Fraternity and Sorority Life Policies

Beginning Fall 2019 only nationally affiliated social Greek organizations will be permitted to charter on the campus of Plymouth State University. Organizations currently on campus will have until August 1, 2020  to align with a national organization in order to maintain recognition with Plymouth State University. Chapters that do not adhere, will not be recognized by the university.

Administrative Policies Regarding Fraternities & Sororities

The University expects the operation and activities of all recognized fraternities and sororities to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, as well as all University, governing council and inter/national organization policy, regardless of being nationally affiliated.

Anti-Hazing Policy

All acts of hazing are prohibited.  Students are entitled to be treated with consideration and respect and no student or Plymouth State University recognized student club or organization shall engage in an act that is likely to cause physical or psychological harm to any other person within the Plymouth State University community.  Furthermore, any such behavior is expressly forbidden when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, continued membership in, or any other group-affiliation activity. *See Harassment & Human Dignity section

Any student, club or organization found to be involved in any hazing activity will face conduct action up to and including suspension or expulsion from Plymouth State University.  A violation of this policy may exist irrespective of any alleged voluntary or consensual participation in the activity by the person(s) being abused.

In addition, the New Hampshire state law maintains that hazing is a criminal offense. The New Hampshire hazing policy follows: 

631:7 Student Hazing.

I. For the purposes of this section:
(a) “Educational institution” means any public or private high school, college, university, or other secondary or postsecondary educational establishment.
(b) “Organization” means a fraternity, sorority, association, corporation, order, society, corps, athletic group, cooperative, club, or service, social or similar group, whose members are or include students, operating at or in conjunction with an educational institution.
(c) “Student” means any person regularly enrolled on a full-time or part-time basis as a student in an educational institution.
(d) “Student hazing” means any act directed toward a student, or any coercion or intimidation of a student to act or to participate in or submit to any act, when:
(1) Such act is likely or would be perceived by a reasonable person as likely to cause physical or psychological injury to any person; and
(2) Such act is a condition of initiation into, admission into, continued membership in or association with any organization.
II. (a) A natural person is guilty of a class B misdemeanor if such person:
(1) Knowingly participates as actor in any student hazing; or
(2) Being a student, knowingly submits to hazing and fails to report such hazing to law enforcement or educational institution authorities; or
(3) Is present at or otherwise has direct knowledge of any student hazing and fails to report such hazing to law enforcement or educational institution authorities.
(b) An educational institution or an organization operating at or in conjunction with an educational institution is guilty of a misdemeanor if it:
(1) Knowingly permits or condones student hazing; or
(2) Knowingly or negligently fails to take reasonable measures within the scope of its authority to prevent student hazing; or
(3) Fails to report to law enforcement authorities any hazing reported to it by others or of which it otherwise has knowledge.
III. The implied or express consent of any person toward whom an act of hazing is directed shall not be a defense in any action brought under this section.

Harassment & Human Dignity

The University is committed to maintaining a safe and non-discriminatory learning, living, and working environment for all members of the University community. Fraternities and sororities, as members of the University community, are expected to maintain an atmosphere of safety and mutual respect in which all persons can participate without fear of discrimination, harassment or interpersonal violence.  

  • No Chapter shall tolerate or condone any form of sexist or sexually abusive behavior on the part of its members, whether physical, mental, or emotional. This is to include any actions, activities, or events, whether on Chapter premises or an off-site location, demeaning to another human being, including but not limited to, verbal harassment and sexual assault by individuals or members acting together.
  • The employment or use of strippers, exotic dancers or similar, whether professional or amateur, at a Chapter event is prohibited.
  • No Chapter shall sponsor or endorse any activity or behavior that negatively targets or intimidates an individual or group due to race, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, physical, mental, or intellectual disabilities, as well as past/present history of mental disorders. This includes, but is not limited to, event themes, graffiti or images that harass or otherwise create a hostile environment for individuals or groups due to the above characteristics. Hate speech and actions are not tolerated at Plymouth State University and individuals who are victims of hate speech or actions are protected through The Student Code of Conduct and New Hampshire laws related to discrimination, harassment or intimidation based on bigotry or bias.
  • Furthermore, Chapters must actively educate and inform their members, including new/associate members, about diversity, bias related behavior, sexual violence, relationship violence, and stalking.

Eligibility

Perspective new members must have earned a minimum of 12 credit hours, have a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 or meet the organization’s specified minimum standard to join, whichever is higher, and have minimum 2.0 GPA the semester before affiliating before they can be offered an invitation to join.  Students transferring to Plymouth State University will be declared eligible provided that they had cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 and have minimum 2.0 GPA the semester before affiliating at their previous institution and are transferring at least 12 credit hours. This must be verified prior to transfer students joining. Regardless of credit hours, students who are identified as freshman by the Registrar’s office may not receive a bid into an organization until their second semester of attendance at Plymouth State University. 

