Review committee to continue Greek life until fall
Social Greek life events remain suspended, affecting roughly 1,200 students, while the “Greek Life Advisory Committee” will work through the summer to determine its future at UB.
UB administrators have said they expect the review committee’s results to be completed by the fall semester.
The committee will take a “broad look” at the culture of Greek life and how this aligns with the university’s values, according to A. Scott Weber, vice president for Student Life.
Suzanne Rosenblith, dean of the Graduate School of Education, will lead the committee, which is comprised of faculty, staff and students as they compile data to review Greek life activities. The review follows UB President Satish Tripathi’s suspension of social Greek life activities on April 12 after student Sebastian Serafin-Bazan’s possible hazing death. Pamela Stephens-Jackson, director of fraternity and sorority life, told The Spectrum she is in contact with the students she serves and declined to comment with updates on how UB previously oversaw Greek life.
According to UB’s website, the university isn’t currently involved in off-campus conduct of recognized student organizations, except when conduct is determined to have an adverse effect on the university community.
Syracuse University created a Greek life review committee, similar to UB’s, after expelling fraternity Theta Tau in April 2018 for participating in “racist” and “homophobic” videos. The committee found a lack of participation in Interfraternity Council, the governing body for its 15 fraternities, and revealed that students were unclear of policies, information and “policy implementation.”
UB’s suspension means social fraternities and sororities aren’t allowed to recruit or engage in new member education activities, participate in university-related events as a group or conduct meetings about fraternity or sorority functions or activities, according to Weber.
The Spectrum asked multiple employees for data on charity donations, suspensions and Greek life policies six times over two weeks before receiving a response, which gave no information on this data. Weber said the review committee is compiling this data and will share it once it becomes available. He did not give a date.
Weber said he couldn’t comment on any student disciplinary cases. However, he said depending on the severity of accusations against the organization, the group can be suspended and/or charged with policy violation.
“The Greek Life Advisory Committee would then hold a hearing with representatives from the organization to allow an opportunity to respond to the charges,” Weber said. “The committee would determine the level of responsibility, and make recommendations to either continue the suspension, recommend sanctions or recommend reinstatement of the organization.”
Tripathi briefly discussed the review committee at the Faculty Senate meeting on Wednesday. He said the review is a “complicated process” but improving the safety of students is a top priority.
“We want the community to gather data and come up with the best practices moving forward, because this is not just a UB issue,” Tripathi said.
“The prime focus should be our students are safe, and what we find is they’re not, one death is too many and we need to be mindful of that.”
Brittany Gorny is assistant news editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BrittanyUBSpec.