Section: News

Standards of Excellence revised to punish repeated noncompliance

This year, Student Council’s Student Life Committee is updating its Standards of Excellence to account for higher levels of noncompliance. This is the first year in which a Greek organization has failed to meet Standards of Excellence for three years in a row, and so the committee is updating the Standards document to account for such cases.

Standards of Excellence is a series of guidelines by which Greek organizations at Kenyon can be “evaluated and held accountable,” according to the most recent revision. The standards require that organizations fulfill certain requirements, such as submitting a member roster and signing an anti-hazing statement, and it allows them to select from a list of other recommended practices, such as hosting member-bonding events or group study hours. Groups that go above and beyond in completing these standards are awarded titles such as “Gold level” or “Silver level.” Groups that fail to meet these standards are deemed “non-compliant.”

When it was created in 2012, Standards of Excellence did not specify what would happen if an organization was non-compliant for multiple years. Organizations that were non-compliant for one year would be placed on temporary social probation and would have to create an action plan for meeting Standards of Excellence in the future. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that an organization was noncompliant for two years in a row, forcing Student Life Committee to create new sanctions. Now, the Committee must update their sanctions again.

“To be honest, we didn’t think that we’d get to this point,” Director of Student Engagement Sam Filkins said. “We didn’t think that we’d have groups be non-compliant for this many years. But here we are.”

While four Greek organizations were found to be non-compliant this year, two of them — Delta Phi and Phi Kappa Sigma — had failed their requirements by only one item. Delta Phi had submitted their recruitment schedule late, while Phi Kappa Sigma had missed one Greek Council meeting more than Standards of Excellence permits. Since Student Life Committee allows organizations to waive any one missed item, both organizations have since regained compliance. The third organization, Delta Tau Delta, is in its first year of noncompliance, and will have to create a plan to perform better next year.

However, the fourth organization — Beta Theta Pi (Betas) — have been found non-compliant for their third consecutive year, and have also failed to improve on their level of compliance from previous years. This puts them at “Third year, Level One” noncompliance —  the most severe category under current guidelines.

Under the new sanctions created by the Student Life Committee, the Betas will have to formulate a plan to become compliant with Standards of Excellence, and meet biweekly with Sam Filkins to discuss their progress. In addition, they will not be considered an organization in good standing and will be unable to host social events that involve alcohol. In the future, penalties for third-year noncompliance might include loss of division housing.

Filkins doesn’t believe that the Betas’ noncompliance was intentional, nor does he think that they failed to live up to Standards of Excellence. Instead, he thinks that the issue is mostly clerical.

“They did the work, but they didn’t get the paperwork turned in,” Filkins said. “Everything you have to do for Standards of Excellence, you turn in on a Google form. And they did not submit Google forms for any of our recommended practices.”

While the Betas are the only Greek organization currently in third-year noncompliance, Filkins emphasized that they are not the sole reason Student Life Committee is updating its rules.

“When we had the conversations in Student Life Committee and Greek Council, we talked about it not with the Betas in mind,” Filkins said. “We talked about it in general, as a community: What does third-year noncompliance look like? Because I don’t want to come up with rules that are meant to ding certain groups.”

While the Betas are currently noncompliant with Standards of Excellence, it is quite possible that by the end of the year they will be compliant again. Sam Filkins, as well as the fraternity’s on-campus advisor, will work closely with the group to ensure they carry out their plan to achieve good standing with the Student Life Committee.

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