A Publication for Members of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors AFA1976.org | @AFA1976
Prevention Let’s face it. Our current “risk management” strategy isn’t working. It’s time to change our mindset to be proactive.
Putting Prevention Into Practice We can’t create organizational change with simple programs. Let’s shift gears from “risk management” to harm prevention.
From Pavlov to Parties
Alcohol tolerance is triggered by environmental cues. How can we make students aware of risks posed by new environments?
A LEADER IN ENDING THE HARMFUL PRACTICES OF HAZING
Tracy believes one of the best things we can do about hazing is to talk about the problem openly and honestly. In her college keynote A Conversation About Hazing, she tells real stories of hazing, its harms and the impact on both hazers and their victims. She frames the issue from a variety of perspectives and motivates everyone on todayâ€™s campus to come together to move their community forward. A national leader on the topic of hazing, Tracy urges students and staff to take an active role and avoid being bystanders on this vital campus issue.
Making A Difference Tracy was recently honored by the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values with the 2013 AFLV Fraternity/Sorority Outstanding Alumna Volunteer Achievement Award (above). In addition, Triangle Fraternity is awarding her the 2013 Richard H. Sudheimer Interfraternal Leadership Award this July for her work in hazing prevention.
tracy MAXWELL (303) 745-5545 â€˘ email@example.com www.campuspeak.com/maxwell
editor’s note As the new editor of Perspectives, I challenged the editorial board to clarify the purpose of the publication and develop goals for the magazine. While a magazine is not a conference session or program per se, as true educators, outcomes guide our work. Based on these, I’d like to outline our vision for Perspectives. This publication should add to your knowledge base. It should inform conversations you have with students, colleagues or supervisors. It should make you think—deeper, different or in reflection. We hope Perspectives is provocative, spurring action around topics new and old. It should prompt conversation around the “virtual water cooler” to discuss challenges and solutions. We want articles and elements to be approachable for the reader and writer, providing wellthought-out arguments, angles, context and experiences—perspectives. I bold that word, because it is important—our aim is to live up to the title of the publication. In 2012, Perspectives went through a visual redesign. In this issue, you will notice some changes in the content. In the past, one of the favorite and anecdotally most-read pieces of the magazine was “From Where I Sit,” a column appearing in each issue where a professional shared his or her perspective related to a relevant topic. You won’t find “From Where I Sit” in this issue for good reason. We’re building on that concept; you will find multiple articles that share professionals’ viewpoints. Together, Perspectives articles form a version of “from where we sit”—we being fraternity/sorority professionals and those outside of the field who can inform our work. Perspectives can take diverse forms and we encourage readers (and authors) to explore the opportunities. In this issue, a feature story tells the story of a campus that has undergone a mindset shift concerning risk prevention. Another provides new context around “tolerance.” A point-counterpoint piece looks at advising from two different views. A spotlight shows a campus creating its own best practices grounded in research. A Q&A answers the questions professionals have but might not have a source to ask. A personal account of a crisis provides strategies to implement in communities and organizations. An article uses a creative metaphor to challenge our reality. And a host of sidebars provide quick hits of information, strategies and tips. Perspectives will continue to feature high-quality, intentional content. Writing should be accessible, but polished and purposeful. Authors should do their research to build and enforce an informed point. Research should add value rather than being the central point; this is how Perspectives varies from AFA’s Oracle, a peer-reviewed journal. Authors should provide a focused take to push the reader to think about the topic from a unique angle.
Heather Matthews Kirk Editor @hmk0618
We want articles to be approachable for the reader and writer, providing well thought out arguments, angles, context, and experiences— perspectives.
In this and future issues, Perspectives will address topics that have been a part of our work as fraternity/sorority professionals for decades through new lenses. The publication also will look at cutting-edge challenges or trends in a changing landscape of higher education. Issues will continue to be themed to address a topic from multiple angles, but each will also include pieces outside of that theme. We hope to engage professionals inside and outside of the field as authors. Through this magazine, we aim to be part of the “personal learning trajectory” AFA President Jeremiah Shinn speaks about in his column on page 4. For potential authors, the opportunities are endless and prompt creativity. We hope you will rise to the challenge. For readers, allow yourself to be challenged, enlightened, informed and even a little irritated. Without the discomfort dissenting perspectives can provide, our association won’t engage in the debates necessary to shape our profession. Join the conversation via Twitter (and beyond) at #AFAPerspectives. We will see you at the virtual water cooler.
from the president The duty I enjoy most about my role in AFA is the opportunity to talk with members, stakeholders, colleagues and critics about the role and future of both our profession and our association. I have had some great conversations with members about how best to advance AFA, in which I have identified two distinct patterns of thought. One assumes we have great structures, processes and ideas in place and our challenge is to become more skilled and consistent in executing those. The other assumes continued relevance requires us to constantly reevaluate and adjust our structures, processes and ideas—essentially to continuously rethink AFA.
Jeremiah Shinn 2013 President @booneshinn
If you know me, it is not surprising I am someone who is unashamedly inclined toward rethinking AFA. Whether in the association, my professional life, volunteer life or civic life, I believe progress is a prerequisite to relevance. While I do not advocate for blowing things up for the sake of doing it, I acknowledge the necessity of constant scrutiny to avoid stagnation and sluggishness that arises from a strict adherence to the status quo. That being said, it is important to mobilize our past as a tool for progress. We rely on the past to the extent that it assists us in securing a relevant future. I believe the most appropriate way to honor our association’s history is by building a bridge to a sustainable and relevant future for AFA. So what does that require of us? Let me first make a couple of important distinctions. The primary is between our association and our profession. Whether we are graduate students, traveling consultants, coordinators, senior student affairs officers or executive directors, we share a common interest and belief in the fraternity/ sorority advising profession. Our shared work is a catalyst for drawing us together. This is our profession. As an association, AFA is simply the organization of that professional relationship. AFA is a vehicle toward the advancement of our shared cause. The secondary distinction is one between ends and means. So often, we talk about the fraternity/ sorority experience as if it is an end unto itself, independent of other experiences and deserving of its own exclusive position in higher education. Fraternity/sorority is not an end, but a means to promote student learning. Great fraternities and sororities aren’t the goal—the goal is to add value to the student experience. Fraternities and sororities are one of many delivery mechanisms for student development. Similarly, AFA is not an end, but a means whereby we seek to promote development for fraternity/ sorority professionals. A great AFA is measured by the extent each of us is better at our job as a result of membership. AFA is a delivery mechanism. Becoming great professionals is the point of AFA.
A great AFA is measured by the extent to which each of us is better at our job as a result of membership.
What if we shifted the focus of AFA engagement from our personal volunteer trajectory to our personal learning trajectory? What if each of us had half the resources and twice the expectations— could we still rely on the status quo? What if we actually said the things that we think and asked about the things we wonder? What if everything we knew about fraternity/sorority life was erased— would we recreate the same structures, processes and norms? What if the staff at Google took over all facets of the fraternity/sorority world for one year? What if the nature of what it means to be “cool” in our profession was based on our results? What if we had different definitions for success in our professional world? What if we decided to start having a different conversation about our profession right now? What would be different? My guess is everything would be different because our work wouldn’t be about fraternity/sorority. We would be using the vehicle of fraternity/sorority as a means for reaching the end goal of student development. In like manner, we would look at AFA as a vehicle for achieving the end goal of becoming great professionals. It wouldn’t be about AFA—it would be about something bigger. THIS is the conversation I hope we can have. I hope Perspectives can serve as a starting point.
