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Recognition Standard Fraternity and Sorority Life

Section 1: Introduction

  1. Fraternity and Sorority Life recognition is the formal process by which American University (“University” or “AU) permits a social fraternity or sorority to avail itself of certain university privileges. It applies to all social fraternities and sororities recognized under the Center for Student Involvement (“CSI”) and Fraternity & Sorority Life (“FSL”).
  2. This policy applies to sorority and fraternity activities both on and off campus.
  3. This policy may be amended, rescinded, or superseded at any time by CSI or FSL.

Section II: Benefits of Recognition 

  1. Benefits and privileges extended to recognized fraternities and sororities under this, or any other University policy, are subject to the availability of University resources for the purposes specified and do not constitute entitlements.
  2. Recognition serves only the limited purposes described herein and is not intended in any way to alter the legal relationship between AU and the sorority or fraternity.
  3. Each fraternity or sorority is, and remains, an independent legal entity responsible for its own actions and for meeting its own legal duties and obligations.
  4. Some benefits include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Chapter recognition by AU, CSI, and FSL;
    2. Eligibility for participation in the student self-governing councils for recognized social sororities and fraternities;
    3. Participation in the educational, philanthropic, service, social, and athletic programs and activities of the University that are provided for sororities and fraternities;
    4. Access and use of University facilities for official functions;
    5. Ability to reserve space on campus through University Events Scheduling;
      1. Charges may be required for external events and some Athletics spaces;
    6. Utilization of the resources made available by Fraternity & Sorority Life and its campus partners;
    7. Eligibility to apply for a chapter room in residence halls, when available;
    8. Awards and recognition from CSI, FSL, and the Office of Campus Life.

Section III: Recognition Requirements

To be eligible to receive consideration for University privileges, services, and resources, an organization must be recognized. Recognition is granted by CSI/FSL upon demonstrating the organization is a responsible steward of AU and FSL communities. These expectations and requirements must be continually met to maintain recognition.

FSL organizations must comply with all federal, state, local, and district laws, their intern/national headquarters policies and procedures, and all University and FSL policies and procedures at all times. Organizations not in compliance with these laws and policies will be subject to the office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Services (SCCRS) and/or FSL judicial processes, as it relates to the Student Conduct Code.

  1. All FSL organizations must not host or co-host any external facing events no late than two (2) Sundays before final exams each semester.
    1. External facing events can include, but is not limited to: philanthropy, service, tabling, recruitment, new member education, and information/informational meetings.
    2. FSL organizations can still have internal events such as, but not limited to, chapter meetings, judicial/standards board meetings, and brotherhood/sisterhood events.
    3. FSL staff can make a determination for certain events, with prior written approval.
  2. Recognition will be maintained under the following ANNUAL conditions:
    1. Must submit for annual recognition, through the CSI student organization renewal process;
    2. A letter of chapter standing from the organization’s Inter/National Headquarters, outlining current status and imperatives to change status;
    3. Provide a Certificate of Insurance (COI) that holds at least a $1,000,000 (one million) insurance policy;
    4. Is a member organization in Good Standing in one of three Governing Councils: Interfraternity Council (IFC), Intercultural Greek Collective (IGC), or Panhellenic Council (PHC);
    5. Complies with the expectations, standards, and policies of AU, CSI, and FSL including, but not limited to:
      1. AU Alcohol and Other Drug Policies;
      2. AU Hazing Policy;
      3. AU Student Conduct Code;
      4. AU Good Neighbor Guidelines;
      5. CSI Policies;
      6. Housing & Residence Life Rules and Regulations;
      7. FSL Recruitment, Intake, and New Member Education Standards and Procedures.
    6. A copy of the organization’s charter, if not already on file with FSL, that explains the organization’s affiliation with AU. For city-wide chapters, see Section V.
  1. Recognition will be maintained under the following SEMESTER conditions:
    1. Updated Engage Platform;
      1. Updated Constitution and/or Bylaws;
      2. Leadership Roster;
      3. Chapter/Graduate Advisor, with contact info;
      4. Contact Information;
      5. Description of Organization;
      6. Profile Picture;
    2. Submission of at least the following information:
      1. Membership Roster;
      2. Leadership Roster and Contact Info;
      3. Primary Chapter Advisor and Contact Info;
      4. Submission of schedules to FSL Staff for:
        1. Recruitment;
        2. Information Sessions;
        3. Intake;
        4. New Member Education;
      5. Meeting(s) with respective FSL Advisor;
      6. Community Service Hours;
      7. Philanthropy Dollars Raised.

Section IV: Scope of Authority

  1. The Chapter President, or designee, will be the primary point of contact for the organization such as, but not limited to:
    1. All materials submitted on time (i.e. rosters, new member education, etc.);
    2. Contact for any information or allegation within SCCRS.
  2. The Chapter/Graduate Advisor is an alumni/alumnae member who supports the organization on a local level in the Washington, DC area.
    1. The Chapter/Graduate Advisor will:
      1. be in the local Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia area and is easily accessible to the organization;
      2. be the primary contact for the organization;
      3. serve as a liaison to the organization’s inter/national headquarters;
      4. be formally recognized through the organization’s Inter/National Headquarters.