  • The Office of Student Life will process Student Eligibility Verification Forms on a continuous basis and distribute an eligibility list on a regular basis, to be determined at the beginning of each semester.
  • No potential new member may be offered an invitation to join or extended a bid until their eligibility has been confirmed by the Office of Student Life.
  • Once a bid has been accepted, a signed individual bid acceptance form must be turned into the Student Life Suite within 24 hours after it has been signed.
  • While this policy prohibits University recognized fraternities and sororities from offering invitations of membership to students without a Plymouth State University GPA and transfer student with less than 12 credit hours, fraternities and sororities are permitted to have contact with such students for the purposes of generating future interest in Greek life.

New Member Education Programs

Each semester, the chapter officer responsible for administering the organization’s new member education program is required to meet with a member of the Student Life staff BEFORE the new member education program begins.  The officer should bring a detailed, written copy of the program to this meeting highlighting weekly activity, not necessarily disclosing ritual or meanings of ritual.  Additionally, chapters should complete the Bid Acceptance Form and submit it to the Student Life office 24-hours after bid acceptance.

Depledges

In the event that a new member depledges at any point in the semester, a depledged form must be turned into the office of Student Life.  In the event that a Depledge Form is not received, the individual(s) in question will remain on the chapter’s grade report for that semester and may be removed from the chapter’s roster the following semester.

Initiation

Each chapter is required to submit an Initiation Form to the office of Student Life within 48 hours after new members are initiated into the organization.

Risk Management Policies for Greek Lettered Organizations

Plymouth State University has adopted the NIC (North American Intrafraternity Conference) drug and alcohol policies specifically for social university recognized Greek Letter Organizations. These policies are as follows: 

  • The chapter/organization, members and guests must comply with all federal, state, provincial and local laws. No person under the legal drinking age may possess, consume, provide or be provided alcoholic beverages.
  • The chapter/organization, members and guests must follow the federal law regarding illegal drugs and controlled substances. No person may possess, use, provide, distribute, sell and/or manufacture illegal drugs or other controlled substances while on chapter/organizational premises or at any activity or event sponsored or endorsed by the chapter/organization.
  • Alcoholic beverages must either be:
    a. Provided and sold on a per-drink basis by a university approved, licensed and insured third-party vendor (e.g. restaurant, bar, caterer, etc.) When held on PSU property and a third-party vendor is necessary, alcohol must be served through Chartwell’s Dining Services; or
    b. Brought by individual members and guests through a bring your own beverage (“BYOB”) system. The presence of alcohol products above 15% alcohol by volume (“ABV”) is prohibited on any chapter/organization premises or at any event, except when served by a university approved, licensed and insured third-party vendor.
  • Common sources of alcohol, including bulk quantities, which are not being served by a licensed and insured third party vendor, are prohibited (i.e., amounts of alcohol greater than what a reasonable person should consume over the duration of an event).
  • Alcoholic beverages must not be purchased with chapter/organizational funds or funds pooled by members or guests (e.g., admission fees, cover fees, collecting funds through digital apps, etc.).
  • A chapter/organization must not co-host or co-sponsor, or in any way participate in, an activity or event with another group or entity that purchases or provides alcohol.
  • A chapter/organization must not co-host or co-sponsor an event with a bar, event promoter or alcohol distributor; however, a chapter/organization may rent a bar, restaurant, or other licensed and insured third-party vendor to host a chapter/organization event.
  • Attendance by non-members at any event where alcohol is present must be by invitation only, and the chapter/organization must utilize a guest list system. Attendance at events with alcohol is limited to a 3:1 maximum guest-to-member ratio and must not exceed local fire or building code capacity of the chapter/organizational premises or host venue.
  • Any event or activity related to the new member joining process (e.g., recruitment, intake, rush, etc.) must be substance free. No alcohol or drugs may be present if the event or activity is related to new member activities, meetings, or initiation into an organization, including but not limited to “bid night,” “big/little” events or activities, “family” events or activities and any ritual or ceremony.
  • The chapter/organization, members or guests must not permit, encourage, coerce, glorify or participate in any activities involving the rapid consumption of alcohol, such as drinking games.

Insurance Policy for Fraternity & Sorority Life 

Each chapter member, by his or her actions and attitude, is responsible for members and guests. Therefore, it is required for fraternities and sororities at Plymouth State University that each chapter must have liability insurance coverage with adequate limits for personal injury in place prior to hosting any chapter events.

All Greek organizations must maintain commercial general liability insurance per the requirements below in order to remain in good standing with the university.  Such insurance affords protection to the chapter, its members and to Plymouth State University. 

