We agree with the university that the health and safety of students in the campus community must be a top priority. We need to hold students accountable who are not meeting our shared expectations.
However, Lehigh’s “pause” negatively impacts students who are following the rules and is not the right way to address its concerns—other campuses have modeled a better way to solve issues by bringing all stakeholders to the table in collaboration to create meaningfully, long-term change.
As we have said previously, blanket community actions against all fraternities and sororities that prohibit positive activities don’t work. Among other concerns, they disincentivize following the rules and taking care of each other, since responsible students are treated just like their peers causing problems. Blanket actions also erode trust between campus partners and students, alumni and inter/national organizations, because these actions come off as unilateral, lacking basic principles of due process.
We implore the university to bring all parties to the table in a meaningful way to seek a path forward that places the highest priority on the health and safety of students, while respecting the rights of those who are doing the right thing.
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January 29, 2020