Earlier this week, I commended Interfraternity Council executive board members for acknowledging systemic conduct problems within the IFC community and approaching us to request assistance in addressing these issues. I appreciated their courage in taking ownership of these problems, and I committed my support to help them improve fraternity life at KU.
The next day, these IFC leaders were removed from the executive board. And Thursday night, under new leadership, IFC nullified the freeze its previous board enacted as unconstitutional.
The university recognizes IFC’s role as a representative government and respects its decisions. However, the current environment that has precipitated these recent events remains an area of significant concern to the health and safety of our students.
In recent weeks, a number of our fraternities have made headlines for being investigated, sanctioned or shut down. These and additional investigations suggest a systemic issue with misconduct that warrants our full attention and focus. And now we have an opportunity to launch a collaborative effort to aggressively address these issues together.
Earlier today, IFC announced it will begin to pursue new initiatives to address these difficulties, and the university stands ready to participate in that effort. We challenge IFC to engage in a broad, multi-stakeholder process to identify measures to improve the fraternity experience and ensure the safety of our students. We look forward to being part of this process in the coming days, and we are prepared to convene other key stakeholders as well.
So here’s my call to the IFC community: Let’s collaborate to address these problems and to make the community stronger. Come together with the university and fellow IFC stakeholders — students, fraternities, national organizations and alumni — to develop higher standards for health, safety, wellness and self-governance. And do some honest introspection about how we can meet the expectations we have for ourselves, our IFC community and our university.
Together, I am confident we can continue the proud tradition of fraternity life at KU.
Douglas A. Girod
University of Kansas