Talk about this at #AFAPerspectives
Perspectives is the official publication of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors, Inc. (AFA). Views expressed are those of the individual authors/contributors/advertisers and are not necessarily those of the Association. AFA encourages the submission of articles, essays, ideas and advertisements. Submissions should be directed to the Editor, advertising queries to the staff. Submission Deadlines: Summer 2013: May 1, 2013 Fall 2013: August 1, 2013 Winter 2014: November 1, 2013 Editor: Heather Matthews Kirk Zeta Tau Alpha Heather-Kirk@zetataualpha.org (317) 872.0540 @hmk0618 Staff: Lea Hanson Director of Marketing & Communication firstname.lastname@example.org Monica Ceja Coordinator of Marketing & Communication email@example.com 2013 Editorial Board: Noah Borton, Delta Upsilon Fraternity Emilee Danielson, Shippensburg University Kirsten Siron Fryer, University of Chicago Andrew Hohn, University of Illinois Scott Isenga, University of Central Arkansas Sarah McCracken, Delta Zeta Nathan Thomas, Bradley University
Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors P.O. Box 1369, Suite 250 Fort Collins, CO 80522-1369 firstname.lastname@example.org phone: (970) 797.4361 fax: (888) 855.8670 www.afa1976.org @AFA1976 AFA is a proud member of:
in this issue
6 Putting Prevention into Practice Leslie Fasone
You can’t fix a tumor with a Band-Aid®, but it’s a great analogy for our standard approach to managing risk. Let’s revamp our culture and mindset to focus on prevention using health behavior theories.
a Crisis: Preparing for Situations 10 Surviving You Can’t Prevent Marsha Grady
We focus heavily on preventing crises, but what about unexpected situations we can’t control? Learn how crisis preparation can make all the difference in surviving an emergency.
Pavlov to Parties: The Development (and 14 From Disappearance) of Tolerance and Implications for the Fraternity/Sorority Community Jason Kilmer & Angela Mittman
Tolerance is triggered by sets of environmental cues, and students often view tolerance as a sign of status. How can we make them aware of the risks posed by “failure of tolerance” and how to seek help when needed?
18 Q&A: Exploring the Legal Liability of Advising David Westol
What are the legal responsibilities of teaching harm reduction or managing risk at an organizational level? We sat down with attorney and long-time AFA member David Westol to learn about legal issues we might encounter as advisors.
03 :: Editor’s Note 04 :: From the President 20 :: Point | Counterpoint 27 :: Spotlight
Putting Prevention into Practice by Leslie Fasone
ou don’t fix a tumor with a Band-Aid®. A team of doctors uses tests, surgery, medicine, treatment and therapy to remove the problem and repair oneself.
We know this, but for decades, we’ve been patching the risk and health woes of fraternity and sorority communities with programmatic Band-Aids®, trying to manage risk that occasionally bursts onto the radar. I’ve been a member of the fraternal community for 13 years, serving as an undergraduate member, educational leadership consultant, regional officer, chapter advisor, fraternity/sorority advisor, and an educational consultant on mental health initiatives. Only in the last several years have I realized the need to shift gears from a risk management mindset to one of prevention and intervention in order to really create change. During my time as a fraternity/sorority advisor, I obtained a mental health counseling degree. I learned a great deal in my six years in this position. I was challenged to help identify problems and the root of issues. I saw how necessary it was to create organizational change, rather than manage risk. I started thinking more strategically and applied theoretical frameworks from my counseling courses to begin understanding individual and organizational behavior change. I realized change needed to occur on multiple levels and began using the socio-ecological framework in my work as a professional. I am currently working on a doctorate in health behaviors through the School of Public Health, while advising the Culture of Care initiative at Indiana University. My research interests include bystander intervention, college student drinking, sexual assault prevention and developing interventions aimed at creating behavior change. These experiences, when viewed through a fraternity/sorority lens, have helped me to see the flaws in thinking and action that have kept our work from changing behavior.
I strongly believe we need to begin thinking differently. If we do not identify the layers through which we need to intervene, I fear the fraternity and sorority environment may cause more harm than good for student members. I seek to not only challenge your current perspective, but to also enable you with strategies to help reshape fraternity and sorority communities.
Our Current Reality
Changing Our Thinking to Reshape our Environment
Binge-drinking is higher among fraternity and sorority members than non-members where approximately 75 percent of fraternity members and 62 percent of sorority members are binge-drinkers, compared to 44 percent of traditional college students (Wechsler et al., 2000).
Students who join fraternities and sororities tend to engage in heavier episodic drinking and marijuana use than non-members (McCabe et al., 2005).
The student development theories we learn in graduate school and beyond are valuable for helping us understand development during life-stages in college. They can even provide a framework for understanding culture, but if we are going to create behavior change around harm reduction and intervention, we need to combine this knowledge with understanding of health behaviors and theoretical frameworks aimed at behavior change.
Approximately one in five women will experience sexual assault while in college (Fisher et al., 2000). Fraternities and sororities may actually create environments that enable sexual assault to occur (Armstrong et al., 2006; Sweeney, 2011).
Fraternity and sorority members are among the top two student organizations in college in which members are most likely to experience hazing. In fact, 7 out of 10 fraternity/sorority members are likely to experience hazing to obtain or maintain status in their organizations (Allan & Madden, 2008).
Intervention Mapping Steps 1. Conduct a needs assessment and use data to specify goals for health and environmental change. 2. Outline change matrices by creating a logic model and stating outcomes for behavior and environment change. Determine performance objectives and select important and changeable determinants. 3. Identify theories applicable to behavior and environmental outcomes and choose methods aimed at behavior change. Determine how methods will be applied within the intervention. 4. Develop the intervention program by consulting with implementers and intended participants, creating program themes and material list, preparing designing intervention documents and materials, pretest the intervention and producing materials. 5. Adopt and implement the program. Identify program outcomes, specific performance objectives for adoption and implementation of a program. Also consider how the program will be sustained and maintained over a period of time. 6. Evaluate the program for both efficacy of the implementation of the program as well as identifying behavior change. This information can be used for revising and implementing the program to continue to help change behavior.
Talk about this at #AFAPerspectives
We must adapt our focus to include and evaluate both learning outcomes and behavior change. Yes, defining what students should learn is critical, but in the end, what behavior do you want enacted as a result of the effort? Many times we see professionals focus on programs that simply aim to increase knowledge about alcohol or drugs. While foundational knowledge is important, we know it does not change behavior, meaning we need to approach intervention differently. We tend to believe values education and integration are the magic bullet that will change behavior, putting all of our eggs in the values congruence basket. While it may establish a foundation for behavior change, students may require more complex tools to facilitate the application of those values toward healthy behaviors. We need to work backwards, grounding our knowledge in research, identifying the problem, and fully understanding components that contribute to the issue at hand. Intervention mapping provides an outline for health promotion professionals for creating behavior change through intervention (Bartholomew et al., 2011). Conducting a needs assessment is the first step of intervention mapping (Bartholomew et al., 2011). If you are not basing prevention work on assessment data, then you are headed down a risky path. Data informs our practice to let us know what strategies are working and which are not. It helps identify areas and specific problems to target. Spending time and money on programs not grounded in research fails to generate the necessary results. To address the root of the problems, we need to operate more like health professionals. This begins by conducting a needs assessment prior to any program development and conducting an evaluation following the implementation. In health promotion, assessment means gathering data and identifying needs. This is different from how “assessment” is typically used in higher education, which more closely resembles “program evaluation” used to assess behavior change following interventions. Finally, let’s get realistic about our limitations and move to collaborate with health professionals on our campuses, or from an organizational standpoint, the campuses that host our chapters. As student affairs practitioners, we’re trained in student and leadership development. In reality, for most of us, our knowledge about health and behavioral change is restricted to personal experiences. Campus health professionals are trained in creating behavior change, so engaging that expertise in the change process is crucial to moving the needle.
