The Cornell University Sorority and Fraternity community is committed to cultivating the intellectual, social, and ethical development of our members in an environment of freedom with responsibility. A key component of student development is experiential learning; hence student self-governance is the cornerstone of the Sorority and Fraternity Judicial system. The Sorority and Fraternity Judicial System responds to a recognized organization's alleged violations of the policies that govern the community: the Expectations for Membership, the Recognition Policy for Sororities and Fraternities, the Sorority and Fraternity Event Management Guidelines, and the Anti-hazing Policy. The advantage of a student-centered judicial process lies in the ability of its members to influence the attitudes and subsequent behavior of their peers through a formal proceeding. Resolving such allegations is paramount as the Sorority and Fraternity community works to promote and uphold high standards of conduct.
The processes and procedures that constitute the Sorority and Fraternity Judicial System are not intended in any way to alter the legal relationship between Cornell and sororities and fraternities. As set forth in the Recognition Policy, each sorority and fraternity is, and remains, an independent legal entity responsible for its own actions and for meeting its own legal duties and obligations.
Judicial Process Overview
Report and Initial Assessment
Any person may make a report of Sorority or Fraternity organizational misconduct to the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life (OSFL) by contacting that office via phone (607-255-2310), email or completing an appropriate Reporting Form. The report should include as much detail as possible, for example, a description of the alleged misconduct, including date, time, place, organization involved, number of participants, and any other witnesses.
Upon receipt of a report, the Director of Sorority and Fraternity Life, or their designee, will make an initial assessment and respond to any immediate health or safety concerns raised by the report. Upon completion of the initial assessment, the Director will either:
- Schedule an Informal Resolution (IR) meeting. (Refer to Judicial Process)
- Refer the matter to the Greek Judicial Board (GJB). (Refer to Judicial Process)
- Refer the matter to the Lead Sorority and Fraternity Investigator for investigation and adjudication pursuant to the Sorority & Fraternity Organizational Miscondust (SFOM) Procedures.
IR, GJB & SFOM
Informal Resolution is an opportunity for the Vice President Judicial of the applicable council, in partnership with an OSFL staff member, to discuss the allegations of minor violations with the chapter leadership and come to an agreed upon outcome if the chapter is found responsible and accepts responsibility.
Greek Judicial Board is composed of members representing the three Governing Councils (IFC, MGF, PHC) as advised by the Director, or designee. The Greek Judicial Board consider alleged council violations, event management violations, or other allegations that, should the chapter be found responsible, would not warrant consideration of withdrawal of university recognition.
Sorority & Fraternity Organizational Miscondust (SFOM) Procedures is reserved for the investigation and adjudication of alleged serious misconduct by recognized sororities and fraternities. Where there is a finding of responsibility, the SFOM hearing panel may recommend a range of sanctions up to and including withdrawal of university recognition. In doing so, the SFOM panel will consider the chapter’s history of misconduct, including any current allegations of misconduct, the overall health of the organization, and the organization’s ability to comply with University and Sorority and Fraternity policies.
- Please note that the Greek Judicial and SFOM proceedings are administrative in nature and are held independent of any criminal and/or civil proceedings that may be concurrently in process.
- OSFL may also refer Sorority and Fraternity Judicial matters to the Office of the Judicial Administrator, the Office of the Title IX Coordinator, or other campus partners to pursue individual accountability for members associated with the organization where appropriate.
As a general rule, the status of an accused chapter will not change while a case is pending against it. However, the Assistant Vice President for Student & Campus Life (AVP for SCL) may temporarily suspend any or all of an accused organization’s activities, including but not limited to new member and social activities, whenever the alleged conduct poses a threat to the health or safety of University community members or is necessary to promote the best interest of the accused chapter and the University. The AVP for SCL may impose such interim measures at any time, including before allegation(s) of misconduct are referred to the Judicial or SFOM process or at any point in those processes. The AVP for SCL will notify the chapter president, chapter advisor, and inter/national organization if any such interim measures are necessary.