  • Greek organization shall, at its own expense, maintain Commercial General Liability insurance with minimum limits of $1,000,000 per occurrence/$2,000,000 aggregate written on an occurrence basis.
  • The General Liability insurance must include Host Liquor Liability.
  • The General Liability insurance policy must name as additionally insured, Plymouth State University, with the certificate stating that the insurance coverage is primary over other collectible insurance for the vicarious liability of Plymouth State University.
  • These coverages and limits are to be considered minimum requirements and in no way limit the liability of the Greek organization.
  • This insurance shall be written by a company licensed to do business in New Hampshire with a minimum A.M. Best rating of A-VII.
  • Each policy shall provide for notification to Plymouth State University thirty (30) days prior to termination, material change or restrictive amendments.
  • The insurance companies issuing the policies shall have no recourse against Plymouth State University for payment of any premiums or for any assessments under any form or policy. Plymouth State University reserves the right to request copies of insurance policies.
  • The insurance policies referred to above shall be primary insurance ahead of any insurance carried by Plymouth State University.
  • Greek organization shall provide a certificate of insurance to Plymouth State University evidencing this coverage annually.

All certificates of insurance must have a thirty (30) days’ notice of any change or cancellation of the policy terms. Any such notice should be sent to the Compliance & Planning Office at the address indicated below.

In addition, if a particular insurance policy is due for renewal during the academic year, an updated Certificate of Insurance should be provided no later than fourteen (14) days prior to the expiration date of the existing policy.

Certificates of Insurance and any questions are best directed to:

Plymouth State University
Compliance & Planning Office, MSC 17
17 High Street
Plymouth, NH 03264
dgrotheer@plymouth.edu

The above-specified limits are required minimums only. All fraternity and sorority chapter members and their alumni(ae) are encouraged to review their policies on a regular basis in order to determine whether additional coverage is advisable. The insurance requirements are strictly enforced. Failure to comply may result in immediate revocation of the chapter’s recognition by the University.

Failure to adhere to any of the University’s Greek Life policies will result in individual and or chapter referral to Dean of Students and our conduct office. Sanctions may include suspension of chapter or removal of recognition depending on the type of offense. 

Expansion Policy

The purpose of this policy is to provide order and understanding in the process of expanding a new Greek lettered social organization to the campus of Plymouth State University. Plymouth is open to the expansion of New Greek lettered organizations that contribute to the social and educational enrichment of students and the overall Plymouth State University experience. Plymouth State University will only grant charter to Greek lettered organizations who are affiliated with their National organization. Greek letter organizations must NOT participate in the practice of hazing of potential new members, initiates, or current members of the fraternity/sorority. During colonization potential new organizations are expected to abide by the values of the institutions mission and objectives. By following these guidelines, any group wishing to colonize on our campus will be provided with the opportunity for successful colonization through a process that is a meaningful and rewarding experience for our existing and constantly growing Greek community.

Criteria for Expansion:

For the addition of social Greek letter organizations, the expansion process can begin by any one of the following methods:

  1. An interested group of four or more students submits a letter requesting to establish a new or previously recognized national chapter on our campus to the Office of Student Life.
  2. Through reviewing a formal petition for recognition by an organization coming off a disciplinary loss of University and/or National recognition.
  3. Formal expansion is deemed appropriate by the governing council (NIC, NPHC, NPC, etc.) and national Greek organizations will be invited by the University to participate in this process.

Process for Expansion:

For a New National Chapter:

Upon receiving a written request to establish a new international/national chapter, the Office of Student Life will initiate the following:

  1. National Organization or Student Interest Groups must submit a formal letter of interest to join the campus’ Greek Life community. 
  2. Once reviewed and approved by the Greek Council and Director of Student Life, the organization will be scheduled to do a presentation for council members and student life staff with information about their organization and plan of action should they become approved for colonization.
  3. Upon approval, the interest group (comprised of national recruitment specialist or enrolled student group) requesting a chapter will provide the Office of Greek Life with the information on the “Application for Recognition as a Greek Organization” for review. The Office of Student Life will review the required application information and make a recommendation regarding the request for expansion. 
  4. It is the responsibility of the interest group and/or person(s) applying for expansion to adhere to all Plymouth State University policies and procedures. After reviewing the recommendation and consulting with the Office of Student Life, the VP of CES Life will make a final determination on the expansion request.
  5. If approved, interest groups are given one academic year to initiate members of interest group into the organization and maintain stable membership size of 10 or more individuals. New groups will remain at a colony status until they have reached the minimum of 10 members. 