Socio-ecological Model Public Policy
Community (cultural values, norms)
Schools (environment, ethos)
Interpersonal (social network)
Individual (knowledge, attitude, skills)
Changing Our Work to Implement Prevention Start by learning about the prevention framework for developing intervention initiatives. Implementing this framework will help you create an infrastructure for prevention. Rather than throwing dollars at short-term programming and spending hours on initiatives that may not create behavior change, the prevention framework and collaboration with professionals will allow you to spend resources in ways proven to build long-term preventative solutions and decrease negative health behaviors. Otherwise, we will continually be spinning our wheels and running ourselves ragged continually educating on the issue, but not actually changing behavior. Simply put, we’ll get exhausted and will burn ourselves out. Shift gears from “risk management” to “harm prevention” by applying health behavior theories to change individual and organizational behavior. This will allow you to get ahead of the problem, being more proactive rather than reactive. Use a model such as the socio-ecological model as a framework for creating change. This structure helps you think through methods for creating change on several levels: the individual, group norms, campus community and policies. Each layer is interdependent and has a significant role in shifting behavior. If you spend all of your time focused on one layer, the other layers may negate the change you are trying to make in one area. To be most effective in creating behavior change, you must tackle the issue from several layers. For example, we tend to focus mostly on new member education. However, if we do not address the environment and the behavior older members are modeling, we are not going to be able to change the organization with just new member education. Thus, we must consider the role and influence of the social group on individual behavior and develop a strategy to complement new member education so we can change our organizations. Do the research and ground practice and programs in data. This can be as simple as reading peer-reviewed journal articles to better understand the current reality and frameworks aimed at creating behavior change. Be sure to search health journals in addition to higher education journals—they
publish different types of articles that may help you get a bigger picture of the complexity of the issues at hand. There are a number of journals that focus on different high-risk behaviors. Assessment comes in many forms. Is your campus already utilizing a major assessment tool that will provide healthrelated data? Can you survey your community, with the help of campus health professionals? Pull together campus partners to obtain, organize and discuss this data so you have a better understanding of the problem. Use the data in strategic planning and new initiative development. Tools available that provide such data include the CORE Institute Survey, National College Health Assessment (NCHA), or Fraternity and Sorority Experience Survey. You can also work with researchers on campus or experts within your organization to develop a survey aimed at learning more about your community’s issues and problems. Recognize your strengths. You know the fraternity/sorority culture better than most other staff members on campus. Many of them might not know how to relate. When you collaborate, consider the important components of the culture and environment, and communicate them with campus partners. They can then help develop prevention strategies and initiatives using theoretical frameworks that consider the norms of the fraternity/sorority community. Understanding and connecting with the cultural component of fraternities and sororities is key for developing effective initiatives.
REFERENCES Allan, E. J., & Madden, M. (2008). Hazing in view: College students at risk. Orono, ME: National Collaborative for Hazing Research and Prevention. Armstrong, E.A., Hamilton, L., & Sweeney, B. (2006). Sexual assault on campus: A multilevel, integrative approach to party rape. Social Problems, 53(4), 483-499. Bartholomew, L.K., Parcel, G.S., Kok, G., Gottlieb, N.H. & Fernandez, M.E. (2011). Planning Health Promotion Programs: An Intervention Mapping Approach. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, 3rd Ed. Fisher, B.S., Cullen, F.T., & Turner, M.G. (2000). The sexual victimization of college women. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice. McCabe, S. E., Schulenberg, J. E., Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Kloska, D. D. (2005). Selection and socialization effects of fraternities and sororities on US college student substance use: A multicohort national longitudinal study. Addiction, 100(4), 512-524. Sweeney, B.N. (2011). The allure of the freshman girl: Peers, partying, and the sexual assault of First-year college women. Journal of College & Character, 12(4), 2-15. Wechsler, H., Lee, J. E., Kuo, M., & Lee, H. (2000). College binge drinking in the 1990s: A continuing problem: Results of the Harvard School of Public Health 1999 college alcohol study. Journal of American College Health, 48(5), 199-210. Leslie Fasone is pursuing her doctorate in health behaviors at Indiana University. Leslie worked with fraternities and sororities professionally for nine years, most recently as the Assistant Director for Greek Life at Indiana University. She is currently working in the Dean of Students Office where she advises the Culture of Care initiative. She also consults with Kappa Alpha Theta women’s fraternity in the development of their Sisters Supporting Sisters mental health program. Leslie obtained her Ed.S. and M.S. in counseling.
The storm ripped off the roof, most of the third floor, and the whole east side of Sigma chapter’s house.
Preparing for Situations You Can’t Prevent by Marsha Grady There are some risks you cannot prevent. Nine minutes. That is all it took for a tornado to roar through Iowa City, damage more than 1,000 homes and dozens of businesses, and leave a sorority in devastation. On April 13, 2006, the Alpha Chi Omega house at The University of Iowa, home to 43 resident and 60 non-resident members, was destroyed by a natural disaster tearing through town at more than 111 miles per hour. On the evening of the storm, 30 women were at home— studying, hanging out and getting ready for a social event. When sirens sounded, most followed “the drill” and headed to the basement—a few had to be prodded by the house director. Two snuck back upstairs to get books from their rooms and were caught in a stairwell during the worst of the winds. For all, it was the most frightening experience of their lives as the house took a direct hit from the storm. The storm ripped off the roof, most of the third floor, and one full side of the house, exposing the rooms as if it were a dollhouse. Leslie Prideaux, then chapter president, was at class when the storm hit and thought a friend was playing a prank on her when she received a call that the house was destroyed. At the time of the tornado, the chapter had no advisor, so I was Leslie’s emergency contact. I was Alpha Chi Omega National Vice President but maintained a close relationship with the chapter. When I received Leslie’s call, I was in the basement at home with my husband and children. Leslie told me the tornado had blown the roof off the house. After 15 years of working with collegiate chapters, I was sure she was exaggerating and that I would find only minor damage, but I knew the women were scared and needed me. With sirens still sounding, I hopped in my minivan and headed to the house. As I drove toward campus and began encountering damage, I realized the devastation was worse than I had thought.
Talk about this at #AFAPerspectives
Sigma Chapter performed fire and tornado drills each semester. You know the drill—go to the lowest level of the building to a room without windows, and hunker under some strong piece of furniture. While that might be the end of the drill, it is not where a real disaster ends. Nothing could have prepared us for the series of events of that horrible evening. After the storm, power was out throughout the area, and members huddled in the dark in the heavily damaged house. As emergency personnel arrived, the women were herded outside into the street due to fear the house was structurally unsound. It was even too dangerous for them to return to grab personal belongings. It was a warm evening, so many of the women were barefoot or wearing only flip-flops as they ran across the street to the neighboring Pi Beta Phi house (the designated gathering place for fire drills), dodging overturned cars and downed limbs and power lines. Within only a few minutes, emergency personnel began evacuating the block—there was a gas leak. Area residents began running down the dark, littered streets toward the police station and city hall, where a temporary shelter had been established. From that point, best-made plans fell through the cracks. As I wound my way toward the house, being rerouted several times, I finally got close enough to see the streams of running college students. I lowered my windows and called out until I encountered a group of Pi Phis who pointed behind them to a group of Alpha Chis. I stopped and loaded 12 of them into my van. We headed to the nearby hospital because one of the members had stepped on a nail. Miraculously, that was the only serious injury of the evening. Other alumnae from the house corporation board arrived at the house following the storm, some walking from their homes. They brought tarps and tools, hoping to patch holes and secure the house until morning only to realize there was
Working with Students in Crisis Management • Everyone’s response to crisis is different, and it’s important to respect everyone’s immediate response. Some people can jump into action right away, while others need someone to sit with them and process what just happened. • There will be situations you will feel inadequate to handle— that is okay—ask for help. There is always help and advice. You just have to know that you are not alone. • Cover crisis management in leadership training. This helps participants learn to prioritize their actions and answers questions they may never know to ask.
• Grief and stress affect everyone differently. Some have a difficult time dealing with what happened in the immediate aftermath while it can take a few weeks to really affect others. The stress of crises can cause several different responses that are not uniform and may not make sense. • Fraternity/sorority advisors should talk about crisis situations and have resources available with online access. This helps so much when in the middle of a crisis. • No one is able to create a crisis plan in the middle of a crisis.
from a question and answer with Leslie Prideaux, Assistant Director of Alumni Programs at the University of Iowa; 2006 Alpha Chi Omega President, Sigma Chapter
nothing they could do except help remaining residents camp out in the driveway overnight to discourage looters. Throughout the evening, we frantically tried to track down members, ensure they were safe, and direct them to the student union, where a temporary shelter had been established by the Red Cross. With cell towers overloaded, we could not reach each member and could only hope everyone was okay. Thankfully, many of them were able to find shelter with friends.
have never known anything other than the beautiful new home built to replace the destroyed historical home. The night of the tornado has become a “legend.” I am sure none of us think it could happen to us again.
