An open letter to our fraternity & sorority community
September 27, 2017
This letter is intended for the entire community—current and new members, student leaders, chapter advisors, housing corporation members, chapter alumni, national office leadership, and parents of current and new members—because it takes all of us to create and maintain a culture of care and safety.
It is probably safe to assume that the news about Timothy Piazza at Penn State University this past spring and LSU student Maxwell Gruver’s death just two weeks ago conjured a variety of emotions for you. We suspect many experienced sadness and frustration for the senseless loss of lives; many were left disappointed that fraternities and sororities failed all of us again. We also suspect that fear was heightened because it could have been our campus. Our chapter houses and the new Greek Garden are part of the beauty of our award-winning campus landscape—you cannot deny how the majestic columns, letters, and bricks come together to enhance our campus. But you also cannot deny that hazing and high-risk drinking have haunted our organizations and marred the values our organizations claim to uphold. We suspect (and hope) that fear has moved your organizations and our community to a place of action.
Hazing and high-risk drinking have no place on our campus.
We are better and we should want better for our community.
This letter is a reminder to the entire community about the risks that exist. If we want to reduce those risks, all of us must be courageous and intentional in our actions. We beg each member in each organization to re-commit to your values and adhere to organization and campus policies. But more importantly—we need EVERYONE to simply CARE.
Care enough to educate yourself on what is right and wrong.
Care enough to make sure those around you are making safe decisions.
Care enough to remove others from harm’s way.
Care enough about others that you don’t have to demean them.
Care enough to report when someone else is not caring.
Care enough to live the values you committed to in your organization.
The second page of this correspondence outlines steps we have already taken to reduce high-risk drinking and related behavior. Key resources are also outlined for your use—please reach out if you 1.) are motivated to improve a situation, 2.) are/become aware of something that should be addressed, or 3.) suspect something is wrong. Your engagement is critical to the culture, safety, and sustainability of our fraternity and sorority community. It will take our entire community to facilitate the culture of care we need to combat hazing and high-risk drinking.
With respect and CARE,
Vice Chancellor for Student AffairsAVC/Dean of StudentsDir., Fraternal Leadership & Learning
I believe in respect for the dignity of each person. –The University of Mississippi Creed
To report any concerning behavior, please complete the Hazing Report Form
Recent steps taken at UM to further address high-risk behaviors within our community
- Mandatory prospective new member education regarding alcohol/drugs and violence prevention/sexual assault
- Recruitment visits and assessments by National Interfraternity Council representatives, including reviews of new members plans and programming
- Updates to the event registration process to address safety and help curb high-risk behavior
- Launch of the LiveSafe app (free to UM students!)
- Establishment of the Hazing & Violence Prevention Steering Committee (to be completed fall 2017)
Key University Policies
- Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
- UMatter website
- Person of Concern on-line reporting form
- Office of Fraternal Leadership & Learning
- Hazing prevention resources
- Counseling Center
- Family Association
- Office of General Counsel