Though members of the Greek community said they are happy to have the input of a new special adviser on Greek life, they said they expect him to find that fraternities and sororities are already working to improve aspects of the community such as recruiting and self-governance.
Several said they were excited to have an outside perspective from Jordan Whichard, a 1979 UNC graduate who was president of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity as a student.
But some within the community said they expect Whichard to find them already making strides to improve communication with the University and working to improve their leadership — changes spurred by negative perceptions of fraternity life.
“I think the greatest impact he could have is working with administration as well as us to foster a relationship that is more helpful than overbearing,” said Dylan Castellino, president of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. “The IFC needs to be there to help the fraternities and sororities, to show the best way to communicate in a crisis.”
Board of Trustees Chairman Bob Winston asked Whichard to conduct a review of UNC’s relationship with the Greek community, including the policies and procedures by which members of fraternities and sororities govern themselves.
Whichard will gather information on the Greek community and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees at the end of the semester.
“In general, I think he will find that most of what he would recommend, a great deal of it is already being done,” said Winston Crisp, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs.
Several of the members of the Greek system echoed the sentiment, saying they expect to hear that many of their own reforms are working well and should be continued.
For example, some fraternities are increasing their number of leadership positions and philanthropy projects.
But in the insular Greek system, the extensive review could give a dose of perspective, said Shane Capps, co-chairman of the Greek Judicial Board. He said it was good for the system to have someone who had been in a fraternity, especially before dealing with important issues such as recruiting.
“We need to have a very thorough conversation before we change anything,” Capps said. “Talking about things is great, but if we’re not set on the right kind of change, we’re going the wrong way.”
Crisp said there has been an unusual amount of focus on improving the relationship between administrators and the Greek community, creating potential for change.
“You have in a way that is not always the norm, interest from every aspect of Greek life all the way up to the Board of Trustees, and they’re not going to do that to waste time,” Crisp said. “I think those suggestions will be looked at very seriously. Greek members ought to welcome this.”
Some oversight is already provided to the Greek system. Winston heads up a fraternity alumni advising group, which performs continual evaluations, working with fraternity alumni and their faculty advisers. Another group of administrators and Greek community members also periodically reviews chapters that fail to meet safety and behavior standards.
But what is important to many fraternity members is that their unique character remains intact through the review.
“We’re a self-governing body and we really want to hold ourselves accountable,” said recently elected Interfraternity Council President Tucker Piner.
“I’m very proud of our system and I just want to make sure that we make the necessary improvements to make sure that people are safe and that they enjoy their college experience.”
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