By Kathryn Ting
Greek Life has been under increasing scrutiny at many universities nationwide, including UAlbany.
In response to an apparent increase in the more destructive behaviors of, the Commission on the Future of Greek Life was formed to determine whether UAlbany has the capacity to address these behaviors associated with fraternities and sororities at the university.
The Commission, which was formed by the Department of Student Affairs in the fall of 2019, is made up of 24 members, which include faculty, staff, students, and representatives from some fraternity and sorority national headquarters.
Emily Feuer, the facilitator for the commission and the Assistant Director for Student Affairs Assessment and Planning, explained the Commission's activity at this point.
“We met eight times in the Fall. Our original plan was to be done with meetings in the Fall, but there was so much information and people wanted to share their stories,” Feuer said.
They also held a student forum in the fall. “The student forum was overwhelmingly in support of fraternities and sororities,” she said. “We had a lot of fraternity and sorority members, but also quite a few representatives from leadership on campus from student associations. Most of them highlighted the great leadership qualities, career opportunities, and that sense of belonging that fraternities and sororities offer.”
However, some students the ASP spoke to did not mince words about the negative aspects of Greek Life at UAlbany.
“It’s a mess,” said junior undergrad Fredrik Wieneke.
Feuer then reiterated some of the pros of having Greek Life on campus.
“There are some pretty serious, destructive behaviors in the community,” Feuer said, “but we are also seeing so many positive contributions of fraternities and sororities that really impact the entire campus.”
“We had two meetings this semester and plan on having one more. Right now we are in the process of writing and reviewing the report. We will have one more meeting to finalize the report,” she said.
The Commission hopes to have this done by the end of March.
Once this preliminary report is completed, the faculty, staff, students, and external stakeholders (the Latino Greek Council, National Asian Panhellenic Council, National Panhellenic Conference, National Pan-Hellenic Council, and North-American Interfraternity Conference) involved will be able to convene with their organizations and give feedback.
When the finalized report is ready, it will be given to the Vice President of Student Affairs Michael Christakis, who will then review and approve it, making it public to the university.
The Commission is unsure when the final report will be published.
Greek organizations are still able to operate as usual during the Commission’s review, except for organizations that lost recognition for specific policy violations.
These “underground” fraternities and sororities are not allowed to recruit new members, and affiliating with them can result in punitive action taken against students by the University.
Students can see a list of these organizations and learn more about Greek Life as a whole by visiting their website https://www.albany.edu/involvement/fslchapters.shtml.
In an effort to be transparent, students can find more information about the Commission and the meeting at https://www.albany.edu/studentaffairs/commission_schedule.shtml.
Students can also reach out to Emily Feuer if they have any questions or concerns at email@example.com.