Only in the light of the following day did we realize the true extent of the damage to the house and how lucky we were no one had been seriously injured or killed.
Many of the choices and decisions we made during that crisis were ones for which we had not trained. We were helped by numerous support resources, including alumnae, parents, university administrators, local emergency personnel, neighbors, and later the national organization and insurance provider. Yet, we also depended on members and alumnae being able to quickly evaluate the situation, make the smartest choices they could at the time to keep themselves and each other safe, and to move forward in the aftermath.
Our preparations had made a difference. By going to the basement and huddling under furniture, our women had survived. However, planning had not prepared us for what happens when plans are interrupted, when multiple situations combine for chaos, or what happens when the crisis results in long-term consequences.
In the aftermath, local alumnae and house corporation members had to find short-term housing for the women for the final five weeks of the semester and the following academic year. We had to work with insurance adjusters, inspectors and local contractors to secure and then demolish the house and prepare to build a new one.
We had prepared for a tornado but not for what happens AFTER a tornado. How do we communicate and coordinate response efforts following the disaster? How do we find all sisters? How do we assess damage? Where do we go for shelter, and where do we go if that temporary shelter becomes uninhabitable? How do we function when the disaster is more than a temporary situation?
Some residents were able to later retrieve and salvage their belongings, but many lost everything. Residents adjusted to a new living situation, while continuing classes and preparing for finals. All of us had to deal with emotional trauma. The women of Sigma Chapter were supported by the fraternity/ sorority and university communities, and they took care of each other.
This was a crisis that impacted collegiate members, their parents, and alumnae nearby and around the country. It impacted members’ living situations, but also their academic stability, ability to operate as a chapter, and emotional health.
For those involved with the chapter at the time, the tornado was life-changing. For chapter President Leslie Prideaux, it led her to a career in student development at The University of Iowa. “I realized from that point on, I wanted to help students to develop into leaders so that when things like this happen, they can be prepared to help and support,” she said.
The tornado that destroyed Sigma Chapter’s home provided lessons for all of Alpha Chi Omega. From the national level, we reviewed and adjusted model crisis management plans for collegiate chapters and local house corporations to account for issues Sigma Chapter encountered. For a time, we were all more vigilant and more prepared. Over time, the memories of the disaster have faded. Today’s collegiate members of Sigma Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega
Marsha Grady is a Past National Vice President and Past National President of Alpha Chi Omega. She currently works as a Development Officer for the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation. She is a 21-year resident of Iowa City and again is serving as a Chapter Advisor for Sigma Chapter. She still hates tornado sirens.
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From Pavlov to P
The Development (and Disappearance) of T
nce) of Tolerance and Implications for the Fraternity/Sorority Community By Jason R. Kilmer, Ph.D. and Angela J. Mittman, M.A.
Tolerance to a substance means it takes more of that substance to feel the expected effects. A person who used to get a buzz from alcohol after two drinks might now find it takes four. A person who used to get “sloppy” after five drinks might not see this happen until seven. Students might see the ability to “hold their liquor” as a good thing or even a sign of status. Scientists, however, have increasingly shed light on the surprising finding that tolerance could primarily be triggered by drinking around the same set of cues (e.g., the same friends, the same chapter house basement, the same drink, etc.). Furthermore, drinking away from these cues (e.g., going to new bars on a 21 run, a spring break trip, or even a formal event, etc.) could lead to the “failure of tolerance” (Siegel, 2001, p. 512). The results, sadly and scarily, could be disastrous. One misconception surrounding tolerance is that somehow the person gets “less drunk.” Instead, the alcohol the person consumed will still be absorbed and result in the same blood alcohol content (BAC). Two people of the same size and sex, one with tolerance and one without, will reach similar BACs if they drink the same amount of alcohol over the same amount of time, even if one individual is showing the effects much more than the other. Despite students perceiving tolerance as a “good” thing, the person without tolerance in this scenario is actually at an advantage. The physical signs telling him or her (and the people around) how much he or she has had to drink are evident. This person might decide to call it a night and knows not to drive. These signs are masked for the person with tolerance, meaning he or she might continue drinking, have a false sense of security, or feel like he or she could get behind the wheel.
There are other concerns the person with tolerance might face. From an addiction standpoint, tolerance is one of the seven criteria related to a diagnosis of alcohol dependence, and about eight percent of full-time college students meet criteria for dependence (Wu, et al., 2007). Further, students will often point out the student with tolerance needs to drink more to feel a desired effect, meaning a higher blood alcohol level is being reached. If this tolerance were to suddenly disappear, the full blown impact of that higher BAC could surface (Siegel and Ramos, 2002; Seigel 2011). Siegel and Ramos (2002) wrote an important paper considering the role of Pavlovian (or classical) conditioning in the development of tolerance. Recall that Pavlov taught us that a completely unrelated signal (like a bell) could elicit a response (like salivation) when paired with the presentation of a cue linked to an unconditioned stimulus and response (like food and salivation). Put food in front of a dog and it salivates. Pair the presentation of food with the ringing of a bell and, in time, ringing the bell with no food present will elicit salivation as a conditioned response. Consider then a typical Friday night. If a student drinks in the same room with the same group of friends every Friday, that room and those friends are no different than the bell to Pavlov’s dog. They are cues associated with the presentation of a substance to the body. Why does that matter? Our body maintains homeostasis, or a set point, and the opponent-process theory suggests when the body is pushed in one direction, it pushes back in the opposite direction. Consider then, the implications for drinking. Alcohol as a depressant slows down the central nervous
system. After repeatedly drinking around the same set of cues, those cues signal to the body that alcohol is coming and the body is about to be slowed down. What does the body do? It tries to compensate by speeding up those central nervous system functions normally slowed by alcohol. The body makes an anticipatory response in the direction opposite of alcohol’s actions, which is what researchers call a conditioned compensatory response. So, if students make the choice to drink and drink around the same set of cues, in time those cues will elicit a conditioned compensatory response. In all likelihood, being in When students drink the a new environment or same amount of alcohol as new setting poses a much they typically do, they will not feel it in the same way, greater risk to a student so they drink more until with tolerance, because the the effects are felt. To the new environment represents students and any outside they can now a new set of cues. observers, “hold their liquor.” Unfortunately, this suggests that for those who have developed tolerance, a shift away from familiar cues will mean tolerance will fail to follow them to any new set of cues. The same amount of alcohol they have previously tolerated will now hit them much harder and even increase the likelihood of an overdose or alcohol poisoning. One of the simplest ways to get a sense of whether or not cues have changed is by considering environment. In all likelihood, being in a new environment or new setting poses a much greater risk to a student with tolerance, because the new environment represents a new set of cues.
In the fraternity/sorority community, consider what this means for: New members The chapter, new city and new school are a brand new environment for these students. If they come to campus already having tolerance, there is every reason to be concerned about the impact of their first few drinking experiences. Events in which cues change dramatically or a party outside familiar confines Risks abound at a formal or dance in which people dress up (new cues), leave the house for a hotel (another set of new cues), and might be around a group of guests not part of their regular cohort (yet again, new cues).
