Expansion Policy

Cornell University Criteria for Social Greek-Letter Organizations

Provisional Recognition/Full Recognition

In order for a fraternity or sorority to be recognized by Cornell University they must be affiliated with one of the three governing councils: the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the Multicultural Greek Letter Council (MGLC), or the Panhellenic Association (PA). These three organizations work collaboratively through the Office of Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living and the Office of Campus and Community Engagement. 

Organizations seeking to expand must receive permission from the expansion committee to begin the process of colonization. The expansion process includes the following steps. 

I Provisional Status

A. Fraternities and sororities wishing to colonize must first make a presentation to the Fraternities,   Sororities and Independent Living (OFSIL) Expansion Committee to obtain Provisional Status. This committee will typically consist of members of  the OFSIL staff, members of the governing council that would be impacted by the expansion, and various university faculty or staff members. Organizations wishing to colonize must notify the Office of Fraternities,   Sororities and Independent Living (OFSIL) in writing, one month prior to the date they wish to make their presentation to the Fraternities,  Sororities and Independent Living  Expansion Committee for consideration of Provisional Recognition. Those persons making the expansion presentation should be authorized to speak on behalf of the organization. (i.e. an Inter/National officer of the organization, Director of Expansion, Inter/Nationally-appointed spokesperson, etc.)

B. Fraternities and sororities obtaining approval from the Fraternities,   Sororities and Independent Living  Expansion Committee will be granted Provisional Recognition upon pledging their founding members and requesting associate membership with a fraternity and sorority governing body.  IFC/MGLC/PA each have individual guidelines for expansion and the governing council that will be directly impacted by the expansion will also consider the request for expansion and will vote either to expand or not to expand. 

C.  If a chapter is requesting University Provisional Recognition upon completing a disciplinary suspension term, the chapter must develop a Chapter Improvement Plan ("CIP") that outlines all corrective actions that the chapter has taken since the group was suspended.

D. The following is an outline of information that should be included in a presentation before the Expansion Committee.  The petitioning Inter/National Greek-letter organization should also provide the OFSIL with the following information two weeks prior to their presentation:

• Evidence of local alumni/ae support along with the name and contact information of a prospective chapter advisor who lives within a 100-mile radius.

• The number of founding members interested in colonizing.

• Information about the Inter/National organization's strength and presence on other college campuses.

• An Inter/National Hazing Policy or anti-hazing statement.

• A written constitution and bylaws for the proposed organization.

• A brief statement of the organization’s history, including number of chapters and growth rates, Inter/National philanthropy or community service initiatives, scholarship achievement programs, leadership development, educational  programming (diversity, time management, substance abuse, sexual harassment/assault, etc.)

• A letter of endorsement from the charter-granting Inter/National organization. This letter should include the name of the person(s) responsible for the expansion process.

• The Inter/National organizations plan to ensure effective chapter operations and officer training once new members have been initiated.

• A copy of the group’s risk management policy, including the organization’s certificate of insurance (insurance coverage).

• A detailed outline of the chapter's new member education program or membership intake process implemented by its founding members, which must address the following areas:

1. Purpose of the program

2. Goals of the program

3. Length of the program

4. Responsibilities of new members and chapter members

5. Demonstrated knowledge/understanding of university anti-hazing policies

6. Financial obligations

E.  Provisional Recognition is afforded for no less than a one-year period during the re-establishment of a formerly active chapter or the initial establishment of a new chapter. During  the colonization period, the colony will actively participate in Greek system activities, attend council meetings, and pay council dues.  

At the end of the specified period, the chapter must apply for Full Recognition or may request to remain at Provisional Status for a period not to exceed four years.

F.   Provisionally Recognized chapters are entitled to the following benefits:

•  Provisional chapters may register chapter social events with the OFSIL 4 weeks from the date of the initiation of their founding new member class.

•  Provisional chapters may attend and participate in all of the programming and events of the OFSIL.

II Full Recognition

A. Chapters will notify the OFSIL, in writing, one month prior to the date they wish to make their presentation to the Fraternities, Sororities and Independent Living Expansion Committee to be considered for Full Recognition.  Chapters petitioning for Full Recognition must have received their charter from their Inter/National Headquarters.  The chapter will provide, in writing, the following items two weeks in advance of their presentation:

• Description of membership recruitment process and the number of members pledged by the founding members. (A copy of this program should be provided for review.)

• Statement of purpose- include specific goals objectives and programs current and for the upcoming year.

• Evidence that the chapter has complied with its constitution and bylaws as set forth in the initial expansion process.

• A summary of all activities and accomplishments that support their petition for recognition.

• Letters of endorsement from Chapter Advisor(s).

• A review of existing judicial incidents.

• A review of attendance and participation in council and OFSIL events and training.

• Proof of required liability insurance for the chapter (a certificate of insurance).

• A letter of endorsement from the charter-granting organization – This letter must declare the Inter/National organizations intention to assume responsibility for the chapter/colony.

• A membership list containing each member’s name. If the chapter’s number is less than the average chapter size of their governing council, the chapter must demonstrate a dues structure, fundraising initiatives, or some evidence of how they will support a functional budget, council dues, and insurance requirements.

• Evidence that the chapter has met the expectations outlined in the Fraternity and Sorority System Core Principals and the Recognition Policy for Fraternities and Sororities.