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Greek life task force appointed after six closures


Cecil Staton


The Daily Reflector

Thursday, July 12, 2018

East Carolina University on Wednesday announced it was forming a 16-member task force to examine its fraternities and sororities and issue recommendations to “strengthen” them by December.

The announcement comes in the wake of suspensions and closures affecting five fraternities and one sorority since May of 2017. Five of the closures have come since January. Several resulted from drug-use, hazing and other violations of campus rules and the rules the national Greek organizations.

Chancellor Cecil Staton appointed the task force. Composed of alumni, faculty, community leaders and students, it will examine national issues facing Greek life on college campuses and the culture of Greek life at ECU, Wednesday’s announcement said.

“Greek organizations on college campuses nationwide are dealing with issues such as hazing-related deaths, incidents of sexual assault and alcohol and drug related infractions. ECU is neither exempt nor immune from this,” Staton said in the release.

“As ECU’s chancellor, I recognize the importance of having a healthy, vibrant thriving Greek life community. It is an important aspect of campus life for many Pirates and because of that, I think it is appropriate for us to further examine Greek life on our campus — where we are and where we’d like to be.”

The task force also will examine current practices surrounding internal governance and accountability of Greek organizations campus councils; review recruitment and education of new Greek organization members; assess current policies and practices for social, educational and other activities engaged in by Greek organizations; and review university governance and oversight of Greek organizations, ECU officials said.

The task force will be co-chaired by Bob Plybon of Greensboro and Kandie Smith of Greenville. Plybon, an ECU alumnus, is CEO of Plybon and Associates and an ECU trustee. Smith is a Greenville City Council member and immediate past president and social action chair of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Other members are:

Megan Ayers, assistant secretary to the Board of Trustees

■ Jon Barnwell, chief of the ECU Police Department

■ Rhys Collins of Cary, an ECU student and president of the Interfraternity Council

■ Jeff Foster of Greenville, a Pitt County Superior Court judge and ECU Board of Visitors member

■ Katy Houser of Philadelphia, Pa., an ECU student and president of the Panhellenic Association

■ Kelly Joyner of Greenville, ECU alumna and local adviser to Alpha Delta Pi sorority

■ Carolina Juanico-Cela of Winston-Salem, an ECU student and president of the Multicultural Greek Council

■ Jordan Koonts of Raleigh, an ECU student and president of the Student Government Association

■ Vonta Leach of Fayetteville, an ECU alumnus, former ECU and NFL football player and Omega Psi Phi member

■ Fielding Miller of Raleigh, CEO of CAPTRUST, ECU alumnus and trustee

■ John Mountz, director of Greek life at ECU

■ Doug Schneider, ECU professor in the College of Business and faculty adviser to Alpha Delta Pi sorority

■ Catherine Staton, Chancellor Staton’s wife and Greek life advocate

■ KJ Staton of Greenville, ECU student and president of the National Panhellenic Council

To accomplish its charge, the task force will collect information, review documents, listen to presentations by subject matter experts, engage in open forums and lead individual targeted discussions, the university announced.

Staton will instruct the panel to provide a final report by Dec. 14, including any recommendations and a timeline for implementation, the announcement said.

The news comes on the heels of a Saturday announcement that ECU sorority Alpha Phi was suspended by its national organization pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation by both Alpha Phi and the university. Neither the university or the organization would identify any allegations against the sorority.

A series of closures began at the university in May 2017 when Sigma Phi Epsilon shuttered its house at 505 E. Fifth St. for multiple hazing and risk management incidents, officials said at the time.

The Delta Chi fraternity closed its chapter indefinitely in January after an investigation that found actions by members constituted hazing and other violations of the fraternity’s policies, the university reported at the time.

Tau Kappa Epsilon also closed its chapter in January through the conclusion of the fall 2021 semester. Neither the university nor the national organization provided details about the closure.

In February, Sigma Alpha Epsilon closed its local chapter for hazing and other policy violations, the university reported at the time. The closure is for a period of four years.

Phi Kappa Tau closed its ECU chapter in May as a result of an investigation it conducted in collaboration with and support of the university. An April 11 police raid at the fraternity house at 409 Elizabeth St. prompted the investigation.

Law enforcement seized 2,500 bars of Xanax, arrested three members and cited another, officials reported at the time. Authorities also reported marijuana was being sold from the house.