After 18 months of planning, fraternities and sororities have implemented a judicial system in which members of all three Greek umbrella organizations rule on alleged violations of their own policies. The Greek Peer Judicial Board, which heard its first case a few weeks ago, handles all alleged collective responsibility violations of policies of the three umbrella groups -- the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, and the Black Inter-Greek Council -- where no University code governs the charges. Fraternity and sorority members said they established the board so that the administration will respect the organizations' ability to enforce their own rules. "If we can own the process, we can do it," BIG-C President Kathryn Williams said. "[The GPJB] allows us to set our own standards and that in itself gives us an incentive to live up to those things." And while the University has not yet ratified the charter for the new system, Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson said the GPJB will help create more accountability within the Greek system. Presently, the board hears possible violations of all umbrella organizations' rush guidelines and possible violations of the IFC's recently-implemented "bring your own bottle" alcohol policy. Members of the new judicial system and other fraternity and sorority members said last month they hope the GPJB will gain enough respect from the administration that it will eventually be able to hear minor violations of University policy, such as poster policy violations. "The best thing it's going to do is that it will give some legitimacy to some regulations such as dry rush and BYOB," said Wharton senior Chris McLaughlin, the system's prosecutor. "The eventual goal is to receive more respect from the [Judicial Inquiry Officer.]" But Morrisson said the new system needs to strengthen enforcement of IFC, BIG-C and Panhel policies rather than rule on infractions of University-wide policy. "It would be fair to say the goal would be to take on greater responsibility for those kinds of policies that are adopted by the organizations themselves rather than University-wide policies," Morrisson said. The current GPJB charter breaks the board into two sections -- the judicial board, composed of five students, and the prosecution group, which gathers information about charges and presents the information in hearings. The five board representatives will include one standing representative each from the IFC, the BIG-C and Panhel. Two additional members, who will also hear cases and rule on decisions, will represent the umbrella organization of the chapter facing charges. Chapters being charged are allowed to bring in an adviser. In order for the GPJB to reach a verdict, four out of five members must be in agreement. Before charges come before the board, the prosecutor and the director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs will attempt to setttle the charges, Panhel representative Lisa Spivak said. Prosecutor McLaughlin said that he hopes the GPJB will be more expedient than current University judicial boards. Although the current GPJB charter was approved by all three umbrella organizations nearly a year ago, the board did not heard cases until this semester. Last spring, fraternity and sorority members met with the Office of University Life and University attorneys to receive their suggestions for improvements to the system. The document must first be approved by the General Counsel's Office and then by Morrisson if it is to be a recognized part of the University judicial system -- which would allow the system to hear future cases involving University policy. If the charter is approved by Morrisson, it will be taken back to the three umbrella groups to be re-ratified. Associate General Counsel Steven Poskanzer said this week that the charter is still being revised but should be approved "in the very near future." Poskanzer said there have been changes in the charter consisting mostly of tightening the language of the document. McLaughlin said the changes have made the document much stronger. And VPUL Morrisson said that the revision of the policies has served to create a "clear and workable" document. "The only drawbacks ]in the charter] are procedural," Morrisson said. Morrisson also said that the revisions will help define clearly what cases the GPJB deals with and what cases other University judicial boards, such as the Fraternity and Sorority Advisory Board, handle.Comments powered by Disqus
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