Penn State names members of new Greek-life Response Team

June 11, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State President Eric. J. Barron today (June 11) appointed membership of a new Greek-life Response Team, including key University leaders who are responsible for bringing the details of the new Greek-letter community critical measures to fruition, and measuring the effectiveness of each on the community. The Greek-life Response Team will outline a comprehensive plan and timeline for implementing and overseeing the completion of each of the measures, as well as provide regular reports on the progress of these critical initiatives. The five-member team, which reports directly to the president, has already started working to establish an aggressive timeline for each measure.

On June 2, Penn State announced a number of aggressive actions, including the transfer of responsibility to the University for disciplinary matters, transition to one-year deferred recruitment for new members, and an automatic ban on any group that employs hazing, which involves alcohol or serious abuse.

“I want to emphasize again, the safety of our community is of essential importance and the University is determined to move swiftly to put these initiatives in place. These are actions that require careful planning, resources and partnership with not only our Greek-letter organizations, but their alumni boards, housing boards, councils and national organizations,” Barron said. “And the Greek-life Response Team will be critically focused on increasing student well-being and safety and the impact from these measures."

Members of the Greek-life Response Team include:

  • Thomas G. Poole, vice president for administration and chair of the response team
  • Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs
  • Zack Moore, vice president for Government and Community Relations
  • Keith Morris, chief, University Police and Public Safety
  • Frank T. Guadagnino, associate general counsel

Barron said the response team of administrative leaders charged with carrying out these critical measures will work in close coordination with the Board of Trustees. He said there may be additions to the team as their work carries forward. The team is expected to coordinate with local government and law enforcement, neighborhood groups and others throughout the implementation process.

New Measures

One complex piece that came out of the recently announced comprehensive set of Greek-life initiatives focused on a transition to deferred recruitment of new members. Starting in 2019-20 academic year, recruitment activities for Greek-letter organizations will be limited to students who are sophomores or above. This critical change is being implemented for safety and academic purposes. University officials believe that the freshman year is a time for students to focus fully on their academics and acclimate to the University, as well as mature in their decision making. While University leaders recognize that deferred recruitment of this type may be a significant recruitment and economic challenge for some individual fraternity or sorority chapters, particularly those who need to fulfill their housing requirements, this transition period will offer fraternities and sororities an opportunity to work with the University to address these possible issues. Prior to 2019-20, recruitment is restricted to students who have completed a full semester of credits.

Other measures that will be implemented in the coming fall semester include University oversight of the fraternity and sorority organizational misconduct and adjudication process. Strict social restrictions will remain in place, and monitoring of social events by University staff members will continue, but are expected to be augmented by additional staffing.

Further details will be shared in subsequent announcements on the additional measures, including: increased parent education; the collection of data for creating a public Greek-life chapter report card; and the fee to be levied on members of Greek-letter organizations to support the extra safety services and educational activities.

All of the new measures are being implemented with a focus on prevention, monitoring and enforcement surrounding the problems of student alcohol misuse, hazing and other misconduct. For a comprehensive list of the new measures that will be implemented, visit Penn State Update.

Last Updated July 13, 2017