Task force formation continues, president takes deliberate steps to get it right

April 02, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Since President Eric Barron's announcement last week (March 23) that he will be appointing a task force to review the fraternity and sorority system at Penn State, the University has received a large number of nominations and offers from individuals to serve as a member of this group.

“We are certainly pleased by the interest shown. It demonstrates the importance of this process and an interest in strengthening our fraternity and sorority community for positive change,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims, who will chair the task force. “It offers us considerable confidence that the right group and process will bring together the best thinking to achieve the improvements we seek.”  

Both Barron and Sims have heard from dozens of individuals and organizations seeking representation in the review process.

While announcement of the membership of the task force was expected to be made by Barron this week, the president said the need to “ensure good outcomes” has prompted his administration to slow the process down slightly to construct a task force that is both representative and knowledgeable on the issues. The group, according to both Barron and Sims, must include participation from students, alumni, national fraternity and sorority organizations, faculty, administrators, and local leaders and residents. In addition, the issues the task force is expected to address are found at several Penn State campuses other than University Park — which would call for representation from the Commonwealth Campuses as well.  

Barron stressed that one constituency that must be part of the task force mix is students, both those involved in fraternity and sorority life and those who have no affiliation. The president acknowledged that late in the spring is not an ideal time to recruit students, but their input, insight and feedback will be a valuable part of any report and recommendations. 

“We are eager to formally launch this examination and will do so as quickly as possible without compromising the intent and integrity of our commitment," Barron said. "This is not a sprint to the finish and we are determined to gather the input and information needed to ensure this review is thoughtful, comprehensive and complete.”

Both Barron and Sims indicated that while the charge of the task force is broad, some recommendations may emerge from its work relatively quickly, while other proposals can only be accomplished over time.

“We hope to advance the progress and success of the fraternities and sororities associated with Penn State as expeditiously as we can,” Sims said. “With that end in mind, this process will begin soon and continue as long as it is required. We look forward to the recommendations that result.”

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 02, 2015