Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
August 10, 2020

Editorial: The importance of balanced discussion on Greek life policy

By The News-Letter | October 6, 2016

At the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (OFSL) revealed its Chapter Assessment Program (CAP) to the general student body.

The idea for the Hopkins program originated in 2014 when the University and the OFSL worked with consultants from the Fraternity and Sorority Coalition Project.

This exchange resulted in the implementation of CAP at Hopkins, and the University’s version was borrowed from Towson University and the University of Delaware. It has gone through several modifications and the latest version was released on Sept. 7.

The program has four focus points: academics, chapter management, membership development and community involvement. Each of these categories has different metrics, and chapters are awarded a certain amount of points for each requirement they complete.

At the end of each semester, the points are totaled and, according to the OFSL, should reflect how well each chapter has performed for that semester. The organizations that failed to reach a certain number of minimum points are put on social probation.

According to the Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Calvin L. Smith, Jr., the program was implemented to increase the transparency of our Greek organizations and hold them accountable to the values of their national organizations and the University.

The Editorial Board commends the OFSL for actively attempting to engage the Greek community, but we have run into serious problems when trying to report on CAP.

Since the beginning of the academic year, we have been unable to find students who are willing to comment about new FSL policies on the record. In an article concerning the new party policies, published just two weeks ago, The News-Letter was unable to find students who were willing to evaluate and criticize the new policies on the record.

Now, many affiliated individuals are unwilling to give criticisms of the CAP program on the record. This is not to say that no one has been commenting on the program.

While there are no explicit rules against speaking poorly about CAP, many students may be understandably worried about repercussions for them or their chapters, potentially from the University and their organization’s national headquarters if they choose to speak out against the new policy.

Given these circumstances, we understand that those affiliated with Greek organizations may be hesitant to engage with The News-Letter. However, since Greek life is a huge part of our campus culture, with more than 30 percent of Hopkins undergraduates involved in a Greek organization, The News-Letter would like to stress the importance of communication between its reporters and members of Greek life.

As the campus newspaper, we have been unable to publish fair articles about the CAP and other policies. Without criticisms and input or praise from members of Greek organizations, the OFSL cannot be sure if their new guidelines are effective and truly offer the students the experiences that they were intended to provide.

At this point in time, The News-Letter and the general student body cannot hold OFSL and Greek life accountable for the changes that have been recently implemented.

Without commentary, both positive and negative, from all parties involved, The News-Letter will have failed to fulfill its role as a historical record of our undergraduate community.

Two of the five editors on the Editorial Board this week are affiliated with Greek life. Additionally, one-third of the The News-Letter editors are affiliated with Greek life.

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