new member education plan must include provisions for assisting a new brother/sister whose GPA drops below 2.0 during the semester in which new member education occurs.
  4. Academic performance of the new member education class must take priority over any new member activity. No new member activity may be scheduled which conflicts with a new members academic commitment or performance.

Student Development

  1. NME activities should insure that the new members are empowered. Any activity, which includes fraternity/sorority members giving “orders” or “requests” which new members must “obey”, will not be permitted. A NME program may establish specific “objectives” (making of banners, completion of scavenger hunt, learning fraternity/sorority songs, preparation of skits, etc.), which the new member class organizes itself to “attain.”
  2. l activities including “new member work” which may include but not be limited to the making of crafts, paddles, learning songs – must be completed during approved NME hours during the eight week period. No NME activities may take place outside of the allotted time period each day.
  3. Traditions that are not educational or healthy (i.e., yelling at or harassing behaviors) will not be tolerated.  New Member Educators are not to instill fear, intimidation, or anxiety into a new member. Sleep deprivation and the lack of social contact with friends or members of the opposite sex are deemed inappropriate behaviors.
  4. New members may not be required to do favors or tasks for members including: buying food or cigarettes, running errands, providing shuttle services, and/or providing entertainment in the form of public demonstrations. New members are not in the process to be treated as servants or second class citizens by the membership of an organization. The purpose of new member education is to allow for the learning of the history, values, and high moral/ethical ideals of the organization.

New Member Education Regulations

  1. 1. The following items are NOT permitted during New Member Education activities:
    1. Alcohol. This includes new members and current brothers and sisters.

    2.  

      “Fake” new member educators. All new member educators must participate in NME training and must be present during bid signing. “Fake” new member educators. All new member educators must participate in NME training and must be present during bid signing.
    3. Off- campus activities. All NME activities must take place on campus. Groups may request in writing an exception to go “off campus” for an activity or event. The exception must be educational and have merit such as a community service event. Activities may not be held at member or alumni homes. Off-campus events should be public in nature and, if possible, have a third party associated with the event (i.e., charity run or walk).
    4. Profanity or derogatory references to under-represented persons or groups. This includes, but is not limited to: ethnicity, sex, race, sexual orientation, or religion.
    5. Meal time lineups/performances. New members may not be required to serve brothers/sisters, eat in unison, or act out skits/sing songs.
    6. Food/Foreign Substances. At no time shall the new members be directed or asked to eat or drink anything. No activity involving food or any foreign substances being placed in or on a new member will be permitted.
    7. Drops. New members may not be taken off-campus and left without money, ID, and/or transportation back to campus.
    8. Uniforms. New members may not be made to wear any attire that makes the person stand out in a way that causes embarrassment or humiliation. Each new member education plan will specifically describe any items that new members may wear or carry as a part of new member education.

    9. Dangerous and/or strenuous activities. If any physical activity is included (games, hikes, etc.), the physical limitations of each new member must be considered. Activities involving a higher-than-usual likelihood of injury should not be conducted.

    10. Public line-ups and/or wall shows.
  2. NME activities (singing or noise at the beginning of formal rush, giving out bids, etc.) may not violate normal noise regulations.
  3. Combined organization activities (i.e., fraternity/sorority) are prohibited.
  4. New Member Educators must ensure that all campus areas are clean and trash free at the conclusion of an NME activity.
  5. To avoid the possibility of embarrassment or ridicule, private performances of songs, skits, etc. by new members must be carefully planned by the new member class, new member educators and the Leadership Development & Student Activities Office. These performances may include both traditional and original material. Performances (a) must be controlled by the new member class, and (b) must be designed to use the varied talents of each new member, without requiring any new member to be embarrassed or demeaned in any way.
  6. Ursinus faculty and staff may enter a new member education activity at any time. Groups may not bar access to Resident Advisors or Campus Safety Officers in the performance of their duties.

Alumni/Alumnae

Fraternity and sorority alumni may not be involved in NME activities. New members may not be present at Alumni functions held off campus during the NME period. If a group wishes to discuss a certain event or activity concerning Alumni interaction with the new member class, it must be done prior to the beginning of the new member education period. Exceptions are permitted only with written approval from the Associate Dean of Students or Assistant Director of Leadership Development & Student Activities. Violation of this policy will cause immediate termination of the organization’s new member class and the President and New Member Educators may face judicial action.

Greek Advocate

During the new member education period each organization will select a Greek Advocate to assist new members in addressing concerns during the NME process. The advocate will make time available to meet with new members who may have concerns regarding activities, events, or actions of the organizations or its members. The Leadership Development & Student Activities Office will serve as a safe space for the advocate to meet with any student from his/her organization – this interaction and any information will be held in confidence and may only be shared with the organization and members of the student life staff if a severe violation of the state, local laws, or college policy.

Medical/Academic Concerns

Students who are unable to finish new member education due to illness/injury, athletic or academic concerns must be offered membership in the organization that they have chosen. Every attempt should be made by the organization to assist the new member with fulfilling the requirements of membership. A decision to deny membership must be approved by the Office of Student Life.

Hazing

The following sections are excerpted from Title 24 of the PA consolidated Statutes:

Section 5352: Definitions. “Hazing.”

 Any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or which willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in, any organization operating under the sanctions of or recognized as an organization by an institution of higher education. The term shall include, but not be limited to, any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug or other substance, or any other forced physical activity which could adversely affect the physical health and safety of the individual, and shall include any activity which would subject the individual to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct which could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual, or any willful destruction or removal of public or private property. For the purposes of this definition, any activity as described in this definition upon which the initiation or admission into or affiliation with or continued membership in an organization is directly or indirectly conditioned shall be presumed to be “forced” activity, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.

Section 5353: Hazing Prohibited.

 Any person who causes or participates in hazing commits a misdemeanor of the third degree.

Hazing

“Any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or which willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in, any organization operating under the sanctions of or recognized as an organization by an institution of higher education.” — Pennsylvania State Law

Examples of hazing (list is not inclusive):

  • PHYSICAL HARM can occur as a result of a direct action: any brutality of a physical nature, required eating and/or drinking, drug use, forced exercises, exposure to elements, arduous phone-runs.

  • PHYSICAL HARM can occur as a result of indirect action: someone gets hurt while blindfolded or during an illegal drop trip; someone becomes ill because of a new member education activity.
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM is less easy to define: activities which cause extreme mental stress; sleep deprivation; exclusion from social contact; extreme embarrassment and/or public ridicule.
  • A NOTE ON COMMUNITY STANDARDS: Since people feel embarrassed when others regard them as ridiculous, the opinion of other members of the community (including faculty, staff and administration) are important in determining what activities could be embarrassing.
  • PUBLIC OR PRIVATE PROPERTY may not be taken or broken. A scavenger hunt using public or private property is defined as hazing.
  • THE WILLINGNESS OF AN INDIVIDUAL TO PARTICIPATE IN HAZING DOES NOT MAKE THE ACTIVITY LESS ILLEGAL.  

For additional information or to view the New Member Education Policy in its entirety, please visit the Leadership Development and Student Activities website under Greek Life.