A letter from our Faculty Advisor

Hi. For those who didn’t know me while a student, my name is Paula Mohan, I teach in the Political Science department, and I have served as faculty advisor for the fraternity for the last several years.

I thought I would briefly mention some of the initiatives that the alumni have begun during the suspension to build a better relationship with the university and to also discuss some actions that the university is taking that might have an impact on greek relations in the future.

Let me begin by laying out how and who in the university deals with greek organizations. Greek organizations are dealt with through the Division of Student Affairs, which is headed by Dr. Barbara Jones, assistant chancellor. This division consists of anything at the university which deals with students which is essentially non-academic which would include housing, the counselling center, student services, student organizations and others. Under her supervision, Dr. Tisa Mason, the Dean of students, who heads the Office of Student Life, has been designated the primary Greek liaison, though this position is mostly supervisory and administrative. Working within the Office of Student Life, is Ms. Mary Beth Mackin, the associate dean of students, who deals with disciplinary matters. Any Greek student or organization that is dealing with an infraction will meet with her. The two staff members who deal most directly with Greek organizations and students on procedural matters, i.e., membership, paperwork, philanthropic activities, etc., are Ron Buchholz, who heads both the Career Services office and the Leadership Development Center, and Jan Bilgen, who is the associate director of the Leadership Development Center.

From the perspective of the university, the suspension which began in August 2005, will be up August 2007 with the next year devoted to recolonizing the chapter with new members, and the official re-opening of the chapter, hopefully, slated for fall 2008.

In an effort to prevent future suspensions or problems with the active chapter, the alumni have taken the initiative to try to build a better working relationship and to improve communications with the university staff members who work with and supervise Greek organizations. The hope is that if a better, more collaborative relationship could be established, that the alumni would be informed earlier if there is a potential problem and then, both the university and the alumni could work together as partners to resolve the issue.

With this goal in mind, a group of alumni met with Dr. Jones, Dr. Mason, Mr. Buchholz, and Ms. Bilgen on January 16, 2007. The agenda for the meeting, set by Dr. Jones, was to discuss ways to improve communication and to resolve conflicts between the chapter and the university in the hopes of developing a more collaborative relationship. Approximately twenty alumni members from multiple generations, including Chi Delta Rho members, attended the meeting. The meeting began with a prepared statement by Mike Easton, designated spokesperson for the alumni, pledging continued alumni support for the chapter and offering help to the university in supervising the chapter in whatever way would be most useful. Then, there was a more informal discussion about a number of other topics of concern. Both university officials and alumni members were pleased with the meeting and saw it as a good first step towards improving relations. The university officials remarked on the strong commitment they saw from the alumni and thought it was remarkable that so many generations were represented.

The second event of note is that the university got chosen for inclusion in a study of how Greek communities function within a university setting as one of thirteen universities across the country. Being chosen for this study meant that a group of national greek consultants- among them, a Lambda Chi Alpha- came to campus on March 8-9, 2007 and conducted focus groups with different constituency groups to attempt to gauge what the perception of greek life is and how the greek communities are viewed and supported by both other students and by the university. Tom Boelk sat on a focus group of alumni advisors and impressed everyone with the length of time he’d served as advisor and with his commitment to his fraternity. A “blue ribbon commission”, made up of university staff, faculty, community members, and students has been formed and will begin to meet as soon as the report from the consultants is made available. The goal of the commission is to implement some reforms on campus to improve the ways in which greek communities operate and to support them in what they do, based on the recommendations of the report.

The report is due back to the university any day now and, as soon as it arrives, the commission will begin to meet. I have been appointed to the commission, and I will be reporting to the alumni what the findings of the national consultants are as soon as I see them. I would also be very grateful for any feedback or suggestions that anyone has to help improve the way greek organizations are treated at UWW that I could take back to the commission. If you have any suggestions, please email me at: mohanp@uww.edu

I’d also like to welcome anyone who can make it to one of the alumni association meetings. We meet every few months, based mostly on whether there is a pressing issue that has to be addressed. There is a mailing list of those who attend regularly, and anyone who would like his name added, please let me know, too. I’m sure that these meetings, which usually happen in Whitewater, will be advertised on the alumni webpage, too.

Finally, I would like to call attention and acknowledge some of the alumni members who have been actively working on behalf of the fraternity since the suspension. It shows real commitment to travel to Whitewater to attend these meetings after working all day long, but these guys have done it consistently. While many have helped in lots of ways, I would like to specifically single out and acknowledge: Marty Hoke, Terry Lawler, Kevin Grabowski, Mike Easton, Bob Hazod, Darren Hafford, Luke Villwock, Don Reinbold, Andy Ellinger, Ramiro Paz, Mark “Lurch” Litscher, Brian Worth, Red Moeller, and especially, Tom Boelk, whose commitment to the chapter continues to awe me. I also know that others would like to attend, but cannot because of work or family responsibilities, other commitments, or sheer distance. But, as others have said, there will be lots of opportunities to help in the future in many ways- so stay tuned.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.