NIC Position: In order to achieve fraternal excellence, fraternities must be held to high standards. Organizational adjudication process should be fundamentally fair and rooted in an equitable investigative process that treats a chapter as not responsible unless there is information to support a responsibility finding after all parties fulfill their due diligence and fact finding process.
By January 1, 2022, each host institution should include the following elements in their organizational conduct processes:
- Establish direct communication between the inter/national organization and host institution responsible for investigative duties as soon as practicability possible after allegations arise to mutually prepare local chapter level notification and determine the level of partnership and continued contact at each step in the process.
- The case should be adjudicated within 25 academic business days from receiving the allegation barring any non-compliance related to applicable interim action or investigation deadlines requests. This timeline excludes appeals. If the process cannot be adjudicated within the 25 academic business days, specific and credible reasons must be provided in writing to the organization as to why an extension is necessary. This element excludes cases involving Title IX complaints in which the guidance provided by the Department of Education must be followed.
- Provide in writing all potential policy violations and findings at least seven days in advance of a resolution meeting or in accordance with the individual student notification procedures outlined in the host institution’s policies and procedures.
- Limitations placed on a chapter by an interim action should be specific and appropriate to the nature of the allegation and should not exceed 25 academic business days. If interim action needs to be extended, the chapter shall be given an opportunity to appeal.
- Allow an approved advisor and an inter/national organization staff member to be present, in person, phone or video conference, at the resolution meeting(s) that may occur as a result of an investigation.
- Provide the organization with a detailed summary of the initial report and investigation findings, and create a meaningful opportunity for the chapter to address the potential policy violations and supporting documentation.
- Prior allegations where a chapter was found not responsible should not be considered in determining responsibility and sanctioning for a current case.
- Provide a mutual agreement process that allows for chapter and organizational input. This process should include the chapter accepting responsibility and working in tandem with institutional staff and their inter/national organization staff to develop an action plan.
- Provide a resolution meeting with decision-makers that are objective and properly trained in student development theory, sorority and fraternity affairs, as well as identifying root causes and assess outcomes that effectively change behavior.
- Provide a meaningful opportunity to appeal to a person/body other than the party of original adjudication.
- Loss of chapter recognition should not exceed the term following the undergraduate graduation of all collegiate members in the chapter at the time of the final outcome.
- Honor written return agreements between the host institution and member organizations as an institution and not on behalf of the individual holding the position at the time of the agreement.
- Because student safety is a top priority of the conference, NIC members support holding chapters and individuals accountable for violating the law, organizational policies, and institutional policies.
- Host institutions should expect that all members of the NIC view accountability to their standards as a top priority.
- Host institutions should expect that all NIC members desire to collaborate with the host institution in adjudication processes that are grounded in the concepts outlined above.
- The NIC supports adjudicating organizational violations only when the conduct is truly organization, as opposed to individual, in nature. Individual wrongdoing that has little or no relationship to an accused’s organizational affiliation should be pursued on an individual basis.
- The NIC supports holding individuals accountable for their conduct that may be discovered during an organizational investigation and consideration should be given to the following:
a. The incident/allegation could be individual conduct alone, or
b. The incident/allegation could be a combination of individual and organizational conduct and should be considered during adjudication.
- The NIC supports and encourages robust student self-governance when not prohibited by law. The NIC supports and is itself dedicated to training students regarding peer accountability strategies and processes. We believe this is crucial in student development and creating lasting change in campus communities.
- Early and direct communication between all stakeholders, including the inter/national organization, will help build confidence in the integrity of the adjudication process.
- Fair process for those accused of wrongdoing is a bedrock principle of the United States. Student and organizational conduct processes should thus be fair in principle and in operation and should be publicly documented and available for review. Those who are responsible for carrying out the processes should be adequately trained in doing so and should, at all times, act as objective arbiters. The accused should be provided ample explanation of the accusations and the process of adjudication.
- Although these processes involve students and should be educational and developmental where possible, they should also mimic the fundamental legal protections that are deeply rooted in the fabric of this country. The NIC advocates for foundational principles of due process to be present – including proper, advance, specific notice, and a fair and meaningful resolution meeting at which the accused is given a chance to present its findings to an objective and properly trained decision maker.