Vanderbilt University statements on Greek LifeJul. 7, 2020, 10:11 PM
Aug. 2, 2020:
“At Vanderbilt, student organizations are formed and led by students, but members are expected to adhere to high standards of conduct aligned with our commitment to a safe, welcoming and inclusive campus for everyone.
When student conduct violations occur, we take action, investigate and hold perpetrators accountable – both individuals and organizations. Currently, five Greek organizations are suspended at Vanderbilt for student misconduct.
We respect the right of students to join or disaffiliate with any registered student organization. We are available to work with students as they navigate reforms, while respecting students’ autonomy to create, sustain and lead various organizations as a part of the college experience.”
Vanderbilt University response to recent incidents related to Greek life
July 7, 2020:
*UPDATE: Vanderbilt University Public Safety contacted the website regarding the offensive posts as part of the university’s investigation. It now appears that the posts have been removed.
“The racist events of this summer, for which the killing of George Floyd by a police officer became a global focal point, have reignited discussions on campus focusing on Greek organizations. In the last week, a video was posted to social media in which a member of the Greek community was recorded using a racist slur derogatory to African Americans. The university condemns the use of this language in the strongest possible terms and has referred the matter to our Title IX and Student Discrimination office. The university is actively investigating this incident.
It is critically important that our community understands that this type of language, which undermines and erodes the culture of belonging and safety we have worked to create, is unacceptable in any context. To that end, we also encourage anyone with information about a recent series of abhorrent, racist anonymous posts on a website where discussions around Greek life at Vanderbilt are occurring, to report that information to Title IX and Student Discrimination Office. Vanderbilt Information Technology and Vanderbilt University Public Safety are monitoring the website, though the anonymous nature of the posts make determining the source of these posts challenging.
The university recognizes that important and necessary conversations must continue as students examine the role of Greek life as part of the Vanderbilt experience for some students. Vanderbilt is distinguished by its collaborative and collegial culture and as a place where difficult conversations can be had with respect. Any conversations, including those on social media, that resort to bullying, vilifying or shaming individual students or groups have no place on our campus. Any student who has been the victim of such tactics who needs support or wishes to report should contact Student Accountability.
Our expectations for student organizations are that they reflect the university’s core values of equity, diversity and inclusion toward a shared mission of helping students become well-rounded leaders, scholars and citizens who navigate the world with civility, curiosity and respect for all. No student should be made to feel unwelcome or unsafe on our campus.
We believe one of Vanderbilt’s strengths is its student organizations, which play a vital role in our residential learning approach. They provide opportunities to socialize, learn leadership skills, and to develop an appreciation for the role of community service and philanthropy. Importantly student organizations, including Greek organizations, are student driven. Student organizations are not static and may look very different from year to year, reflecting both the differences and interests of their individual members at that time. We believe, as a university, that this student-driven approach provides an experience for our students that will translate well into the organizations that they will join and lead after graduation. It is up to our students to determine the organizations they create, join and sustain, in alignment with the university’s policies and rules governing such groups.
The prevention and rejection of racism, sexism, sexual assault and homophobia have been the focus of education and reform within Greek organizations at Vanderbilt for several years. The Office of Greek Life has worked with these organizations, which has resulted in student-driven approaches to address these problems and enact change and reform. This work is ongoing and is being continuously assessed for alignment with the values of our community.
As a community, we have an opportunity to make a difference on many issues facing Vanderbilt and our society as a whole. To do so, we must listen carefully, reflect thoughtfully and act strategically to achieve the reform we want to see, and that includes engaging thoughtfully in the current discussions with regard to Greek organizations. The university is committed to working with all students to facilitate these conversations and provide support and resources to ensure our campus community is safe and one of belonging for all.”