Appendix VII. Implementation of the Report of the Committee to Study Fraternities, 1974

Office of the Dean of Students, May 31, 1974


At its meeting of June 2, 1972, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Ralph K. Gottshall, announced that a special committee to study fraternities would be appointed. This committee would be directed to survey the current fraternity situation in order to discover and delineate existing problems, to examine the possible andprobable causes of these problems, and to advise the Board of Trustees of the ways in which these problems might be attacked. The Committee was asked to focus special attention upon financial and maintenance obligations and the respective responsibilities of undergraduate chapters, alumni corporations and the College.

The Committee to Study Fraternities, chaired by Trustee Eugene Thore began its study in November 1972. The committee, consisting of alumni, trustees, faculty and students, met with fraternity presidents, alumni corporation representatives and members of the College administration. A report was filed with the Board of Trustees in June 1973 for study and action. After consideration by all board committees, the Board, in January 1974, offered the following initial responses:

  1. That the Board receive the Report of the Special Committee to Study Fraternities with appreciation for the care, thoroughness and sensitivity that have been invested in it and its recommendations.
  2. That the Board concur with the Committee to Study Fraternities in recognizing the good contributions made by fraternities to the life of the College during the decades of their existence.
  3. That the Board agree that changing circumstances place demand for new definition of appropriate operating conditions that may preserve the best in and of the fraternity tradition at Lafayette and that at this time this appreciation and understanding requires that the Board establish certain policies for all fraternities, though not all need them.

The Board of Trustees has reviewed the recommendations of the special committee and, in some cases, modified them to meet particular Board concerns. By Board actions, certain recommendations now become requirements; others are commended to alumni corporations and undergraduate chapters for implementation.

The Report of the Committee to Study Fraternities has been edited to incorporate the recommendations of the Report and Board actions into a single document. This reformulation is presented as follows:

I. Requirements of the Board of Trustees regarding financial operation.

II. Requirements of the Board of Trustees regarding maintenance and safety.

III. Recommendations of the Board of Trustees regarding organization and program.

IV. Recommendations of the Board of Trustees to the College Administration.

It is the intent of the Board of Trustees that the requirements and recommendations contained in this Statement be implemented by undergraduate chapters, alumni corporations and the College administration as quickly as possible. For certain requirements, specific dates of compliance are established. The statements in this document now have the effect of Board policy and the College administration is directed to advise the Board of compliance by Lafayette fraternities. Alumni Corporations and undergraduate chapters are asked to respond thoughtfully and promptly to these recommendations.

I. Requirements of the Board of Trustees Regarding Financial Operation.

In view of experience with recurring need over many years for the College to lend funds to restore residences, or make required improvements because fraternity management had not provided for adequate insurance and reserves, and in light of fire damage in fraternity houses, the Board requires, as a condition of continued recognition and lease of land,

A. That alumni corporations of privately owned fraternity houses maintain insurance coverage at a level regarded as adequate in the joint judgement of the Trustee Committees on Financial Policy and Grounds and Buildings. The following items are considered as basic to a minimum coverage program:

  1. Fire insurance on house: 80% of replacement value based on an evaluation no older than five years.
  2. Fire insurance on contents: $25,000 or other realistic figure.
  3. Public liability: Minimum of $500,000 $1,000,000 coverage, plus $25,000 property damage.
  4. Extended coverage and vandalism and malicious mischief on the building and contents..
  5. Workmen’s Compensation and employees liability insurance.
  6. Product insurance (food: $25,000).
  7. Boiler coverage.
  8. Bonding of undergraduate and alumni corporation financially responsible-officers to a limit equal to the total amount of funds to which they have access.

