There has been much speculation across social media and other forums about Rensselaer’s recently announced Greek Life Task Force. In summary—at this point—all fraternities and sororities will continue to operate, but rush and recruitment will start late, the current date being October 18th. Alcohol will not be allowed at any events involving Greek life, however, note that all SigEp chapters, including our undergraduates, had already agreed to substance-free housing (including alcohol) as part of a more proactive SigEp initiative.
Rensselaer President Jackson sent out an email to alumni on June 8 regarding the formation of a Greek Life Task Force to be led by LeNorman Strong, interim vice president for student life. This task force is slated to “assess the system, and work with the community to identify what is necessary to enact a long- term, sustainable, and comprehensive culture change to preserve the positive aspects of the Greek system.” Strong announced that for the Fall 2018 semester, rush and recruitment will be suspended, alcohol will be banned from all chapter houses, and no alcohol will be al- lowed at any social events involving Greek life.
The Alumni Inter-Greek Council (AIGC) board, which is made up of Greek alumni boards at RPI, quickly stepped in with a response on June 14 to ensure “that: (a) rush and recruitment occur as planned in Fall 2018 and (b) that alumni and current students are directly included on the Greek Life Task Force.”
On June 20, RPI sent another email to alumni referencing an information site regard- ing the task force in response to emails from alumni, parents, students, and others: http://info.rpi.edu/greek-life-task-force. On June 26, LeNorman Strong sent a follow up email re- vising the original prohibition on rush and recruitment from the full semester to a pause between August 18 and October 18, assuming that certain conditions are met. He also stated “all chapters are able to continue member and campus activities that are not related to the prohibited activities.”
On June 29th, Rensselaer Alumni Association (RAA) President Kareem Muhammad ‘01 sent an email to alumni noting “Greek life has been part of the Rensselaer community for over 165 years and is an important part of our legacy. In 2017, Greeks held over 200 community service events and logged over 70,000 hours of philanthropic activities.” The email further states that the RAA’s “next steps are to confirm that the standards set forth by the Greek Life Task Force are: clear, measurable, and achievable for our Greek chapters. From our discussions with Dr. Jackson, alumni relations, and student life leaders, it is clear to us that everyone wants to protect and preserve Greek life at Rensselaer. The administration’s goal is to assess the current system and work with the entire Rensselaer community to identify the necessary improvements required to enact a long-term, sustainable, and comprehensive cultural change to preserve the positive aspects of the Greek system. We under- stand that, at first, it might not have seemed like this was the goal, but from our interactions, the administration does indeed believe the future of RPI includes Greek life.”
On August 17, Dr. Jackson announced the 13 members of the task force. NY Delta broth- er Vish Gopalakrishnan ’20 was chosen as one of three undergraduates to serve on the committee, which is expected to provide its final report and recommendations by November 15. The NY Delta Alumni and Volunteer Corporation (AVC) and Executive Committee (EC) are working with the AIGC, RAA, and Interfraternity Council (IFC) to better shape this matter. We will post any material updates here, to our email list, and Facebook page.