To the UConn Fraternity & Sorority Community,
It is time to lead with our values.
More than a few of our members – across the nation and here at UConn – have engaged in behaviors that go against what we stand for as a community, and threaten to distract from the values-based actions that exemplify the vast majority of our students every day.
For years, the fraternity/sorority community at UConn has focused on four pillars: Scholarship, Service, Leadership, and Brotherhood/Sisterhood. In January, students at our Greek Leadership Retreat developed an additional list of values, with the overarching theme of Family: Respect, Unity, Dedication, Loyalty, and Growth. These are noble principles, but it takes work to actualize these values so they become more than just words on paper.
First, we expect that fraternity/sorority members will not engage in behavior that demeans others.
Second, we expect that you will hold each other accountable, and actively (but safely) intervene instead of being passive bystanders.
Third, we expect that you will seek out, develop, and utilize resources to support each other as a values-driven community. Our office stands ready to support you in these efforts.
UConn is a caring community that supports freedom of speech while also asserting the responsibility that comes along with that speech. Hate speech or actions will not be tolerated, and we have resources for reporting and follow up through the Dean of Students Office (http://dos.uconn.edu/bias-incident-protocol/). Other resources for those who have been negatively impacted by an incident include the Cultural Centers (http://studentunion.uconn.edu/cultural-centers/) and Counseling and Mental Health Services (http://counseling.uconn.edu/).
Last Friday, President Herbst sent an email to the UConn community that included recommendations for “continued education, training, awareness and climate enhancement measures focused not only on the Greek community, but the entire University community …to ensure a learning environment free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation.”
We accept and embrace these recommendations. We will serve as partners as you stand in solidarity against racism, sexism, and homophobia, and work to prevent hazing and sexual assault. Whether it be the hazing prevention consultant we brought in last month, the screening and discussion of Dear White People led by the Greek Community Affairs Board last week, or the peer-facilitated Greeks Against Sexual Assault program, we are committed to collaborating with students and others to improve our community. No single program will serve as a quick fix, yet we can model the change we wish to see if we infuse our values into everything we do.
As we come together to celebrate our community during Greek Week, let’s be ever mindful of how we represent ourselves, to each other and to the larger UConn community.
Respectfully and Interfraternally,
Todd C. Sullivan, Jamel Catoe, Alex Carrier, Monique Golden
The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life Advising Team
University of Connecticut