Kappa Sigma fraternity will be reinstated to its former house at 1035 Campus Drive for the 2012-13 academic year, announced Deborah Golder, Dean of Residential Education (ResEd), Friday afternoon.
“They have more work to do and they’re not done yet, but we were very impressed with the amount of work they’ve done and want to show good faith in their projected trajectory,” Golder said. “We were really looking for a profound shift in attitude and culture.”
“The guys have put in a lot of work over the past couple of months,” said incoming Kappa Sigma President Malcolm McGregor ’13. “We’ve been taking a critical look at ourselves and creating an organization that reflects what we want as members of the fraternity and what the campus wants from us.”
“It’s a decision we’ve worked hard for,” said Brian Barnes ’12, outgoing Kappa Sigma president. “We’re happy to be back.”
ResEd gave Kappa Sigma a yearlong hiatus from its house in March 2011, after the fraternity violated its alcohol and party probation and students complained about feeling unsafe in the house.
ResEd also gave Kappa Sigma a list of seven criteria for improvement last March. The criteria were: “1) vision and organizational identity; 2) shared accountability and responsibility; 3) stewardship and financial responsibility; 4) role of alcohol in the house and organization; 5) partnerships; 6) community membership and responsible citizenship; and 7) learning and engagement,” according to a ResEd document.
ResEd’s actions against the organization came just months after the group came under review from the national Kappa Sigma Supreme Executive Committee (SEC).
Along with an advisory panel of faculty, administrators and students, ResEd judged Kappa Sigma based on a rubric of these criteria, in addition to a two-hour “formal relevancy presentation” that 10 members of the fraternity gave Thursday night.
The review panel consisted of: ResEd staff; Robinson House Resident Fellow Rod Taylor; Angela Exson, assistant dean of the Office of Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse (SARA) Education and Response; and student representatives from the Greek community. Golder, ResEd Associate Dean Nate Boswell and ResEd Greek Advisor Amanda Rodriguez also contributed to the process.
Since losing its house in March, Kappa Sigma has reorganized its internal structure and partnered with University offices and campus groups on community-based projects.
“Some of the weaknesses we identified with the former structure of Kappa Sigma was the lack of internal accountability and that our lack of a concrete vision stemmed from a lack of organizational structure,” McGregor said.
According to McGregor, Kappa Sigma has replaced a previous structure that included loosely-defined executives and non-executive roles with little oversight.
The fraternity now has four executive positions in addition to the president, he said. Together, these five roles will provide oversight for non-executive positions.
“In this new structure, each of [ResEd’s] seven criteria to address corresponded with the job description of one of those executive members,” McGregor said. “The criteria are things we’ll be incorporating into our daily operations for years to come.”
‘Divide and conquer’
The fraternity took a ‘divide and conquer approach,’ to address issues of accountability and improvement, according to Barnes.
Barnes split the fraternity’s 60 members into 11 groups, each focused on a different facet of fraternal life. Topics included community outreach, the pledge process, the treatment of women and the role of alcohol in the house. He tasked each group with completing a proposal for what the best practices in each of those fields would look like, and the fraternity presented these projects to the review panel Thursday.
Additionally, Kappa Sigma will host a themed-service project each quarter, McGregor said.
“Every winter we have decided to focus on ‘Student Awareness Events,’” wrote Kappa Sigma community service chair Danny Organ ’13 in an email to The Daily.
Last winter, the fraternity hosted the Kappa Sigma Save the Music Benefit Concert, as well as a Safe and Open Spaces at Stanford (SOSAS) panel. The events raised money for music education in public schools and awareness for issues facing LGBT students and their allies, respectively.
“This quarter, we are partnering with SARA to co-sponsor an event hosting Kevin Powell to speak about issues of masculinity and relationship abuse awareness,” Organ said.
According to McGregor, Kappa Sigma may also co-host a SOSAS event for the entire Greek community.
The fraternity plans to host one lecture by an alumnus every fall as part of ‘The Stanford Family’ theme and to do service off the Farm every spring in an effort to go ‘Beyond the Stanford Campus.’
As a result of the programming, U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos ’77 J.D. ’80 came to campus in the fall to discuss the implications of the March 2011 tsunami.
Kappa Sigma is also looking to host a more Stanford-specific version of the ‘Say Something’ program that works to discourage bystander apathy in situations of high-risk drinking.
The Office of Alcohol Policy & Education (OAPE) first hosted a ‘Say Something’ event in September that was largely attended by Kappa Sigma members, according to Barnes.
Barnes said he views these relationships as beneficial to Kappa Sigma, partnering organizations and the University at-large.
“We’d like to use OAPE and SARA to build a partnership because they are much more specialized than we are,” Barnes said. “We’d like to bring up our level of understanding and to give them the manpower to put on bigger events.”
Golder warned Kappa Sigma members that they should not take her decision lightly.
“I explained to them that on the one hand, it feels great to be the guys who got the house back, but that it is with very clear expectations and zero tolerance for any of the behaviors that got them removed from the house in the first place,” Golder said.
“We are not planning on babysitting Kappa Sigma–[they] have to take responsibility for themselves as an organization,” Golder said. “If they don’t do those things we will get involved.”
McGregor said he understands being a housed organization is a privilege from the University.
“With that devotion [from the University], there is an obligation to contribute back to campus,” McGregor said. “This is something we hadn’t really considered in the past and something the entire Greek community can take to heart a little more.”
ResEd will be working with Kappa Sigma over the coming months to identify benchmarks to reflect on how the fraternity is attempting to meet these standards.
Golder said ResEd will develop a supplemental process in coming weeks to hire student residential staff to live in the house next year.