Judicial

Philosophy

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. We believe 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 violations of the Expectations for Membership, the Recognition Policy for Sororites and Fraternaties, the Core Principals, the Sorority and Fraternity Event Management Guidelines, the Anti-hazing Policy, and any other related policies. The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life staff will advise the adjudication of violations of any policy in conjunction with members of the Sorority and Fraternity Community. 

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. These procedures have been developed to promote fairness in resolution of sorority and fraternity disciplinary matters. All Sorority and Fraternity board proceedings are administrative in nature and are held independent of any criminal and/or civil proceedings that may be concurrently in process if the conduct in question is simultaneously in violation of federal, state or local laws.  Notification of such violations will not modify the need to adjudicate the alleged misconduct through the Sorority and Fraternity Judicial system. 

Neither the Cornell University Recognition Policy nor anything in these procedures is intended in any way to alter the legal relation between Cornell and sorority and fraternities.  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.


Goals

The goals of the Greek Judicial process are to compel chapters and their members to adhere to all Sorority and Fraternity and Sorority Expectations, Policies, and Procedures, University Policies, New York State Law. Resolving conflicts within the community is paramount as we continue to promote and uphold high standards of conduct.


Jurisdiction

Through the Recognition Policy, the Multicultural Greek-Letter Council, Interfraternity Council, and Panhellenic Association (MGLC, IFC, and PHC) will have jurisdiction over all member sororities and fraternities to enforce policies and University rules and regulations, and to maintain appropriate standards of conduct. Instances of alleged chapter misconduct would result in referral of the sorority or fraternity to the appropriate judicial board or University body for disciplinary action. Charges of misconduct by individuals are referred to the University Judicial Administrator. Charges of misconduct by fraternity or sorority chapters are referred to the Director of Sorority and Fraternity Life. Action by the University Judicial Administrator may run concurrently with the action by the Director of Sorority & Fraternity Life; one type of judicial action does not necessarily affect or preclude the other. 

Cases may be resolved informally through mediation with the Director of Sorority & Fraternity Life or his/her designee or through a Greek Judicial Board hearing.  If the Director of Sorority & Fraternity Life feels that a hearing is in the best interests of the Greek System or the University, the case may be referred to the appropriate judicial board even though the aggrieved party may not desire that formal disciplinary action be taken.  Actions taken or pending by a chapter’s internal judicial body, the national/ international office or the chapter, or by the State of New York Court System will not necessarily affect the determination of whether or not a case is referred to the appropriate judicial board or to the University Judicial Administrator.  The actions taken by other bodies may, however, be considered as a mitigating factor in determining how the appropriate judicial board will handle a particular case.

In the event that a serious violation of one or more of the Greek policies has occurred, where a possible outcome of the judicial process may be to remove the chapter’s recognition at Cornell University, the Director of Sorority & Fraternity Life reserves the right to involve/refer the matter to the Vice President for Student and Campus Life or his/her designee(s).