The committee created 39 recommendations to improve and enhance the Greek life culture at the university.
After the formation of the Texas Tech University Task Force on Greek Organization Culture last fall, new changes have been implemented to ensure a safe and secure environment for Texas Tech students in the Greek community.
“The task force has worked extensively to ensure our students are kept safe in a positive environment at Texas Tech,” President M. Duane Nellis said. “I appreciate Dr. Muñoz and Dr. Murphy's leadership of the committee this past year and I am confident in their work to implement these changes and updates to the Greek organizations' policies and procedures. Beyond the task force, Texas Tech will continue to oversee the Greek life culture to ensure we are doing our best for our students and their well-being.”
Past incidences with Texas Tech fraternities and sororities called for changes and new policies, which charged Texas Tech Chancellor Robert Duncan and Nellis to form the task force to examine the current Greek environment and create new policies and procedures to reinforce appropriate member behavior and increase accountability among Greek organizations.
The task force is composed of administrators, faculty, staff, students and West Texas community members.
After several meetings throughout the 2014-2015 academic year, the task force presented 39 recommendations to improve Texas Tech's Greek life within six different areas: new member experiences, leadership development, responsible social events, accountability and reporting, stakeholder communications and staffing and resources.
Juan Muñoz, Texas Tech senior vice president, vice provost and task force chairman, said the safety of Texas Tech students was of the greatest importance when reviewing and changing the policies and procedures for all Greek organizations.
“For decades Greek organizations have played a vital role in the development of students and student leaders at Texas Tech,” Muñoz said. “Because the safety and well-being of our students is of paramount importance, these changes improve the climate of the Greek life culture here at Texas Tech and will be the national standard of Greek organizations.”
By the end of the Spring 2015 semester, changes were implemented affecting students as soon as Recruitment Week begins and throughout the rest of their membership of Greek organizations while attending Texas Tech.
Some of the changes include:
- A revised schedule and guidelines for the Interfraternity Council Fall 2015 Recruitment.
- Added mandatory prevention and education curriculum for active and prospective new members at the commencement of formal recruitment.
- Limit the opportunities for unsanctioned fraternity and sorority events by restricting the hours per week and timing for new member activities.
- Implement sanctions, including one-year deferred recruitment, for organizations found responsible for violations of recruitment and new member policies.
- Launch an online reporting website for organization conduct concerns, including defined options for self-reporting and cooperative resolution processes.
- Implement the Risk Intervention and Safety Education (“RISE”) Office for continuous training and expertise.
Along with the changes that have already been implemented, the task force has more changes already in progress.
In order to sustain the long-term oversight of Greek organizations with the adoption of the new changes, the task force will transition into the Greek Life Advisory Council that Dean of Students Amy Murphy and Muñoz, along with other members of the task force, will be a part of.
“The recommendations of the task force provide a foundation for the continued improvement and development of the Greek community at Texas Tech,” Murphy said. “The framework and priorities established within will guide the initiatives of Fraternity and Sorority Life stakeholders, and I believe our related programs and activities have already benefited from this work.
“The Texas Tech Task Force on Greek Organization Culture provides transparency about where areas of risk exist in our community and outlines collaborative opportunities to provide safer and more worthwhile experiences in fraternities and sororities.”
Mark Warren, Texas Tech Task Force committee member, said he is pleased both as a committee member and parent with the actions taken for the safety of Texas Tech students.
Warren's son, Clay, a former Texas Tech student, lost his life in an automobile accident during a fraternity event that could have been prevented. After his death, Mark and wife Freada teamed with the Center for Campus Life to create the Clay R. Warren Risk Management Retreat in an effort to educate students about the results of poor decision making and risk management practices.
“I believe the task force accomplished the goals that were set out by Chancellor Duncan and President Nellis to create a systematic way to prevent accidents and tragedy from happening in the system,” Warren said. “From a parent's perspective, anything that can be done that's proactive in preventing any kind of injury or death in that environment should be welcomed by any parent that has a Texas Tech student.
“I was very pleased with the actions taken by the task force and having the ability to hand over the implementation of the guidelines to the advisory committee for an ongoing action of the university.”
To see further changes made by the Texas Tech Task Force on Greek Organization Culture, visit greeklife.ttu.edu to read the full report.