Presidential Reforms

President Pollack Initiates Reforms for Sororities & Fraternities

May 4, 2018

In response to campus and national climate, President Pollack frames a renewed vision for the future of Sorority & Fraternity life at Cornell. Within this section of our website, you can read the recommendations outlining a change in expectations and accountability for the community and the Office of Sorority & Fraternity Life's planned implementation of each reform. 

To read the full statement, check the University Statements page. 

To receive more information or provide feedback, please contact the Office of Sorority & Fraternity Life at greeks@cornell.edu.


Implementation To-Date

Substantiated Acts of Hazing

Substantiated acts of hazing will result in a chapter’s suspension and loss of recognition. A minimum of three years will be applied for those cases that include coerced alcohol or other drug consumption, sexual and related misconduct, or other forms of violence or mentally abusive behavior that poses a threat to health and safety. Consistent with current practice, all allegations of hazing will be reported to the Office of the Judicial Administrator to pursue individual accountability for members associated with the accused organization. Violations of hazing will continue to be listed on the Hazing website. As per our current practices, all reports will be investigated through a fact finding process. Credible information will result in a hearing as per our Judicial Process. Those found responsible will be subject to the above outcome.

Hard Alcohol

Hard alcohol (more than 30% alcohol by volume) is not permitted in a residential chapter house at any time. Any instance of hard alcohol, at any time, in any space within a recognized fraternity or sorority house will result in an investigation through our Judicial Process. A progressive sanctioning model will be used, meaning consideration will be given to the number of offenses in a chapter's history, as applicable. These violations will be considered a factor in the overall health of an organization during any later Judicial Process

Recruitment and Education Plans

Each chapter must submit a new member education plan prior to participating in new member education. Chapter leadership will assume accountability for adhering to the approved plan. The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life will create a formalized process for alerting OSFL of Recruitment and Intake efforts. While the office expects the completition of a Total Member Development Plan, the New Member Recruitment & Education Plan will be seperate and only be submitted prior to Recruitment or Intake beginning. Plans may look different depending on the needs of the council. Failure to adhere to the stated plan, as written, will be considered as a component of the Chapter's overall health.

Educational Programming

Prospective and current members must participate in mandatory educational programming (including, but not limited to, university expectations, hazing awareness, and policies on alcohol, drug use, and sexual and related misconduct) in order to be eligible to participate in new-member recruitment and intake processes. The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life will hold sessions for Potential New Members in the Fall semester with common themes and information. To participate in a Recruitment or Intake process, participation is required. 

Performance Scorecard

A system wide, online scorecard will be published and updated annually to include, among other things, the full judicial history of each chapter. 

Chapter Leadership Standards

Leadership positions in residential sorority and fraternity houses must be held by junior or senior students who reside in the chapter house. Recognizing housing is already in place for the 2019-2020, we have modified the implementation schedule as outlined below:

  • Those sororities and fraternities who do not have two (2) officers in their junior or senior year living in the house during the 2019-20 academic year will be exempt from the live-in requirement if:
    • two (2) of their current officers, including President, are a junior or senior; and
    • the timeline presents a demonstrated hardship*.
  • Starting in the 2020-21 academic year, two (2) officers who are juniors or seniors must live in the house, including the chapter President. Two (2) other officers must be a junior or senior, but do not have to live in the house.
  • Starting in the 2021-22 academic year the expectation will be that four (4) chapter officers, including chapter President, are juniors or seniors and all four of these officers must live in the house.

Chapter Review Board

A comprehensive review of the Chapter Review Board process that governs recognition for sororities and fraternities has been conducted and approved. 

A recommendation of the committee was to hire a Lead Sorority and Fraternity Investigator that will manage all  misconduct investigations. This will primarily be hazing cases but anything that formerly went to the Review Board will be included. This is an interim measure that should last for a year. The investigator will not be in OSFL and will report to our new Associate VP Jenny Loeffelman. This will allow OSFL to work more on student development pieces of sorority and fraternity and less on discipline though we will still advise the GJB, and that will still exist. The anticipated start date for the Lead Sorority & Fraternity Investigator is mid-late September, 2019.

More information regarding more Judicial reforms are to come.


Implementation In-Progress

Event Management Guidelines

A comprehensive review of event management guidelines will be conducted and submitted for my approval. The review will include, but not be limited to, the training required for sober monitors, the use of independent bystander intervention services, the distribution of beer and wine for large events, and the number of large events permitted. Comprehensive group of Staff, Students, & Alumni has been composed to make recommendations on a robust overhaul of the Event Management Guidelines including the aforementioned elements. The group includes:

  • Kara Miller McCarty, Chair, Robert G. Engel Director, Sorority & Fraternity Life
  • Miah Feroz, MGFC Vice President Judicial
  • Kenny Zhou, Past MGFC Vice President Judicial
  • Vincenzo Guido, IFC VP Judicial
  • Julia Katz, PHC VP Judicial
  • Chinomnso Nnodum '10 and '12, member of the Fraternity & Sorority Advisory Council
  • Patrick Alderson '17; former IFC VP Judicial and former Chapter President, former international fraternity staff member
  • David Bean '07; former IFC President
  • Hannah Geiser '13, former PHC chapter president and Panhellenic executive board member

    Live In Advisors

    All residential sororities and fraternities must have a full-time, live-in advisor with clearly stated objectives and expectations for the role.The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life has created a committee to gather and review expectations, arrangements, and benefits to create best practices for organizations moving forward. The committee will also discuss recruitment and training initiatives. Currently, 48% of our 46 houses meet this requirement. The Committee is comprised of:

    • Jen Gudaz, Chair, Delta Gamma House Director
    • John Foote '74, FSAC Member
    • Andrew Salamida, Pi Kappa Alpha Live In Advisor
    • Donna Barsotti, Alumnae Panhellenic President, FSAC Member
    • John Haggerty, Faculty Member
    • Kara Miller McCarty, Robert G. Engel Director, Sorority & Fraternity Life, ex-officio