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Recognition Policy

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This policy is effective as of February 21, 2022. This policy will be reviewed at the conclusion of the 2021-2022 academic year and annually each year thereafter.

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I. Purpose

This policy constitutes Stanford University’s procedure for the conferral, removal, or reinstatement of recognition for social fraternities and sororities. This policy applies to all social fraternities and sororities as defined in Appendix A that operate without a residence, or within a University-owned or managed property, as well as off campus. This policy may be amended, rescinded, or superseded at any time by action of the Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs for Inclusion, Community and Integrative Learning (Associate Vice Provost) or their designee. 

This policy enables the University to maintain a record of fraternities and sororities of which Stanford students are members. Additionally, this policy permits the University to readily identify fraternities and sororities that are eligible for the benefits and privileges extended to recognized student organizations. Benefits and privileges as outlined in this policy, or any other University policy, are subject to the availability of University resources for the purposes specified and do not constitute entitlements. 

Moreover, this policy illustrates how fraternities and sororities may have recognition removed for non-disciplinary reasons pursuant to this policy, and for disciplinary matters pursuant to the Stanford Group Accountability Process (SGAP). This policy is grounded in the following assumptions:

  1. Fraternities and sororities are committed to advancing the mission of Stanford University and supporting the well-being and development of students.  
  2. All fraternities and sororities are required by Stanford University to be affiliated with an  inter/national organization in order to be recognized by the University.
  3. Stanford requires that the inter/national organization recognize the Stanford chapter. 

This policy supplements the student organization registration process and establishes additional requirements for fraternities and sororities to be eligible for the benefits and privileges extended to recognized student groups.  

Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) may adopt additional standards, operating principles and procedures outside of this policy as deemed necessary or appropriate to facilitate the implementation of this policy.

II. Definition of Recognition

Recognition is the formal process by which Stanford University determines that a fraternity or sorority may identify with the institution, operate on campus, enroll members from the undergraduate student body through recruitment and intake activities, and benefit from the privileges afforded to recognized student organizations.

III. Eligibility for Recognition

Fraternal organizations eligible for recognition under this policy must have the following characteristics: 

  1. Be legal entities separate from Stanford University. 
  2. Be entitled to be subjectively selective in their membership within the limits of the University's non-discrimination policies.
  3. Single sex fraternal organizations shall be entitled to single sex membership consistent with regulations promulgated pursuant to Title IX of the U.S. Education Act Amendments of 1972 and such other laws or regulations as may apply (see Appendix A).
  4. Be recognized by an inter/national organization.

IV. Conferral, Modification and Continuation of Recognition

Recognition may be conferred or modified by the Associate Vice Provost or their designee consistent with the provisions of this policy. Moreover, recognition may be removed as described in Section IX: Removal of Recognition. Fraternities and sororities are required to continue to meet the expectations of recognition each year to remain fully recognized, as described further below. 

V. Recognition Status

A fraternity or sorority is designated one of three recognition levels: Full, Provisional, or Probationary.  

The chapter and the inter/national headquarters will be notified in writing of a change in status by the Assistant Dean and Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL)  or their designee.

VI. Full Recognition

Full Recognition signifies the fraternity or sorority has fulfilled all expectations for recognition. Chapters are required to fulfill the expectations outlined below each year to sustain Full Recognition.

