Greek Life is re-instated at Monmouth University
Good news for Monmouth University students as they begin the spring semester...Greek Life is back.
On Monday, Monmouth University President Grey Dimenna issued a letter re-instating Greek Life on campus for this semester, however students must maintain a minimum 2.75 GPA to participate.
At the beginning of the school year, all seven fraternities and nine sororities at Monmouth University were suspended due to safety violations and a drop in academic performances.
There were also several incidents of improper behavior on campus including hazing, alcohol and drug use so Greek Life had to come up with a plan to make sure those activities wouldn't continue to drag down campus life and harm other students.
In addition to GPA requirements the plan they came up with creates a reduction in the number of weeks for the new member education process, the establishment of Council Standard Boards to address policy infractions including recruitment violations and risk management issues; increased utilization of the Student Code of Conduct for violations of University policy and the law.
"This administrative decision follows many months of good work from our Greek students, several University administrators, the assistance of an external consultant, and engagement from our alumni and campus community to develop a comprehensive accountability-based plan," Dimenna said on Monday.
When the announcement was made in September the reasoning behind why Greek Life was suspended wasn't as clear.
“Although we did not come to this decision lightly, we feel strongly that it is necessary in order to preserve a productive and healthy learning environment for students involved in Greek life," Mary Anne Nagy, Monmouth University vice president for student life and leadership engagement, said in a statement at the time. "Until we are presented a concrete plan that sets forth policies and practices that change the current culture, this suspension will remain."
University spokeswoman Morganne Dudzinski said there was no specific incident that led to the decision.
"It was the cumulative effect of a series of missteps," she said without providing examples. "We aren’t getting into the specifics of that at this time."
A separate letter obtained by the Asbury Park Press from President Dimenna, cited a meeting held in May of 2018 to discuss "serious conduct violations that have occurred within the community including hazing, alcohol and drug use, and lack of academic focus."
A plan submitted in August by Monmouth's Greek Senate "fell short of our expectations," according to the letter and Dimenna called the suspension a "pro active move."
Dudzinski declined to provide a copy of the letter to Townsquare Media New Jersey because it was an "internal letter intended for our university community. It’s not our policy to share that type of communication."
Flash forward to Monday January 14, 2019 with the announcement that Greek Life is back on campus.
Here is the letter penned to the Monmouth University community from President Dimenna:
Dear Campus Community:
At the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year I wrote to the Monmouth University community about serious issues with Greek letter organizations on campus. Widespread safety violations, a drop in academic performance among the Greek students and serious concerns over the need for a cultural change for the entire Greek system led me to suspend all non-educational activities sponsored by the Greek community to proactively avoid tragic circumstances seen at other institutions and to commence a joint process of strengthening the quality of Greek life at Monmouth.
I am very pleased to report that, effective immediately, I have approved the full re-instatement of Greek Life on campus for the spring 2019 semester.
This administrative decision follows many months of good work from our Greek students, several University administrators, the assistance of an external consultant, and engagement from our alumni and campus community to develop a comprehensive accountability-based plan.
We committed ourselves fully toward working closely with student leadership of the Greek Senate, the Inter-fraternity Council, Pan-Hellenic Council, and the Multi-Cultural Greek Council to develop a concrete path forward to change the direction and culture of Greek Life on campus.
Key changes that will be implemented to Greek life on campus include a reduction in the number of weeks for the new member education process, the establishment of Council Standard Boards to address policy infractions including recruitment violations, risk management issues, and increased utilization of the Student Code of Conduct for violations of University policy and the law. We have also developed a revised "report card" mechanism to benchmark chapter progress and outcomes.
In addition, beginning the fall 2019 semester, all students affiliated with a fraternity or sorority, including current and prospective members, must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75 to participate in the new member education process or remain as an active initiated member of an organization.
Finally, I have upgraded the current Assistant Director of Student Activities for Fraternity and Sorority Life position to a Director level role with a direct report to Vice President Nagy creating a standalone unit to focus on this important area of Student Life.
While these changes are important steps in the full return of our fraternity and sorority community, there is still much work to be done.
As such, I will continue to meet with student leadership throughout the spring semester in close partnership with Vice President Mary Anne Nagy, to further monitor, refine, and develop the key proposals put forth by the students to improve and enhance their community.
I am deeply appreciative of the sincere passion and care that has helped us to resolve the important academic, cultural, and safety issues that are so central to many of our students. And I am confident that our collaborative efforts will enhance the fraternity and sorority experience for our students and ensure a system that is safe, sound, and strong.
Grey J. Dimenna, Esq.
Previous reporting from Dan Alexander was used in this report.
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