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October 3, 2018
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly fraternities and sororities are working closely with Student Affairs and others across campus in a continuing effort, begun last spring, to enhance diversity, inclusion and wellbeing education within the university’s Greek Life programs.
Student Affairs, in collaboration with other campus partners, has implemented a series of education and training initiatives within Cal Poly’s Fraternity and Sorority Life community. These initiatives are part of universitywide educational efforts to create a more inclusive and welcoming campus climate.
“Fraternity and Sorority Life members make up a significant part of our Cal Poly community, and I know they can play an integral role in building this positive momentum on our campus,” said Keith Humphrey, vice president for Student Affairs. “These trainings provide an opportunity for our students to step up and be campus leaders on these important issues.”
These and other efforts around improving the climate of Greek Life are among the recommendations from an outside consultant who was asked to audit the university’s Fraternity and Sorority Life programs over the summer, in the wake of several racially insensitive actions tied to campus fraternities last spring.
As part of the university’s ongoing campus climate efforts, Fraternity and Sorority Life chapters will be required to participate in quarterly diversity and inclusion trainings, which will be conducted in collaboration with the Cross Cultural Centers and the assistant vice president for student affairs—diversity and inclusion. Trainings will focus on relevant topics and ideas including cultural inclusivity, micro-aggressions and unconscious bias.
Per the terms of a temporary interim suspension of all Fraternity and Sorority Life organizations last spring, all chapters have successfully submitted chapter-specific diversity and inclusion plans for the 2018-19 academic year. These plans are currently under review by a committee of Cal Poly staff, faculty and advisors to ensure they are implemented and include accountability measures.
Each Fraternity and Sorority Life chapter, along with the InterFraternity Council and Panhellenic, also now has an elected diversity and inclusion officer who will be responsible for implementing and maintaining chapter-specific education plans. Officers will receive additional diversity and inclusion training from the university.
As a result of this progress, the temporary interim suspension of all InterFraternity Council and Panhellenic organizations imposed last spring has been lifted.
In an effort to gauge its ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts and seek ideas for additional programs or approaches, Fraternity and Sorority Life engaged independent consultant Dr. Juan Guardia, assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students for the University of Cincinnati, to conduct a comprehensive external review of Cal Poly’s Greek Life programs. The results of Dr. Guardia’s review are reflected in his executive summary and recommendations, which are now available for public review at https://greeklife.calpoly.edu/reports.
“This report reinforces some of the proactive steps Cal Poly is and will be taking to improve the culture of Fraternity and Sorority Life students,” said Kathleen McMahon, Cal Poly’s associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “At times, an outside perspective is helpful to ensure that we’re on the right track and to give us new ideas to improve our campus community.”
Cal Poly’s Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity (the chapter that hosted a party last spring at which a student was photographed in blackface) remains on probation imposed by its national chapter until April 29, 2019.
While the blackface incident is protected by the First Amendment, Cal Poly placed Lambda Chi Alpha on probation for failing to register a social event and for providing false information to the university about the party.
The chapter remains on university-imposed social probation through June 15, 2019. Under the terms of social probation, the chapter cannot host any social events that include alcohol through the end of the probation term. Social probation does not restrict Lambda Chi Alpha from participating in intramural sports, philanthropic events, or alumni-related events that do not have alcohol present.
Meanwhile, an investigation into the spring’s incidents by the state Attorney General’s office yielded additional information related to the gathering. As part of standard procedure, this information is currently under review by the Dean of Students Office, which will address any individual or organizational violations of student code of conduct. Lambda Chi Alpha has been notified of this additional action and is prohibited from recruiting new members while under the additional review.
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