The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday December 10th

Greek Judicial Board lowers burden of proof needed to prosecute violations

The University’s fraternity system considered only one disciplinary case in 2011 — an exceptional drop from the year before, prompting the system’s judiciary board to change the rules.

The Greek Judicial Board, which is responsible for holding the 21 fraternity chapters in the Interfraternity Council accountable to the Greek Alcohol Policy and other IFC policies, heard 11 cases in 2010.

These cases consisted of early and dry recruitment violations, hazing charges and common source container violations.

Fraternity leaders recently rewrote bylaws to require a preponderance of evidence to prosecute fraternity chapters, IFC President Jack Partain said.

This means Greek chapters can more easily be found to be guilty. According to the new law, they can be disciplined if they “more likely than not” committed a violation, instead of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“After the bylaws were written (in 2010), they were written with a bad burden of proof,” Partain said. “We weren’t able to prosecute issues that needed to be prosecuted.”

Partain referred to a summer recruiting violation that took place last year. He said the old bylaws’ burden of proof was too high and therefore the incident did not result in a sanction from the Greek judicial board.

“We realized that was a problem,” he said. “It was not an effective system.”

During the summer of 2010, the IFC worked with alumni to rewrite the Greek judicial board bylaws.

Matt Miller, who was co-chairman of the judicial board following the death of Delta Kappa Epsilon President Courtland Smith, said after Smith’s death the Fraternity Alumni Association increased its involvement by participating in meetings to preempt “destructive action.”

“They reformed the system to avoid University interference,” said Miller, who is also a member of The Daily Tar Heel’s editorial board.

“The alumni felt that they were in a better position to make the changes in a reaction from this one unfortunate incident,” he said.

Academic standards and community involvement were the topic of discussion in hours of meetings. The Board of Trustees also discussed reform, Miller said.

“Things as extreme as separating from the University were mentioned,” he said.

Since Partain became president last fall, there have been no prosecutions. There is currently one case under review.

Co-chairman of the Greek judicial board Will Lindsey said the major change recently is the burden of proof.

“We have a blank slate this year,” Lindsey said. “We have a lot of committed guys.”

“I don’t think the past rulings will create precedent for what we do in the future because the process is so different,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey stressed that the board will have more self-governance and representation of chapters in the future.

“We’re a big promoter of self-governance,” he said.

Contact the University Editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

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