  1. Each fraternity or sorority seeking Full Recognition must fulfill the following expectations and obligations of recognition:
    1. Maintain a membership of at least five undergraduate Stanford students, though an exception to this provision may be granted by the Assistant Dean and Director of FSL or their designee for a specified period of time.
    2. Adherence with all the expectations in the accreditation program, known as the Standards of Excellence.
    3. Adherence with all University policies, rules and regulations, including the CORE 10 Student Organization Policies.
    4. Cooperation with all relevant stakeholders in the application of the Stanford Group Accountability Process related to disciplinary matters.
    5. Maintain an alumni advisor(s) who serves as a genuine and continuing resource to the chapter and maintains regular communication with Fraternity and Sorority Life staff and adheres to all University expectations of chapter advisors. 
    6. Provide proof of insurance coverage in alignment with University expectations outlined here
    7. Acceptance into one of the University recognized governing councils and adherence to council policies and regulations:
      1. African American Fraternal & Sororal Association (AAFSA); Interfraternity Council (IFC); Inter-Sorority Council (ISC); Multicultural Greek Council (MGC). 
    8. Be recognized by the inter/national organization. 
  2. Upon Full Recognition a fraternity or sorority is eligible for the privileges and benefits afforded to all recognized and registered student organizations, referenced here, as well as the following:
    1. Participation in University membership recruitment and intake processes, as articulated and monitored by FSL and the governing council.
    2. Participation in the educational, social, and athletic programs and activities through FSL. 
    3. Utilization of resources made available by FSL to support the operations and development of fraternal organizations.
    4. Eligibility to apply to reside in a University-managed residential facility through the Fraternity and Sorority Life housing allocation process if and when housing is available. Housing is NOT guaranteed for any chapter recognized at Stanford University. 
  3. Full Recognition of City-Wide Chapters 

City-wide fraternities and sororities where undergraduate membership is drawn from other colleges or universities along with Stanford University that meet the requirements described above may be considered for recognition if approved by the Assistant Dean and Director of FSL. 

The chapter’s city-wide charter must be affiliated with Stanford University. Moreover, only the membership drawn from Stanford University will be recognized by the University as the official chapter. Members from other colleges and universities will be considered "guests" of the fraternity or sorority and the recognized chapter is responsible for the actions of their guests. 

In the event the president of the city-wide chapter is not a Stanford undergraduate student, a Stanford undergraduate member must be designated as an official liaison between FSL and the chapter. That student will be expected to participate in a presidential capacity within FSL. In order to access funding from Stanford University, the financial officer of the chapter must be a Stanford undergraduate student.

In the event no Stanford University students are active members of the city-wide chapter, the chapter will be considered Dormant as outlined in Section VII(B).

VII. Provisional Recognition

Provisional Recognition describes the University's conditional approval of recognition for a fraternity or sorority during a specified time period. Provisional Recognition may only be granted in the following circumstances:

  1. A previously recognized fraternity or sorority is seeking reinstatement following a period of being unrecognized, as described in Section XI, Reinstatement.
  2. A fraternity or sorority is deemed Dormant as defined in Section VII(B). 

Provisional Recognition may be modified or removed for disciplinary or non-disciplinary reasons as provided in Section VIII: Probationary Recognition, Section IX: Removal of Recognition, and Section XI(C), Progress Review.

1. Returning Status

A fraternity or sorority seeking reinstatement following a period of being unrecognized and that meets the requirements provided in Section XI, Reinstatement, may be granted Provisional Recognition by the Associate Vice Provost. Such a chapter is considered on Returning Status, and is expected to adhere to all the expectations of Full Recognition. A Provisionally Recognized chapter on Returning Status will also be afforded the benefits and privileges provided in Section VI, with the exception of eligibility to apply for or reside in a University-managed residential chapter facility. Chapters on Returning Status may also be subject to restrictions from the affiliated governing council as stated in their governing documents.

2. Dormant Status

A chapter having difficulty meeting the requirements for Full Recognition may elect to become Dormant for a period of up to three quarters by informing the Assistant Dean and Director of FSL of their intention. Dormant chapters are considered Provisionally Recognized, but do not have the benefits and privileges afforded to chapters that are on Full Recognition, nor do they have to comply with all the expectations of such chapters. 