Application for Recognition as a Greek Organization

Following the acknowledgement of receiving the letter of intent and the approval to move forward from the Greek Council and Director of Student Life, Interest groups will be notified to complete an expansion packet for The Office of Student Life to review, the following information must be submitted in packet form:

Information from the Interest Group Members:

  1. A list of the group’s potential members and their class status and grade point averages.
  2. Two potential campus/faculty advisors and letters from those faculty members verifying their willingness to serve in this capacity.
  3. Statement of purpose for establishing this organization.
  4. Organization Structure
    • Executive officers
      1. Goals and responsibilities for each officer
      2. Leadership training program for each officer
    • Standards/Judicial Board structure
  5. Standards for membership
    • New member education program
  6. Plan for dues and fees and the operation of other chapter finances
    • Dues from national organization
    • Plans for liability insurance
  7. Statement concerning how this organization will contribute to the existing Greek community as well as campus community at Plymouth State University.  
  8. Potential activities, programs, projects and/or the like, for the upcoming school year.

Information from the National Office:

  1. A. Reasons for establishing/re-establishing a chapter at Plymouth State University.
  2. Procedures for establishing a new chapter
  3. Expectations the National Office has of the college
    • Colonization period
    • Number of members needed to initiate colonization process
    • Evaluation procedures to assess needs or other areas of support throughout the colonization period.
  4. Financial support provided by the National Office
    • Dues and fees collected by National Office (Chapter and individual fees)
  5. Policy concerning Hazing
    • Membership Requirements
  6. Pledge education requirements
  7. Commitment from National Office for continuous support to the new chapter
  8. Frequency of campus visits from National Office
  9. List of alumni associations, local alumni, and area collegiate chapters
  • This is to be condensed and presented in the form of PowerPoint/ Prezi which must be sent to the Office of Student Life prior to scheduled presentation. Detailed packet must be printed and handed into the office in packet form. 

Colony/New Chapter Requirements

  1. Within one month of the commencement of colonization, an anticipated timeline for colonization at Plymouth State University must be provided to the Office of Student Life.
  2. Colonies are afforded the privileges given to all recognized Greek Organizations in good standing. The Office of Student Life will discuss expectations concerning recruitment and membership intake activities, prior to chartering, with representatives of the colony.  
  3. During the colonization period, the colony will develop programming in the following areas, with records of these provided as requested by the Office of Student Life. 
    1. Fraternity/Sorority Education
    2. Recruitment/Membership Intake
    3. Scholarship
    4. Officer Training and Transition
    5. Financial Responsibilities
    6. Alumni Relations
    7. Social Programming (to include substance abuse and risk management education)
    8. Community Service
    9. New Member Education and Hazing
  • The colony must have an inter/national representative visit at least once each semester for the duration of the colony. This representative should meet with a staff member from the Office of Student Life at least once a semester.
  • The group must remain a colony for at least one fall or spring academic semester.
  • Failure to meet any of the aforementioned requirements within one year of colonization will result in a review by the Office of Student Life. Can result in suspension of the chapter/colony or the revoking of one’s charter.

Requirements for Good Standing

In order for a chapter to be in good standing, the following requirements must be met:

Annual Report: Each chapter must submit its Annual Report for review as directed by The Office of Student Life.

Finances: Each chapter is required to pay all Office of Student Life, Council, and other university bills on time and in full.

Forms: Each chapter must submit all required forms as directed by Office of Student Life, on their due dates.

GPA: Each chapter is required to achieve at least a 2.5 GPA each semester. Each New Member class is required to achieve at least a 2.0 GPA. If the national standard is higher, then chapters must meet their academic expectations to remain in good standing. 

Insurance: Each chapter shall be required to carry insurance coverage as is deemed necessary by the office of Student Life.  Updated insurance certificates must be submitted as requested.  

Membership Total: All registered fraternities and sororities must have at least eight (8) fully enrolled undergraduate members (initiates/new members) on the roster at all times.

Membership Updates: Each chapter president must update their membership roster as directed by Office of Student Life using the approved platform.  Membership updates take place at least twice per semester.

Programs (Office of Student Life and/or Council Sponsored): Each chapter is required to participate in all workshops, seminars and programs sponsored by Office of Student Life and the Governing Councils.

Recruitment Guidelines: No social Greek lettered organization can extend bids until potential new members have been approved by the office of student life which will be on an updated eligibility form sent out to the chapters at the end of each week during the recruitment period. 

Bids can only be extended after the second week of classes. Organizations should calculate how long their new member programs take to determine when they will conclude with the bid extension process. 

New member intake processes must be concluded and new members must be initiated into the organization two weeks prior to the university scheduled final exam week.

Should organizations go beyond this timeframe, they will be referred to the dean of students for being out of compliance with the Greek Life policies. 

University/Office of Student Life Rules & Policies:  Each chapter and its members must comply with all University and Office of Student Life rules, regulations and policies as they apply to registered fraternities and sororities.

Affiliation: University recognized Greek organizations, will not affiliate with unrecognized groups wearing Greek letters. Affiliation includes but is not limited to: mixers, co-sponsored events, or any events where the recognized organization is supporting the unrecognized group. Recognized chapters out of compliance with this rule will be referred to the office of the Dean of Students.