Section V: Categories of Recognition:

A fraternity or sorority is designated in one of the following stages of recognition:

  1. Provisional Recognition – describes an inter/national organization’s intent to pursue recognition under one of the student self-governing councils and must abide by the following:
    1. Must follow FSL expansion/extension guidelines;
    2. Must follow the respective Council expansion/extension policy in which they seek recognition (if applicable).
  2. Recognized – describes an organization in good/active standing and is given the privileges, obligations, and University resources as outlined in this policy.
    1. Recognized Organizations are eligible for the benefits outlined in Section II of this policy;
    2. Organizations seeking recognition/colonization or re-recognition/re-colonization are considered recognized and in good/active standing.
  3. Probation – describes an organization who is considered not in good standing with FSL, CSI, AU, or a combination therein.
    1. Organizations may be placed on this status, or any other interim action, by the Dean of Students, CSI, FSL, or their designee, pending an investigation(s), hearing(s), or meeting(s) related to a violation of policies and procedures;
    2. Organizations may also be placed on this status if their Inter/National Headquarters has placed any sanctions or additional status onto the chapter;
    3. This status may include sanctions including, but not limited to:
      1. social probation, academic probation, additional meetings with university officials, censure, educational sanctions, educational programs, revision of programs, risk management revisions, alcohol education workshops, leadership development programming, and leadership development participation.
    4. Organizations on Probation:
      1. Will be required to follow FSL, SCCRS, and/or Inter/National Organization sanctions;
      2. Are considered “not in good standing”;
      3. Must complete the requirements set forth to be removed from probation.
    5. Organizations on Probation for three semesters or have a history of conduct violations will have their status reviewed by FSL to determine viability and/or sustainability on campus.
      1. Status review may include, but not limited to:
        1. Consultation with the Director of CSI;
        2. Discussion with chapter leadership;
        3. Discussion with Inter/National Headquarters staff.
      2. Outcome(s) of this discussion may result in further sanctions or being placed on a Not Recognized status.
  4. Not Recognized – describes an organization that does not have the rights and responsibilities on campus. To begin the process of being recognized, the inter/national headquarters office must follow the FSL expansion/extension standards and procedures.
    1. Failure to follow the proper procedures for expansion and recognition, may result in the organization to be deprived of any rights or privileges.
    2. Organizations may be placed on this status for a pattern or incident of misconduct, criminal activity, fiscal default, or neglect that poses an unacceptable risk of harm to persons or property, including liability or financial loss to the University or FSL community.
    3. Circumstances and conduct which are cause for this status include, but are not limited to:
      1. Student Conduct Code violations including, but not limited to hazing, alcohol and other drugs, public/private/University property damage, etc.;
      2. Recurring social or academic probation or a violation of probation;
      3. Failure to pay University fees, charges, or other obligations to the institution;
      4. Failure to exercise appropriate care in using and maintaining University facilities and spaces;
      5. Withdrawal of the organization’s charter or other form of affiliation by the inter/national headquarters;
      6. Failure to comply with any or part of Section III of this policy.
    4. Organizations on this status will be ineligible for the benefits outlined in Section II of this policy.
    5. SCCRS definition and sanction(s) of “Underground Group” applies to this status.
      1. “Underground Group” – a formerly recognized student organization or group that has lost or been denied university registration or recognition on a temporary or permanent basis as a consequence of responsibility for Code and/or other policy violations (AU 2020-2021 Student Code, page 9).
  5. Inactive - describes an organization who has experienced inactivity not due to Conduct-related reasons.
    1. Inactive Status may include one or more of the following reasons:
      1. The Inter/National Headquarters has suspended activity for reasons not related to conduct.
      2. The active members have changed their membership status with their respective Inter/National Headquarters and as a result, the organization is no longer able to operate.
      3. The organization has no active undergraduate members remaining.
    2. Organizations who do not have any members for three (3) consecutive Fall/Spring semesters will automatically fall under a Not Recognized status. Organizations will then be required to follow CSI/FSL as well as their respective Council guidelines for expansion/extension.
    3. CSI/FSL will work with the organization's Inter/National Headquarters to have their own staff and/or local alumni/ae to garner interest from AU students.
    4. CSI/FSL will work with chapters as they transition from Inactive status to Recognized status.

Section V: City-Wide Chapter/Organization

  1. An organization is considered a city-wide chapter/organization whose membership is drawn from more than AU.
  2. To be considered for recognition, city-wide organizations:
    1. Must have submitted a copy of the organization’s charter, if not already on file;
    2. Must have sponsorship from the inter/national headquarters office;
    3. Must have at least one (1) student enrolled at AU;
      1. If the organization does not have at least one (1) student from AU for three (3) consecutive semesters, the organization will be placed on a Not Recognized status. (Refer to Section IV, Subsection 4 for more details.).
  3. Participants from outside of AU, or members not enrolled at AU, will be considered guests of the organization.
    1. Organizations are held responsible for the actions of their guests.
  4. In the event the Chapter President is not an AU student, an official liaison between the University/FSL and the organization must be designated, and the liaison must be an AU student.
    1. In the event the organization does not have any members enrolled at AU, the organization must designate an official liaison from their Executive Board to the University/FSL.
  5. An organization seeking recognition is not eligible to seek city-wide status.
    1. Current organizations on campus with city-wide status are grandfathered into keeping their city-wide status.
    2. If a charter is removed or an organization is not recognized, the organization will no longer have the option to be considered city-wide when returning to campus.

Updated March 9, 2021