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Parties at chapter houses From a liability and risk prevention standpoint, tolerance failure highlights reason for concern when parties are hosted at a chapter house and people unfamiliar with the facility attend. The tolerance these attendees have will fail to follow them to the new setting, meaning drinking the same amount would result in much greater impairment. 21st birthdays and road trips Certainly environment changes come in to play when a person goes to a bar for the first time on their 21st birthday; additionally, he or she is likely consuming beverages unfamiliar to him or her. Trips taken during spring break or summer also put students in a completely new environment with new cues. New or unfamiliar drinks Siegel (2011) reported that even taste can be a cue. Students with tolerance who drink a familiar tasting drink in which the taste and appearance signal alcohol is on the way have greater tolerance than they do to a new drink of the same potency. A drink they have never had before will hit them “harder.” The important thing to know is that it does not seem someone can “beat” this phenomenon. If people always drink in a different environment, then the people they are with or the type of alcohol might be the most salient cue. If people always drink in a different environment and always drink a different beverage, then time of the night might be the most salient cue. What is clear, however, is a student who goes to a new environment is likely facing significant risk. As fraternity and sorority professionals, you might feel this is important information to pass on to new members and to chapters prior to high-risk times of year (welcome week, road trips for football games, spring break, Halloween, formals, etc.). Consider working with offices on campus that provide alcohol prevention programs and outreach so students are aware and can be introduced to evidence-based strategies to minimize these risks. As a field, continued research is needed to determine best practices around how to incorporate information related to tolerance into effective prevention and intervention programs. For years, we have encouraged students to know what they bring to the table based on their size, sex and drinking experience. It seems clear, however, they need to be aware of what the table brings to them. As they look out for their brothers and sisters, recognizing what risks are posed by new environments will hopefully translate
to seeking help when someone seems to be affected more than normal. As they look out for themselves, recognizing what risks are posed by new environments will hopefully translate to approaching those settings in ways that will reduce harms and unwanted effects.
REFERENCES McCusker, C.G., & Brown, K. (1990). Alcohol-predictive cues enhance tolerance to and precipitate ‘craving’ for alcohol in social drinkers. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 51, 494-499. Siegel, S., & Ramos, B. M. C. (2002). Applying laboratory research: Drug anticipation and the treatment of drug addiction. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 10, 162-183. Siegel, S. (2011). The Four-Loko effect. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 357-362. Siegel, S. (2001). Pavlovian conditioning and drug overdose: When tolerance fails. Addiction Research & Theory, 9, 503-513. Wu, L, Pilowsky, D.J., Schlenger, W.E., & Hasin, D. (2007). Alcohol use disorders and the use of treatment services among college-age young adults. Psychiatric Services, 58, 192-200.
While the best way to avoid all unwanted effects of alcohol is to choose to abstain, and while it is illegal for students under 21 years of age to consume alcohol, the following are strategies students could use if they make the choice to drink. • Be aware of risks posed by a new bar or party setting. Students will be exposed to different social, visual and auditory cues as well as unique sights, smells and tastes of unusual drinks they might consume. This will leave them unprepared for the effects of alcohol consumed. If a student always drinks “X” number of drinks, educate students to consider cutting that number in half when drinking in a new environment. • If a chapter event is being held at a location new to many members and/or their guests, educate the chapter about tolerance concerns in advance and increase strategies to assist with safe event monitoring • Even at lower BACs, there are problems with reaction time and judgment, so driving after drinking even small amounts can be dangerous. These effects will be amplified if students drink in a new environment. • Avoid trying to “keep up” with or “out drink” others, particularly when someone else has the “home field advantage,” meaning that student is around familiar cues when the other student is not. • When on a trip, students should carry the address of where they are staying and have a plan for how to get back. They should find out if the location has an emergency number (like 911 for the U.S.; emergency numbers vary by country). They should also know the drinking laws of their travel destination.
Dr. Jason Kilmer received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington in 1997, and currently works at UW in both a research capacity and a student affairs capacity. He is a Research Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, serving as an investigator on studies evaluating prevention and intervention efforts for alcohol and drug use by college students. He is also the Assistant Director of Health and Wellness for Alcohol and Other Drug Education in the Division of Student Life, working with areas across campus including fraternity/sorority life. Angela Mittmann is a research coordinator at the Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors at the University of Washington. She received her MA in psychology from the University of California Los Angeles and her BA from the University of Washington. She has worked on NIH-funded psychology research studies since 1997.
What is the best advice a fraternity/sorority professional can receive regarding the law and legal matters?
campus student conduct office. Three weeks later a new member of the chapter is hospitalized as a result of hazing.
When in doubt, ask for advice from university or corporate counsel—the attorney who works with your campus or organization.
You are at a conference with council officers, many of whom are under the age of 21. You lead the undergraduates to a restaurant near the hotel for dinner. Several students ask if they may order an alcoholic drink with dinner. Those students assure you, “We are all legal age.” You allow them to order drinks. You pay using your university credit card. Later that night, you are notified that one of the students who drank during dinner became intoxicated and subsequently became involved in a fight and was injured, fell down an escalator in the hotel, and/or has been arrested for sexual assault. You also learn he was 20 years old.
Think. Do not be rushed into a decision by aggressive undergraduates or alumni. Take your time, especially with proposals or situations that cause you to go, “Hmmm...” We consistently encourage members to be values-based. That applies to us as well. The situations provided (below) have two consistent themes—the professional did not use a “values” lens to look at the situation or little thought was given to the “what if?” factor.
What actions might generate litigation—a civil lawsuit—against my institution or me? What about criminal behavior that might result in prosecution? Most—not all—lawsuits against institutions are premised on the tort of negligence. In essence, the defendant did not do what he or she was supposed to do or did not follow protocol, policy, or meet the standard of care expected. Keep in mind the term, “fact sensitive” is important here and the plaintiff must establish a duty existed and that the defendant(s) breached that duty. Behavior leading to conviction of a crime requires guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That is a much higher standard than the civil standard of “preponderance of the evidence.” To be charged criminally usually requires action by a person beyond mere presence—bystander behavior, for example, does not usually result in a criminal charge.
Can you provide some examples of situations that might place a campus professional in a legally awkward position or situation? Several examples come to mind. These might remind you of situations you or others have experienced. Hopefully not. You are the fraternity/sorority advisor. You learn that members of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) president’s chapter have been hazing new members. You like the IFC president and respect his commitment to values. When you ask him about the hazing, he begs for an opportunity to “turn [his] chapter around.” Because of your respect for him you do not report the hazing to the national organization or the
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One of your students comes to you and asks for a confidential meeting. You agree. The student first says, “You must promise you will not reveal anything of what I am about to tell you to anyone else.” You agree. She then tells you that a member of her chapter is selling drugs and she is very concerned; but that if you say anything the chapter will know who told you about the situation and members will retaliate. You notify the campus police. Within 24 hours the student who met with you has withdrawn from classes and uses social media to accuse you of placing her in a “dangerous situation.” You are attracted to an undergraduate council officer with whom you have regular contact. You become romantically involved. The chapter of that member becomes the subject of a police investigation for the sale of controlled substances by several members, hazing, and/or providing alcohol to minors at large social events. The undergraduate asks you to provide “insider” information about the investigation or the names of members sharing information with the authorities. The Greek Week chairs want to amp things up this year with an “all-Greek” event after the conclusion of Greek Games on Friday night. Alcohol would be provided by a third-party vendor who would sell beer, wine and mixed drinks. The chairpersons provide you with a long list of precautions and safety requirements including the use of fencing to provide a controlled area, several security officers and a promise that no more than 500 people will be allowed access to the event at any one time. The event is to begin at 10:30 p.m. and conclude by 12:30 a.m. You sign off on the event but choose not to attend. At midnight your phone vibrates and you answer the call. You learn campus police were called to the event at 11:17 p.m. because of noise and crowd control issues. The fencing was knocked down by people who could
not gain admittance with over an estimated 700 people in the fenced area. The police were forced to call for backup from neighboring communities and K-9 units were involved in quelling the disturbance. A number of people—some undergraduates and some unaffiliated with the university— were transported to local hospitals for injuries ranging from broken bones to the effects of tear gas and a dog bite.
What is a deposition? What can I expect? A dep, as these are often called by attorneys, is usually the second stage of discovery in a civil suit. When a civil suit is filed by an attorney the lawsuit is normally outlined in a series of pleadings. These are allegations written in a formal manner. The pleadings are not evidence in and of themselves—these represent the theory of the case by the plaintiff and demand or ask for monetary compensation for damages. Then, the discovery process begins. The first stage is responding to interrogatories. Interrogatories are series of written questions answered prior to deposition. A deposition may be requested by the plaintiff (or defendant) in a civil case for a number of reasons. The plaintiff may be seeking specific information regarding, for example, your range of authority in situations, your interpretation of a policy or procedure, or your specific actions and why you took those actions. You may have spoken with individuals, especially collegians, after an incident and the plaintiff may want to know more about those conversations. A plaintiff, by and through his/her attorney, may also seek to “lock your testimony down” or to preserve the record—to pin down specific details at this point in time so you cannot resort to suffering from an onset of temporary amnesia at trial. Depositions are used to expand upon written statements or police reports. If you attempt to change your testimony at trial in comparison with previous statements, your testimony at the deposition can be used to impeach your testimony at trial. Finally, the plaintiff may ask a number of seemingly irrelevant questions—the so-called, fishing expedition— perhaps in hope of finding something that upon further review will prove to be of value to the plaintiff.
