President Eric Barron appointed five members to the new Greek-life Response Team today. These five university officials will be in charge of implementing and measuring the effectiveness of changes to the Greek life system at University Park.
This team is tasked with carrying out each of the safety initiatives announced at the recent special Board of Trustees meeting, a process which will include the creation of a thorough plan to implement each new initiative in an effective manner. The team of prominent university figures will report directly to Eric Barron, giving the president reports on the progress of these recently-approved changes to Greek life.
The June 2 Board of Trustees meeting outlined the immediate changes to Greek life at Penn State, including the university’s new exclusive role in dealing with disciplinary matters – matters that were previously dealt with by the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council.
Thomas Poole, Penn State’s current vice president for administration, will serve as the chair of the response team. Damon Sims (vice president for Student Affairs), Zack Moore (vice president for Government and Community Relations), Keith Morris (University Police chief), and Frank Guadagnino (associate general counsel) make up the rest of the team.
Interestingly enough, no women were appointed positions on this task-force.
“I want to emphasize again, the safety of our community is of essential importance and the University is determined to move swiftly to put these initiatives in place,” President Barron said, regarding the new safety measures that were unanimously agreed upon by the members of the Board. “These are actions that require careful planning, resources and partnership with not only our Greek-letter organizations, but their alumni boards, housing boards, councils and national organizations. And the Greek-life Response Team will be critically focused on increasing student well-being and safety and the impact from these measures.”
Some of the most noteworthy changes to Greek life at Penn State include the recruitment policy for fraternities and sororities. Beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year, Greek chapters will be allowed to only take students who are sophomores or above. In the meantime, students will not be able to rush before the second semester of freshman year.
The Greek community will also still face the social restrictions that were put in place following the death of Beta Theta Pi pledge Tim Piazza. Piazza’s well-documented death has initiated sweeping, though sometimes underwhelming, changes to Greek life at Penn State.