Dear Depauw/Editor of The Depauw,
Our concern is this: current students, especially those in their first year, are receiving a different experience. DePauw’s motto is “Uncommon Success.” For decades, DePauw has been an institution known for creating leaders in all fields and professions. We believe success is driven by skills and experiences cultivated through a DePauw education. We believe it is our duty, not only to current students but to alumni and future students, to maintain and improve the Inter-Fraternity Council.
The standard for Inter-Fraternity Councils across the country is self-governance. With recent position changes, DePauw’s administration has decided to enforce a policy of strict micromanagement. Although the intention of the administration may not be a direct attack on the Greek community, the impact has been a noticeable decline in the quality of the DePauw experience.
DePauw is a midwestern school with, by comparison, little national name recognition. The best proliferators of DePauw’s name are the current students who, right now, are telling prospective students not to attend this school. The steady decline in enrollment numbers is a likely product of this dissatisfaction. This is not just unacceptable, it is unsustainable.
As IFC presidents, our goal is to make it clear that Greek-life is currently, and will always remain, one of the most powerful incentives to attend DePauw. IFC plays a vital role in the DePauw experience with the vast majority of students engaging in philanthropic and social events, either as a member of an organization or as a participant at a sponsored event. We feel we do not receive the proper support and recognition from the administration for all of the service hours, monetary donations, and productive sponsored events that we host throughout the year.
We were elected to represent our organizations, and to work with the administration for the duration of our terms. Our chapters recognize that when mistakes are made we must be held accountable. Certain punishments are warranted, however our quarrel is with the subjectivity, poor timeliness, and lack of transparency shown by the administration. We are tired of the sanctions we feel far outweigh the severity of the infractions. In some cases the treatment of students has been unethical. The DePauw administration has used deception and coercion to conduct their investigations. The administration has failed to respect the autonomy of its students. When the administration makes decisions without realizing the overall impact on our chapters, we must draw the line as IFC chapter presidents. It is evident that self-governance is encouraged by the administration only when there are problems that cannot be dealt with by University sanctions.
With respect and dedication to improving IFC for all students, staff, alumni, and visitors, we request the attention and action of the administration, with our assistance, on the following specific matters.
- Holding the University and its administration to the same level of accountability that our students are held to (ie. eliminating clearly partisan and dividing comments for all-campus email that are not representative of the student body as a whole)
- Refocusing on the ethics of University procedures, rather than imposing excessive sanctions without substantial evidence
- Allowing IFC chapters to have more self-governing authority; the administration should not overstep their bounds as they have in recent past
- Eliminating vagueness from University policies, especially those relating to social events
- Focusing on the importance of IFC involvement in the lives of alumni, including them in the writing of policies/procedures and discussions regarding potential sanctions/administrative disciplinary action
As presidents of all IFC chapters on this campus, we are committed to addressing these issues and working with the administration to solve these problems. We are hoping for support from alumni, students, and the administration in this endeavor. Through improvement on our end with topics such as risk management, diversity and inclusion, and philanthropic/service projects, we look forward to much-needed positive changes to come.
John Gbur, President of Alpha Tau Omega
Daniel Rice, President of Beta Theta Pi
Austin Westerfeld, President of Delta Tau Delta
Noah Benckendorf, President of Delta Upsilon
Samuel Eads, President of Phi Gamma Delta
Jack Rotman, President of Phi Delta Theta
Tawfiq Anabtawi, President of Phi Kappa Psi
Robert Sherman, President of Sigma Chi
Connor Marshall, President of Sigma Nu