Six Tips to Survive a Deposition • Listen carefully to your attorney and follow his or her instructions and directions. • Answer questions as briefly and concisely as possible. “Yes,” “No,” and “I cannot recall” are good responses. • Pause before answering questions. Your attorney may wish to object to the question. No judge is present. Your attorney is preserving the record for the future if the case goes to trial. You may still be required to answer the question. Try not to be in a hurry. • Do not try to outthink the attorneys. Take your time, limit your answer (see the second tip), and do not “overanswer” a question. Some witnesses try to “help” an attorney by explaining what a term means. You might feel like you need to explain “Greek speak” terminology, but if no one asks, do not. • Pace yourself and stay alert. Smart attorneys will sometimes ask a series of superficial or unimportant questions and then, just when think, “This ain’t so bad,” they will ask two or three very difficult questions. The strategy is simple—you lose your focus and concentration when simple questions are asked and you gradually become bored, weary or just distracted. You can take breaks ... you can stop and take a sip of water. You can ask to be excused for a moment. Your attorney can do the same. Stay focused. • Do not discuss the case or your deposition with anyone at any time in a public place, especially in the restroom of the office where the deposition is taking place. It is natural for you to want to talk about your experience. You can do that with your attorney at another place where you have privacy.
A deposition is usually held in a place chosen by the requesting party, often the office of the plaintiff’s attorney. You are present and your attorney will be with you. A court reporter or videographer will also be present. You will be sworn in, which means you will take an oath to tell the truth.
When advising students or chapters about harm reduction, legal questions often come to mind. This might be uncharted territory for student affairs practitioners, so we sat down with attorney and long-time AFA member David Westol to learn more about legal issues we might encounter.
David Westol is a former assistant prosecuting attorney who tried over 55 felony cases before juries in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. He served as chief executive officer of his fraternity for 18 years and was deposed on a number of occasions. He is licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and now serves as Principal and Owner of Limberlost Consulting, Inc. in Carmel, Indiana. He consults with more than 20 national men’s and women’s fraternities and sororities.
Is Alcohol the Only Problem? By Noah Borton and Holly Grunn
An incident just occurred with a sorority chapter. There was alcohol at an unregistered event with underage drinking. The chapter provided alcohol, and several members were out of control. This is not the first incident of this type with this chapter.
In this article, we explore a confrontation between an advisor and a chapter president. The advisor seeks to empower the student to create behavioral and organizational change. Through this point/ counterpoint, let us get into the heads of both parties to see what approach can potentially make the biggest impact, looking at the issue and conversation from two perspectives. The chapter is facing allegations of an incident involving alcohol at an event. This is not the first time this organization or its members have been on the radar for concerning behaviors related to alcohol.
Confrontations and interventions around high-risk behaviors are commonplace in standard interactions between a fraternity/ sorority professional and a student. Whether proactive or reactive, professionals at the campus or organizational level spend time advising students to reduce harm, prevent risk, manage incident response and prompt positive change. However, the correlation between the message the professional communicates and the message the student receives can vary. When this happens, the outcomes for both parties can differ substantially from what they each anticipated.
I know we screwed up and I feel caught in the middle between my chapter and my Greek advisor.
Why does the chapter not understand these actions are a problem? I have to talk to them.
My members are upset because they do not see why the incident is even an issue. They are expecting me to stand up for them, but I do not feel right doing that. I understand my advisor’s concerns and feel like I have let him down.
When I meet with the president, I need to address what is going on here. I want the student to view me as a resource, but I need to make sure there is accountability in this community.
How do I protect my chapter from getting in trouble while maintaining my integrity and credibility as a leader in the eyes of my advisor? Regardless of the outcome, someone will be upset with me.
I am upset. This is not personal, but I expect better from students and organizations. I am under a lot of pressure from the Vice President of Student Affairs to keep behaviors under control. The students need to understand this type of behavior is not acceptable.
Well, the event was not technically a sorority-sponsored function. So, I do not see why we are getting in so much trouble.
It is time for the “values talk.” I can do this one. Dial up the values talk.
I do understand we were not necessarily living our values during the incident and I regret what happened. It is just really difficult when my chapter members do not get it—to them, the party was a harmless tradition.
“Is this living up to your values?” If that does not work I will drop the founders bomb; “Would they be proud of your actions today?”
My chapter has good intentions and members are working to better align with our values. We will get better.
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point | counterpoint
Another Incident Occurs
This is not ok. I am getting really concerned about student safety. I need to get this president in here now! The chapter does not get it. The fraternity/sorority standards board will need to deal with this. I’ll also ask the Panhellenic president to have the “policy talk” with the chapter. There just needs to be some accountability. They need to review the risk management policy as a chapter. Maybe an alcohol-related speaker would help get the message across.
Does this president get it? She says good stuff in our presidents’ meetings, but now this is all happening. Is she saying what she thinks I want to hear? She needs to get her members under control. It is time to draw a hard line. I do not need to hear more excuses. She keeps throwing good things the chapter is doing back at me. That does not make up for violating the values of her organization and the standards and policies of this community. Does she even want to see change in her chapter? Some of the same names keep popping up in reports. This chapter has some bad members that need to go. I think it might be time for a membership review. If we could just clean out the bad members then we might be able to get somewhere with this chapter.
Okay, the Greek advisor is not hearing me. I need to stand up for my chapter because we are not a bad organization and he needs to know that.
I am willing to accept responsibility for our actions, but I do not think we should get punished by being placed on probation. We did not kill anyone. We are not as bad at the sororities at State University or even the chapter next door. Again, we are a good group of women who has the most successful philanthropy on campus. Plus, this is college. Underage drinking and partying are the norm. It is unrealistic to think we can stop it. I am underage myself. Am I not allowed to blow off some steam and have fun every once and a while without being accused of “not living my values?” I am planning some alcohol programs. I have accepted responsibility. What more can I do at this point? Why is my advisor not recognizing all that I am trying to accomplish? I am doing my best to do what everyone wants of me, and my leadership is continuously being questioned by him and by my sisters. I understand our experience should not revolve around alcohol, and honestly, I do not think it does. We focus on our philanthropic causes, we have workshops about ritual, we are involved on campus—things have gotten so much better since when I joined.
Our members are not “bad people.” We not going to give up on them because I think the sorority has the potential to help. They are my sisters.
I have been having conversations with my members about making values-based decisions and some seem to be getting it while others just do not. It is frustrating to keep confronting the same individuals without seeing any change in behavior. I feel helpless.
I have pushed on this president pretty hard, and she is still hanging in there and willing to work with me. I think if I am willing to trust her she will believe I am here to help. Maybe it is time for a little motivational interviewing here. “What is it your chapter wants? What are your members trying to accomplish through their behavior? Why are they consuming alcohol in this risky way?”
The chapter seems to be staying within the rules but some members are still very problematic. Maybe we need a new approach. I need to find out what the leader really wants to see happen as chapter president.
I have grown so much from my sorority experience and just want the same for my chapter members. I think my sisters really want to get the most out of their experience, they just need to realize they can do so without drinking so much. It seems like we are constantly being asked to change the way we do things. It is hard for certain members to see that without them feeling like their whole experience thus far has been “wrong.”
I cannot have all of this on my shoulders anymore. Maybe my advisor can help me. The president showed up in my office today. She was genuinely upset. I can tell she has been trying, but she says she has no idea how to work with the problematic women. What is strange is she says some of these same members are still great members in their own way. She seems frustrated and lost. I think it is time to get some more people involved in this situation. Perhaps I need to connect with the Health and Wellness Center. She needs some coaching to get these women connected with professional help. These incidents are beyond simple partying. They are compensating for something else, they need help, and the president is saying she wants to help them. I need to start to rethink where I am coming from on this. This might be more complicated than dialing up a values talk and regurgitating policies. We need to start talking about why these behaviors are really happening.
