The following was emailed to fraternity and sorority leaders.
Dear Officers of Stanford Fraternities and Sororities,
Many of you have been following the news regarding the Theta Delta Chi fraternity.
I want you to know that I have informed TDX leadership today that we discovered a flaw in the procedural guidelines that led to the decision to unhouse TDX, and that, as a result, we have vacated that decision. Here is a summary of what we discovered:
Under our Standards of Excellence process, TDX received a raw score for the current year within the “meets expectations” range, which would not subject the organization to a loss of housing. After factoring in a second measure – a comparison with the performance of other Greek organizations – TDX’s rating fell into the “needs improvement” range, which produced the decision to unhouse TDX.
However, in the course of our review, we discovered a flaw in our procedures. Specifically, we found that the written documentation provided to student chapters about the Standards of Excellence program does not make clear that an organization’s final rating depends upon this second measure, the comparison with other chapters.
We believe it is unfair for chapters to be judged by a criterion that is not clearly articulated in the university’s written procedures. As a result of this flaw in our procedural guidelines, and because the raw score was within the “meets expectation” range, we are vacating the original decision to remove the TDX fraternity from 675 Lomita for 2019-20. This eliminates the need for an appeal of the original decision by TDX.
We have reviewed and confirmed that this procedural flaw has not affected any matters involving other Greek organizations this year or in the past. We will be reviewing our procedures in depth and adjusting them as needed to ensure that they are fair, equitable and clear, and to avoid future problems of the kind we have discovered here. In particular, we will evaluate the application of a criterion such as comparisons with other chapters; if this measure is kept, we will ensure that the criterion is clearly communicated and applied fairly.
On behalf of the university and Student Affairs, I have apologized to the members of TDX for this lack of process clarity and what it produced in this case. I regret the tremendous stress this has caused the TDX community, and I am glad that this reversal of the original decision allows chapter members to turn their attention to other matters.
We will be working to support the chapter in its efforts to continue improvements. As we do so, it is important that our university processes always are undergirded by clarity, fairness and integrity.
This episode also has surfaced broader concerns in our campus community that we need to address. First and foremost, I want to assure our community that we are supportive of Greek life at Stanford. The Greek system has a long and rich history at Stanford. We do have high expectations of student organizations that have the privilege of being housed on our campus. Those expectations need to be communicated clearly, understood by everyone, and administered in fair and equitable ways. We are committed to doing exactly that. I will be in touch with Greek community leaders to initiate some conversations about these matters.
As well, over the past week, many Stanford community members have shared their concern that campus social life appears to be in a state of decline. Vibrant social life on campus is critical to a thriving and healthy campus community and to the personal health, well-being and success of students. We have begun to engage students in designing solutions, and more opportunities for engagement and planning are in the works.
I will be writing more on these issues, and sharing additional thoughts with the campus community, in the near future. I appreciate all of the efforts that your organizations are making to collaborate with the university, to meet high standards for operations and conduct, and to maximize your contributions to your membership and the Stanford community.
Vice Provost for Student Affairs