  1. Requirements of a chapter to remain Provisionally Recognized as Dormant are:
    1. Less than five active undergraduate members enrolled at the institution, though an exception to this provision may be granted by the Assistant Dean and Director of FSL or their designee.
    2. Active undergraduate members maintain communication with FSL staff. 
    3. Chapter Advisor maintains communication with FSL staff.
    4. Inter/national organization continues to recognize the chapter at Stanford University.
  2. Dormant chapters do not have the benefits and privileges afforded to recognized and registered student organizations, nor those provided in this policy to chapters on Full Recognition or Returning Status. 
  3. Dormant chapters that confirm to FSL their intention to meet the expectations to be fully recognized may conduct the following activities: 
    1. Meet with Fraternity and Sorority Life and the Chapter Advisor in relation to the restoration of chapter operations, including electing officers, building a budget, and planning for recruitment and/or intake activities. 
    2. Reserve space on campus with approval from FSL in relation to the restoration of chapter operations and pursuit of Full Recognition. 

If a chapter on Dormant Status does not meet the requirements described above by the end of the third quarter of Dormancy, or demonstrate sufficient progress towards doing so as determined by the Assistant Dean and Director of FSL, the chapter will be deemed unrecognized. 

VIII. Probationary Recognition

Probationary Recognition signifies the University’s determination that a fraternity or sorority is in need of support and guidance in order to demonstrate the ability to adhere to the expectations of Full Recognition and/or compliance with University policies. A chapter may be placed on Probationary Recognition for disciplinary or for non-disciplinary matters as follows:

  1. Failure to meet the criteria for Full Recognition, including the expectations outlined in the Standards of Excellence.
  2. For groups on Returning Status, failure to make satisfactory progress toward Full Recognition or to comply with the conditions set forth by FSL.
  3. In relation to disciplinary action or behavior as adjudicated by the Stanford Group Accountability Process

For non-disciplinary matters (a and b above), the Assistant Dean and Director of FSL or their designee  may place a chapter on Probationary Recognition. For disciplinary matters (c above), such change in recognition will automatically occur when a chapter receives a sanction of Probation or Probation with Restrictions through the Stanford Group Accountability Process

Probationary Recognition may include temporary withdrawal of any or all privileges and benefits of recognition outlined in this policy, including but not limited to hosting events, parties, or reserving space on campus. 

Official notification of Probationary Recognition will be shared in writing with the undergraduate leadership, chapter advisor, and inter/national headquarters by FSL. Probationary Recognition expires at the end of the specified period, unless renewed or extended by FSL in consultation with relevant stakeholders, or as determined through the Stanford Group Accountability Process. The chapter may be restored to Full or Provisional Recognition status upon completion of the conditions of the probationary period and demonstrated compliance with the expectations in this policy

IX. Removal of Recognition

  1. Removal of recognition for a fraternity or sorority may be initiated under this policy for non-disciplinary matters by the Assistant Dean and Director of FSL, or their designee, in the event the chapter is no longer recognized by the inter/national organization, an organization fails to meet the expectations during Returning Status, or a period of Dormant Status expires without progress towards Full Recognition.
  2. In the event a chapter is deemed unaccredited in two consecutive years under the Standards of Excellence, the matter will be referred to the Recognition Review Panel. The panel will be comprised of five students, staff, and faculty with a minimum of 2 FSL affiliated students. The panel will review previous SOE materials and meet with chapter leadership. The panel will make recommendations regarding the removal of recognition to the Assistant Dean and Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, or their designee. The Assistant Dean and Director of FSL will make a decision and inform the chapter in writing. 
  3. The chapter may submit an appeal to the Associate Vice Provost for Inclusion, Community, and Integrative Learning within 25 days of receipt of the notice. The Associate Vice Provost has 10 days to respond and their decision is final. 
  4. Loss of recognition will be for a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years.  Following that period, the chapter will be considered eligible for reinstatement as outlined in Section XI.
  5. Removal of Recognition may also result from disciplinary matters adjudicated by the Stanford Group Accountability Process, as described in that policy.

