A system that comparatively grades Greek organizations’ conduct, previously undisclosed by the Office of Student Affairs, was the basis of the original decision to revoke Theta Delta Chi’s (TDX) housing last week. Reversing the initial unhousing, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole formally apologized for this “procedural flaw” in a Saturday evening email to the presidents of all-campus Greek organizations.
“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,” Brubaker-Cole wrote. “I regret the tremendous stress this has caused the TDX community.”
Brubaker-Cole explained the “procedural flaw” in Stanford’s “Standards of Excellence” (SOE) process, which governs reviews of Greek organizations, in an email sent shortly after she announced the University’s decision to restore TDX’s housing. Comparative grading has not affected the housing status of any Greek organizations beyond TDX, according to Brubaker-Cole’s email.
For the 2018-19 school year, TDX “received a raw score within the ‘meets expectations’ range, which would not subject the organization to a loss of housing,” Brubaker-Cole wrote. When compared to other Greek organizations on campus, however, TDX fell into the “needs improvement” category.
This would have been the fourth consecutive year that the fraternity received a ranking of “needs improvement,” a record that TDX leadership believed would put them at risk for unhousing.
TDX Vice President Michael Quezada said that fraternity members were “excited, but not surprised” by the University’s decision.
“From the beginning, we have felt that we have complied with the SOE’s recommendations from last year and that we were deserving of a ‘meets expectations’ outcome, which is why we were all taken aback when the initial decision to remove us from the house came out,” he wrote in an email to The Daily.
Greek organizations that undergo the Standards of Excellence (SOE) conduct review are given both a raw score and a score in “comparison with the performance of other Greek organizations,” Brubaker-Cole wrote. She said it is “unfair” that official written documentation provided to Greek organizations about the SOE program does not make clear that the comparative score factors into an organization’s final rating.
Quezada agreed, also saying it is “unfair” for the University to not notify the fraternity of the grading mechanisms they are using.
“If the University is dedicated to having an impactful Greek system, they would benefit from having a more transparent SOE program,” he wrote.
Student Affairs plans to review SOE procedures — in particular, the evaluation based on comparisons to other fraternities — “to ensure that they are fair, equitable and clear.”
“If this measure is kept, we will ensure that the criterion is clearly communicated and applied fairly,” Brubaker-Cole wrote.
In her email, she expressed support for Greek life at Stanford while also noting the Office of Student Affairs’ “high expectations of student organizations that have the privilege of being housed on our campus.”
In response to student concerns about the declining social scene at Stanford, Brubaker-Cole wrote, “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.”
“I will be in touch with Greek community leaders to initiate some conversations about these matters,” she wrote. “We have begun to engage students in designing solutions, and more opportunities for engagement and planning are in the works,” she added.
Quezada expressed his enthusiasm to work with Student Affairs in the future.
“We are committed to working with the University, including Student Affairs, to improve,” he wrote. “TDX isn’t perfect, and there’s work to do if we want this house to stay on campus… We are pleased with their decision to admit their error.”
Contact Claire Wang at clwang32 ‘at’ stanford.edu and Erin Woo at erinkwoo ‘at’ stanford.edu.