Fraternity & Sorority Safety Priorities
Student safety, equity and inclusion, and well-being remain among top institutional priorities for the University of Southern California. Engagement in a fraternity or sorority can be a rewarding and meaningful experience, enhancing the university as a whole and supporting institutional goals. USC values the fraternity and sorority community and is committed to its future.
Addressing concerns of safety and well-being is the responsibility of all USC Trojans as we work towards cultivating a culture of care. Each year we are reminded of preventable tragedies involving hazing and overconsumption of alcohol and other substances within the USC fraternity and sorority community and communities across the country.
In spring 2018, the University of Southern California invited an external consulting group to examine existing university policies and processes as it relates to the fraternity and sorority community. The purpose of the review was to examine opportunities to strengthen safety and well-being. The consultants conducted focus groups with students, alumni/ae, and staff along with reviewing university policies, documents, and processes. Results offered both strengths and opportunities for improvement.
Since completion of the risk review, USC Student Life is working with student leaders, alumni/ae stakeholders, and departments on incorporating many of those recommendations. Implementation of the following priorities is in progress and will continue within the 2019-2020 academic year. Priorities will be customized to fit the needs of each of the five fraternity and sorority communities. Evaluation of progress and next steps will be the focus of the USC Fraternity & Sorority Strategic Leadership Committee.
- Launch a Fraternity & Sorority Strategic Leadership Committee to engage in the vision, initiatives, and accountability of the fraternity and sorority community. Membership to include students from all five communities, alumni/ae advisors, inter/national organization representatives, and university administration. With a synergistic purpose, the group will engage on strategic initiatives of the community and evaluation of community progress based on shared metrics. Chaired by the Vice President for Student Life and organized by the Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Development team.
- Identify content, audience, frequency, and modality for prevention education programs including, but not limited to, hazing, alcohol and other drugs, sexual misconduct, mental health, and bystander intervention. Develop a multi-dose, multi-year curriculum that considers the broader university framework in alignment with the university and Division of Student Life strategic goals. The Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Development team will lead efforts by working with students, alumni/ae advisors, university and external stakeholders, and the Fraternity & Sorority Strategic Leadership Committee.
- Establish a Fraternity & Sorority Safety & Concerns Meeting that includes students from all five fraternity and sorority communities, subject-matter experts, and individuals with implementing authority to assess trends and determine action steps for addressing accountability and well-being goals. Frequency and membership is determined by Vice President of Student Life and Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Development.
- Increase staffing in areas related to prevention education and student conduct to address educational needs, increase university accountability support, including the reduction of time to adjudicating allegations of hazing and additional misconduct. Vice President for Student Life will work with university administration to assess staffing needs.
- Enhance university engagement of the Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Development Event Review Process for chapter hosted events on and off campus, including football gameday experiences. Event review process should be a collaborative effort between FSLD, Public Safety, Fire Safety, LAFD, and student conduct. Initiatives include standardized university processes and expectations for hosting events, risk prevention education and materials, and evaluation. Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Development will lead efforts and engage students, alumni/ae, and university departments.
- Design a plan to engage with external stakeholders such as alumni/ae advisors, inter/national organization representatives, house directors, house corporation alumni/ae leaders, and parents in continuing to influence theTrojan fraternity & sorority experience. Build yearlong plan of engagement and communication, including in-person meetings,communication efforts, and education aimed at strengthening stakeholder support of the student experience and safety. Stakeholder engagement plan will be an initiative of the Fraternity & Sorority Strategic Leadership Committee, led by Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Development.
- Develop a public communication and reporting process to share fraternity and sorority accountability data including but not limited to: awards and recognitions, community service impact, academic achievement, educational programs, and individual (de-identified) and group conduct violations (e.g., hazing, alcohol violations, illegal drug use, and sexual misconduct). Track and communicate the enforcement of violations, at the individual and chapter level. Discussion of trends and accountability initiatives will be a part of the Fraternity & Sorority Strategic Leadership Committeeand the Fraternity & Sorority Safety & Concerns Meeting.
- Enhance accountability processes within the university, chapters, and governing councils. Consider anonymous reporting guidelines, timeliness of investigations, expanding university capacity for responding to allegations and investigations, communication between students, departments, and external stakeholders, and enforcement for both individual students and student organizations. Accountability initiatives will be a part of the Fraternity & Sorority Strategic Leadership Committeeand the Fraternity & Sorority Safety & Concerns Meeting.
These initiatives reflect our commitment and continuous effort to focus on student safety and well-being. The aforementioned initiatives represent phase one of a multi-stage process, while additional initiatives will be fine-tuned and implemented in the months and years to come. The Fraternity & Sorority Strategic Leadership Committeewill serve as a space to continue dialogue on future initiatives. Progress and updates on these initiatives will be found on the Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Development website at greeklife.usc.edu.
Read the full memo on the USC Fraternity Sorority Safety Priorities 2019-2020