 

 

Official notification of loss of recognition will be shared in writing with the undergraduate leadership, chapter advisor, and inter/national headquarters by FSL prior to a public announcement from the Division of Student Affairs. The notification will articulate the length of time and conditions that must be met before a chapter may petition to return to Stanford University (see Section XI). 

X. Unrecognized Fraternities and Sororities

Unrecognized chapters or organizations are defined as fraternities or sororities that are not designated a recognition status by the University. These include fraternities or sororities that may have previously been recognized but lost recognition or organizations that have never been established at Stanford. Unrecognized chapters and organizations are not afforded any of the benefits or privileges of recognized student organizations under University policy, including  affiliating with Stanford University, reserving space on campus, or participating in any formal or informal recruitment events or activities.

XI. Reinstatement

This section applies to fraternities and sororities that are seeking reinstatement of recognition from Stanford University where the chapter has been unrecognized by the University for eight years or less from the date of departure from the University.

The date of departure shall be the date of the formal notice of departure sent to the chapter by FSL, or the date of the final conduct letter informing the chapter of their loss of recognition if no formal notice was provided by FSL. If neither of the above apply, the date of departure shall be determined by the FSL professional staff in consultation with the Associate Vice Provost. 

A. Application for Reinstatement

A chapter that meets the above criteria may apply for reinstatement through Fraternity and Sorority Life by submitting an application with the information detailed in Appendix B. 

The application will be reviewed by FSL within 10 business days to ensure that the requirements outlined in Appendix B are satisfied. If any required application materials are missing, FSL shall provide notice to the organization and give them an opportunity to provide the missing materials. If the chapter does not provide the required materials within 10 business days, FSL may deny the application. Following a review by FSL to ensure that requirements contained in Appendix B are satisfied, the application will be forwarded to the relevant governing council for review. 

The relevant governing council will review the submitted materials and will provide their recommendation regarding the application, including a vote by the delegates, to the Associate Vice Provost within 20 business days. The governing council recommendation should include the outcome of the council vote and a short summary of the council's rationale. The decision by the Governing Council will be considered advisory to the Associate Vice Provost and not prescriptive.  

The Associate Vice Provost will review the materials submitted by the Chapter, the governing council’s recommendation, and will consult with any University staff or individuals the Associate Vice Provost deems necessary to make their decision.  The Associate Vice Provost will make a determination regarding whether to provide Provisional Recognition to the chapter and will inform the inter/national organization within 10 business days. Full Recognition may then be granted by the Associate Vice Provost following the progress review described below.  

B. Reestablishment Process

If approved, the organization will be deemed Provisionally Recognized under Return Status (see Section VII(A)). The inter/national organization will work with FSL to establish a plan to meet all expectations related to Full Recognition outlined in Section VI(A) as well as the following expectations during the first year of reestablishment:

  1. A membership equal to half the chapter size of the largest chapter for the relevant governing council or at least a minimum of five active members if the expected chapter size for the relevant governing council is below the minimum expectation.
  2. Participate fully in the accreditation program known as the Standards of Excellence; though the returning organization will be granted accommodations during the first year of participating in the accreditation process. 

C. Progress Review

Approximately one year after returning to campus, the inter/national organization, alumni advisor, and student leadership will meet with the Assistant Dean and Director of FSL and their FSL Advisor, to discuss progress and assess the need for additional support and resources to be successful. The progress review will focus on the measures of success described above. The outcome of a successful review is Full Recognition as provided in Section VI.

The Assistant Dean and Director of FSL or their designee may rescind Provisional Recognition if the returning organization has not demonstrated progress towards Full Recognition or if it is mutually understood between FSL and the inter/national organization that additional support and resources may not contribute to progress towards Full Recognition.  A chapter may appeal this decision as described in Section IX above.  

Arches in quad. Credit: Chuck Painter / Stanford News Service

Recognition Policy - Appendix A: Definitions

Stanford University. Inner Quad area through arches. Credit: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

Recognition Policy - Appendix B: Reinstatement Application Materials