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When I break it down, it seems like the same negative behaviors are coming from the same members. I have noticed the members who are binge drinking, doing poorly in school, or not showing up to sorority events seem to have other issues going on—they are depressed, have anxiety, or are dealing with some other tough stuff. Maybe this is why we have been seeing these negative behaviors. If that is the case, I have no idea how to even address the issues these members are facing. They are my sisters, my closest friends—they need something more than just “being held accountable” because that obviously is not changing their behavior. I am worried about their well-being. It would not be right to just kick them out when they are obviously struggling.
I have been asking the president to clarify what she is trying to accomplish. Perhaps it is time I ask myself the same question. While accountability is important, how can I balance it with student needs, development and coaching leaders through difficult situations? Quick response is my nature when an incident happens, but there can be many layers to a problem that take a deep look to find and address. I wonder of some quick responses may actually inhibit my ability to address the core problem. I have come to realize my jump to punitive action is frequently egocentric. It makes me feel better, it makes me feel like I have done something. However, this shouldn’t be about me, this should be about shifting the approach to center around the needs of the student. Only at that point can I take action to address the causes of the problem rather than punishing the symptoms.
When underage drinking and partying is a social norm of the college experience, it is difficult for students and professionals to sift through the incidents that occur and discover deeper issues behind them. As demonstrated, fraternity/sorority professionals often rally around immediate accountability for incidents involving alcohol, while students are stuck in a battle between challenging the social culture, managing friendships and maintaining a positive experience. At times, fraternity/sorority professionals expect student leaders to shift an entire culture without equipping them with the skills on how to recognize deeper issues and respond. Although having conversations about values congruence and providing “educational sanctions” are necessary and warranted approaches, alone they might not solve the root of the issues with a chapter that continually has alcohol or health-related issues. Thus, professionals must first attempt to understand the root factors of why the behaviors are occurring by asking questions, assessing needs, noting themes and continually following up. These problems are often intertwined with mental health, sexual assault and other wellness concerns. University services staff in counseling, health, wellness and residence life often have greater expertise in this area. Fraternity/sorority professionals will be more successful in understanding and combating the landscape of highrisk behaviors when they engage these partners both proactively and
point | counterpoint Ultimately, I think my advisor and I are trying to accomplish the same thing: for my members to have a fun, safe, values-based sorority experience. This is much easier said than done.
On top of combatting the “norms” of college that revolve around binge drinking and the “YOLO” mantra, I have realized there are deeper issues my members are experiencing that may be causing them to rely on alcohol, skip classes, etc. And when my initial reaction is to call them to standards board or place them on probation, I wonder if that really is solving the root of the issue(s)?
As a college student myself, I need some direction and guidance on how to recognize these deeper issues that are facing some of my members and more importantly, address them.
reactively when working with chapters. This is important for campus and headquarters professionals to understand. These partnerships not only allow professionals the opportunity to make sense of what they are observing, but also to seek advice and connect students to those resources. While it is not quick and often not easy, this approach will not only allow the professional a deeper understanding of what is happening, but will create a reflective experience for the student involved to uncover and impact other factors influencing behavior.
Noah Borton is the Senior Director of Educational Programs for Delta Upsilon Fraternity. He has worked in fraternity and sorority life for over 12 years as a campus fraternity and sorority advisor, fraternity headquarters staff member and regional volunteer. Holly Grunn is the Coordinator for Fraternity & Sorority Life at Bowling Green State University. She recently graduated from the BGSU College Student Personnel master’s program after earning her bachelor’s degree at Eastern Michigan University.
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IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION Behaviors that negatively impact the influence of FRATERNITY include hazing, making bad decisions, abusing alcohol, buying/selling/using drugs, bullying, being an asshole, cheating, lying, prioritizing stepping and strolling over all other experiences, drinking from a funnel, taking wood/strokes, locking up, inserting items filled with alcohol into bodily orifices other than the mouth (and sometimes the mouth), having no clue about the purpose of fraternity, using “frat” as a noun (or in some cases as a verb), forcing brothers/sisters to “earn” their membership, treating involvement as a competition, thinking philanthropic involvement is a “get out of jail free card,” existing to party, dressing up like people of a different ethnicity, or complaining about negative media image when actual behavior has been reported. Specifically for men: Men considering FRATERNITY should be cautioned that the misuse of FRATERNITY can lead to increased fighting, shortness of breath, bowing up, using inanimate objects to define you such as dog chains or canes, having a small man complex, creating a false sense of manhood through how much physical abuse you can take, treating women like hos, using ‘roids, thinking pledges owe you, “fratting hard,” gaining weight, spelling words incorrectly to include your fraternity letters, holding philanthropic contests geared to demean women or get them to compete against each other, gang-associated behavior, getting initiated through physical violence, hospital visits, criminal charges, the excessive use of pornography, and using demeaning images of women to attract people to social events. Only your doctor can tell if your symptoms are from an enlarged prostate and or a more serious condition, the misuse of fraternity. FRATERNITY does not protect a man or his partner from sexually transmitted diseases. Discuss your medical conditions and medications, including alpha-male blockers, with your doctor to ensure FRATERNITY is right for you. Specifically for women: Women considering FRATERNITY should be cautioned that the misuse of FRATERNITY can lead to losing hours of your life implementing step shows or recruitment skits, being forced to wear make-up, anorexia, bulimia, creating a useless rap video about your sorority, mental anxiety, breakdown caused by emotional stress, designing matching outfits for intake/recruitment/interest meeting, letting men dictate your self confidence or status, being a mean girl, feeling the need to purchase everything with anything to do with your sorority on it, talking trash, going to “pimps and hos” or “pretty nasty” social events, decreased sense of self-worth, or reoccurrence of past trauma. Sexual side effects and swelling or tenderness of the breast, occur infrequently. FRATERNITY has not been shown to prevent being fake, catty, stuck up, bossy, materialistic, bitchy, engaging in back stabbing, the desire for spray tanning, and in most cases drama. If you have had past alcohol or substance abuse problems, struggle to manage your emotions or anger, or lack decision-making skills, please tell your doctor before you start taking FRATERNITY. Individuals taking FRATERNITY should avoid stopping therapy abruptly. Consult a physician if you have a history of liver, kidney, heart problems, or have an obsessive-compulsive need to take pictures and post them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and the World Wide Web. POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF FRATERNITY If used other than prescribed, FRATERNITY can cause serious side effects, including illness, injury, anxiety, alcohol poisoning, sexual assault, fighting, laziness, lethargy, drama, bullying, trouble, restlessness, depression, forced and petty historical competitions between organizations, loss of individual identity, forced memorization of useless information, shaving your head, being required to sleep with other new members in very tight quarters, being required to “sleep with” members of other organizations, reciting information back at an excessively high rate, being paddled, and jail time. It can lead to the excessive stupid use of YOLO, epic, gay, big time, “it’s tradition,” bitch, betch, rage, “sorry, I’m not sorry,” swag and baller. The most common side effects of FRATERNITY are generally mild or moderate and may include lower back, muscle, stomach or joint pain; constipation; extreme guilt; bruised ego; rash; anxiety; sarcasm; cockiness; emotional episodes; irrational thinking; an overblown sense of self worth; a false sense of accomplishment; and in some cases bromance. These can occur without warning. Other risks may include liver problems, nausea, blurred vision, projectile vomiting, physical pain, reduced sleep, diarrhea, sexual assault, inability to sit, and in rare cases, death. When combined with hazing, side effects could lead to being t-bagged, elephant walked, having fat circled, donkey punches, wedgies, eating disorders, or doing random things with bricks.
