Dear USC Community,
I am writing to provide an update on actions needed to resume Interfraternity Council (IFC) social activities. In the Fall, the Working Group on IFC Culture, Prevention, and Accountability was established and charged with:
- Looking at long-term strategies for improving the culture, enhancing accountability, and addressing systemic challenges within IFC chapters.
- Developing short-term guidelines for the resumption of social activities at IFC organizations.
The group worked throughout winter break to develop an initial set of conditions for resumption of IFC activities. We are confident implementation of these steps will enhance safety and effect positive change for USC’s IFC chapters.
A key feature of our strategy is to develop a strong partnership with IFC chapter members and leadership, student government and other appropriate student groups, national fraternity leaders, prevention and safety experts, and other stakeholders to ensure IFC activities are positive and safe for all. I am pleased to report that this partnership is working well, and that IFC leaders have demonstrated a commitment and willingness to address the challenges within their organizations. About 4,000 of our students participate in fraternity and sorority life at USC, and many say that this is a central part of their USC experience. Developing and strengthening this partnership will be critical to our long-term success in meeting our goals.
As you may remember, in the Fall, social activities at all 16 IFC chapters were paused indefinitely and one fraternity was placed on interim suspension. Since then, three additional fraternities have been placed on interim suspension, and one was put on modified suspension, pending the outcome of investigations by USC’s Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity and Title IX (EEO-TIX).
Last Friday, chapters in good standing were provided with details about the actions that will be required, under close university oversight, before social activities can resume. Steps include a mandate that 100 percent of chapter members complete prevention education workshops and that members agree to abide by a new community standards agreement. In addition, chapters must complete an advanced risk and compliance assessment and implement enhanced security measures. The working group’s detailed recommendations have been posted online .
Eligible IFC chapters were allowed to begin recruitment activities (required to be alcohol-free) as of Friday. Once eligible organizations meet all conditions set by the working group, they will be allowed to host social gatherings as early as February 3. The four chapters on interim suspension will not be eligible to resume any social or recruitment activities, pending the outcome of the EEO-TIX process. The chapter on a modified suspension is able to conduct recruitment activities, but cannot host social gatherings, pending the outcome of its EEO-TIX process. University staff have been assigned to each chapter on interim suspension to provide support, connect students to resources, and help them navigate this process. Chapters not on interim suspension will have similar support as they navigate the university’s conditions for resumption.
Our community must work together to end sexual assault on our campuses. We appreciate everyone who brings forward concerns and reports sexual assault and other issues impacting safety and well-being, and we understand how difficult this can be. As shared earlier today in our Centralized Reporting Directive, designated employees must immediately forward to the EEO-TIX office any reports, disclosures, or other known information about sexual or gender-based harassment and violence of which they are aware.
I want to thank members of the working group – which included student representatives from IFC, the Panhellenic Council, and Undergraduate Student Government – for their commitment and partnership. I also thank our staff at EEO-TIX, Student Affairs, and other university offices who have been dedicated to working with our students and the working group on resolving these issues and moving forward positively. The group will continue meeting in the coming weeks and months to develop the longer-term guidance and recommendations for reform. A full report will be issued by the end of the semester.
We will continue to communicate our work and progress on this issue and share any important updates.
Charles F. Zukoski
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs