President Barron announces task force members to study fraternity/sorority life

September 23, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State President Eric Barron has appointed a diverse 25-member task force to study fraternity and sorority life University-wide, offer suggestions for ways the University can have a positive influence on Greek life and propose opportunities to evaluate the organizations and share that information publicly.

“It is my hope that this group will identify and describe the current state of Penn State’s fraternity and sorority system — its strengths and weaknesses, challenges and opportunities — and define ways to build upon its successes and improve its outcomes,” Barron said in a letter to task force members.

Barron notes that the task force should focus on broad ways the University can have an impact on the system. Possible areas of focus of the Fraternity and Sorority Life Task Force include:

  • Developing criteria that students and their parents can use to evaluate fraternities and sororities;
  • Proposing user-friendly ways to publish data about the organizations based on the criteria, and ways data and information could serve as an early-warning system for potential problems;
  • Examining the balance of the University, local communities, fraternity and sorority governing councils, advisers and housing corporations and national Greek-letter organizations; and
  • Seeking student opinions on the fraternity and sorority system at Penn State.

In Barron’s letter charging the task force, he notes the contributions of fraternities and sororities, the students involved and the network of organizations.

“The individual organizations that comprise this community develop strong connections for their alumni, bridging members to one another and enhancing their deep and abiding connections to Penn State,” Barron said. “The importance of this network of organizations cannot be overstated.  We are proud of its rich history and many of the traditions it sustains. We are grateful for the tireless support of fraternity and sorority advisers, the oversight of national Greek-letter organizations, the contribution of the many housing corporations involved, and the partnership between town and gown that encourages the best outcomes for this highly visible part of our University community.”

Barron also noted the challenges fraternities across the nation are facing and concerns about alcohol, sexual misconduct, hazing, racial and other biases, whether they encourage scholarship, and town-gown tensions.

Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims will serve as chair of the task force, which includes administrators, students, faculty, fraternity and sorority representatives, along with members of the State College community and beyond.

The task force members are:

  • Diane Andrews, assistant vice president for Housing, Food Services and Residence Life
  • Patricia Antolosky, chapter adviser, Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority
  • Roy Baker, director for Fraternity and Sorority Life
  • Ankit Bhasin, president, Multicultural Greek Council
  • Ron Binder, associate dean of students, University of Pittsburgh Bradford
  • Jeff Bower, chapter adviser, Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity
  • Mark Brennan, chair, Student Life Committee, University Faculty Senate
  • Gina D’Amato Kaufman, director for Student Affairs, Penn State Abington
  • Brittany Fisher, president, National Pan-Hellenic Council
  • Tom Fountaine, manager, State College borough
  • Rick Groves, president, Interfraternity Council
  • Peg Hambrick, resident, Highlands neighborhood, State College
  • Tom King, chief, State College Police Department
  • Rod Kirsch, senior vice president for Development and Alumni Relations
  • Shawn Lichvar, president, Council of Commonwealth Student Governments
  • Emily McDonald, president, University Park Undergraduate Association
  • Earl Merritt, director, Multicultural Equity Programs, College of the Liberal Arts
  • Rob Pangborn, vice president and dean for Undergraduate Education
  • Abby Renko, president, Panhellenic Association
  • David Rodriguez, president, Phi Delta Psi Eta Hispanic Fraternity
  • Jeff Rundle, director of chapter services and general counsel, Beta Theta Pi Foundation
  • Danny Shaha, director, Office of Student Conduct
  • Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs
  • Jim Strauss, chair-elect, University Faculty Senate
  • Susan Venegoni, president, Highlands Neighborhood Association, State College
  • President Barron portrait

    Penn State President Eric J. Barron.

    IMAGE: Patrick Mansell
Last Updated September 23, 2015