Women who are or could become pregnant should avoid FRATERNITY due to the potential risk of future birth defects in their children’s logic and intelligence. Stop taking FRATERNITY with alcohol and tell your doctor if you experience difficult or painful swallowing, chest pain, or severe or continuing heartburn, as these may be signs of serious decision-making problems. Do not donate blood until at least six months after stopping FRATERNITY if you experience said side effects. When not taken properly, FRATERNITY has the ability to lower your GPA, individuality, self-respect, sense of purpose, self-esteem, and sometimes delayed onset of lack of confidence and constant procrastination. FRATERNITY may also have negative side effects that prevent the use of leadership, responsibility, and sound judgment and may include but are not limited to the lack of involvement in student government, residence life, college councils, professional organizations and societies, cultural groups, and honorary clubs. Follow dosage instructions carefully to lower the chance of these events occurring. It’s not certain that FRATERNITY is relevant. Certain tests to check for values congruence may be required. FRATERNITY is not for the treatment of groupthink or for individuals with acute traits of aching to belong, particularly when combined with obscene amounts of alcohol or physical stress. If you have a history of blind followerism or forgetting that you took an oath and a pledge to be better than average for life and that you willingly and freely chosen this, FRATERNITY may not be right for you. FRATERNITY should not be taken in conjunction with homophobia, dualism, sexism, racism, ageism, alcoholism, amateurism, anarchism, chauvinism, classism, egotism, and elitism. Such combinations could cause a sudden, unsafe drop in blood pressure. Don’t drink alcohol in excess with FRATERNITY. This combination may increase your heart rate and chances of getting dizzy or lowering your ability to reason. Seek immediate medical attention to avoid long-term injury. If you develop symptoms such as ego, big headedness, jackass tendencies, chauvinism, and predispositions of Neanderthal-like behavior, adjust your dosage of FRATERNITY immediately with the help of your doctor. In certain cases, FRATERNITY may increase your body’s natural allergic reaction to bullshit. In certain cases flatulence, abdominal pain, and bloating may occur. Do not take FRATERNITY with other lie-enhancing drugs (as seen on The Daily Show’s coverage of Lance Armstrong) such as: Fibadrene, Deceptifran, Fradulax, Lybutren, Nonsenselelur (generic of Fradulax), or Douchadrene as these made lead to serious forms of depression. Use FRATERNITY with caution while driving or doing other dangerous activities until you know how FRATERNITY affects you. HOW TO USE FRATERNITY Don’t stop taking FRATERNITY if you’re in it to win it for a lifetime, you are seeking to become a greater woman/man and are willing to put the effort and investment into yourself. FRATERNITY has been shown to empower identity development, improve idealism, entrepreneurial spirit, and service for and toward others. As a precaution, the benefits of FRATERNITY may flare up if you get your organization’s values, seek leadership, hope to implement positive change and want to do good. If you are struggling with FRATERNITY, contact your fraternity/sorority advisor, chapter advisor, inter/national organization staff member, or any sane, logical and trusted friend immediately. Always consult your parents and ask your doctor if FRATERNITY is right for you.
Michael McRee currently works as the Associate Executive Director for the Delta Upsilon Foundation and is cofounder of COMPASS. Michael served as the Vice President for LeaderShape, Inc. for 13 years. In addition, he was the Assistant Executive Director for the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values for 10 years, a fraternity/sorority advisor at University of Oregon, and a consultant for the North-American Interfraternity Conference. Michael graduated from Kansas State University. He received his masters in educational organization and leadership and Ph.D. in human resource education at the University of Illinois.
CONNECT WITH TYSON:
MEMBERSHIIP IS NOT JUST ABOUT SHOWING UP... Membership COMES WITH A COMMITMENT to make your organization better. QUAck!
WISE WORDS FROM A DUCK FOR FOUR YEARS, TYSON WOOTERS WAS THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON DUCK, FIRING UP FANS AND BECOMING AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE SATURDAY STADIUM EXPERIENCE. Today, he is an energetic, funny, engaging speaker who can help students understand their role in their respective communities—whether during orientation, upon joining a fraternity or sorority chapter, new student-athlete success programs or as they prepare to join new communities after graduation. Through Tyson’s rousing keynotes, students come to understand how to take personal ownership of the goals of their chapter or organization. Bring him to your campus today!
(303) 745-5545 • email@example.com www.campuspeak.com/wooters
spotlight University has an EPIC Approach to Prevention The University of Central Missouri is no longer a party school, and the students will be the first to say it. Over the past several years, the institution has seen decreases in high-risk drinking and underage drinking and an increase in positive compliance rates. At UCM, “Prevention is everybody’s job,” said Jenny Rabas, a prevention specialist in the Office of Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention. Prevention has become a part of the infrastructure, messaging, policy, programming, classroom experience and co-curricular involvement. UCM’s method is comprehensive. While the Office of Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention serves as a convener and catalyst for prevention work, students, faculty and staff are involved in a campus-wide approach to promote safe and helping behaviors. The change did not happen overnight. UCM sought to shift gears—to change its party school image and perception. It took forging partnerships and concentration on environment management. UCM’s work starts with research and is informed by prevention theory, bystander intervention theory and the social ecological model. Rabas has been on the ground level of changing and managing the environment, making UCM a safer campus for students— particularly fraternity and sorority members. “What I find is that prevention work, when done right, is really hard,” Rabas said. “But you can’t get discouraged. You might hear about all the bad things happening—the violations, the incidents, the mistakes—but prevention is about being positive and partnering for positive change.” As part of the Encouraging Positive Interventions in Chapters (EPIC) program, Rabas and her colleagues survey fraternity and sorority students by helping chapters collect normative information about drinking and helping behaviors. “Data really drives our work,” said Rabas. “We find out where our problems lie and look at strategies that will address them. You have to move from scheduling speakers or activities to looking at data, seeing the trends, and then thinking about activities, change and other things that will be effective to help some and reduce the problem.” Research has highlighted the disconnect between perception and reality. UCM staff has identified key areas where social norms intersect with bystander behavior and aim to help people learn how to intervene.
Spotlight highlights best practices and work well done. Is there an
“When students found out certain behaviors are not as acceptable to others as they thought and that high-risk drinking isn’t happening as often as they thought, it became much easier to have a deeper conversation about ‘What do I do if I see these things happening?’” Rabas said. Rabas provides training at a chapter-level or community-wide scope about how to successfully intervene in situations, armed with information about real student beliefs and behaviors. “We can create a norm that it is acceptable to help in these situations because the data shows ‘I know that my brother would probably want me to help,’” she said. One of Rabas’ key strategies is “getting the curriculum into the classroom.” Her office provides curriculum in freshmen seminar courses and classes focused on gender, drugs and other substances or those in which they might study bystander intervention, like sociology. They also provide diverse options for students and others to intervene in a situation. “If confrontation is your only option and confrontation is difficult for you, you’re not likely to intervene,” she said. • • • • •
Text Public Safety: Students sought a way to contact the police without having to call. This allows them to text concerns directly to the police. Online Reporting: All student organization advisors can fill out an online form for any Clery reportable violation or concern for a student. Faculty Early Alert System: Faculty can report concerns for a student’s well-being. An official from the Student Success Center follows up on the information. Student CARE Team: UCM has a team of professionals that follows up with students of concern (alcohol, drugs, behavior, suicidal ideation, etc.). Fraternity/Sorority Life Judicial Review Board: After EPIC started, fraternities and sororities decided to do something when groups in the community were not living up to their standards. This board helps provide accountability.
A key goal is training others to engage in and be active in prevention. Rabas and her colleagues are “creating a prevention army of people who are walking the walk and talking the talk.” “Essentially, it’s all about partnering for positive change here at UCM,” she said. “If we can make prevention everyone’s job, then we’ll have a safer and more responsible environment, and environmental management is a huge part of our success.”
initiative working well in your organization? Email Perspectives editor Heather Kirk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors www.afa1976.org P.O. Box 1369 Fort Collins, CO 80522-1369
This program is made possible through a gift from Zeta Tau Alpha
Making Innovation Happen Jeffrey Cufaude, Idea Architects This is not your typical webinar. In the spirit of the “Flipped Classroom” movement, we’re flipping this webinar to prompt additional engagement and thought. Watch the online presentation and then join one of two online discussions on May 23 at 1:30 or 4:30 p.m. EST.