(Effective date: October 1, 1974)

B. That undergraduate chapters and alumni corporations work together in establishing several classes of reserve funds at a level regarded as adequate in the joint judgment of the Trustee Committees on Financial Policy and Grounds and buildings. Reserve fund categories should include the following:

  1. Operating – A cushion in month-to-month budgeting.
  2. Breakage- A reserve to cover damage other than from normal wear and tear, through a one-time breakage deposit (e.g. $25) paid by members or through the establishment of a dollar figure fund (e.g. $200).
  3. Minor Maintenance – A reserve to cover repair or replacement of furnishings and equipment: definable by kind or cost limit, (e.g. less than $1,000). There must be a reserve covering the kitchen and public and private room furnishings and equipment with amounts set as follows:
    1. Kitchen and dining room equipment and furnishings reserve — 4% to 5% of gross commissary income per year;
    2. Public Room decorations and furnishings – rate determined by estimating the current replacement cost of all sofas, chairs, tables, floor coverings, window and wall decorations, lamps, etc., in the public rooms, and dividing by 5 (the number of years of estimated life). On a model of 40 brothers and $5,000 estimated current replacement cost, the rate would be $1,000 per year or $25 per member;
    3. Private Room furnishings rate determined by estimating the current replacement cost of all beds (and mattresses unless rented), desk, chairs, chests, decorations, etc., furnished by the fraternity to individual residents, and dividing by 10 (the number of years of estimated life). The wide variation in the extent to which corporations furnish student rooms will result in a broad range of rates in this category.
  4. Major Maintenance – A reserve to cover capital repair, correcting a defect in a part of the building, essential to the use of the structure as a whole, as a new roof, new furnace new bathroom: definable by kind or cost limit (e.g. more than $1,000). An amount should be set aside annually to accumulate within 10 years about 1/8 of the current value of the building. The fund should be in a form allowing appreciation; money removed from the reserve for major repairs should be replaced within one year. At a minimum, this reserve should increase in value at the rate of $2,000 per year.
  5. Sinking Fund – A reserve to cover major addition to, modification of, or replacement of the building. The corporation should set aside annually enough to accumulate within 20 years at least 1/3 of the estimated replacement cost of the building. (Note: Because physical plants and mortgage conditions vary greatly, the Board does not make mandatory the establishment of a sinking fund of this magnitude. The Board does, strongly encourage this approach.)

(Effective date: October 1, 1974)

C. That alumni corporations require that their chapters comply with National requirements concerning financial and house maintenance reports.

D. That alumni corporations require that chapters submit to them certain financial reports as follows:

  1. Income and expense budget at start of each term.
  2. Periodic comparison of actual versus budgeted income and expenses.
  3. Opening balance sheet, interim balance sheets, and closing balance sheet.

That undergraduate Chapters and alumni corporations adopt budget guidelines as follows:

  1. Undergraduate Revenue – Commissary fees, social fees, and dues.
  2. Alumni Revenue – Rents and parlor fees.
    Alumni Expenditures – Minor maintenance, major maintenance, sinking fund reserves, insurance, and new items in addition to replacements.
  3. Alumni or Undergraduate Revenue – Operating fees.
    Alumni or Undergraduate Expenditures – Breakage, reserve, water, heat, electricity, gas, sewage, houseman, taxes on houseman’s wages, and cleaning supplies.
  4. Budgets should be prepared before charges are determined, and no later than August 1. Charges should reflect the income needs determined in each budget preparation.
  5. While budgets should be prepared on a yearly basis, they should be broken down to indicate semester income and expenses, and indeed should be planned by the month. Income and expenses can vary from first to second semester each year and proper budgeting should reflect this. A monthly account of expenses for every line in the budget should be established.
  6. The undergraduate budget should accumulate over the first three years an operating surplus of approximately $1,000, and maintain this amount annually in order to meet contingencies and to have adequate funds to begin the following year.

F. That undergraduates establish a ruling, with alumni help if needed, which would require all members to eat in the house dining room except those with strong and compelling reasons to the contrary. Since about 40% of a fair price for board is composed of fixed charges, it is essential that a dining room operate at a near full capacity. Other wise, some students will subsidize others.

G. That alumni corporations require undergraduate chapters to pay for all housing spaces each semester. Income lost because of vacancies can be extremely detrimental to the sound financial development of a fraternity. In order to encourage full occupancy, we recommend that the alumni corporation require the active chapter to submit payment for all spaces each semester. This will require the active chapter to faithfully rent all spaces or to make up the difference from social or other operating funds. House corporations and undergraduate chapters should work out a required occupancy figure and then establish the requirements of payment for full occupancy.

H. That Alumni Corporations require their undergraduates to adopt billing procedures whereby semester undergraduate chapter bills for all charges other than room rent will be sent by the undergraduate treasurer to parents at least 15 days before the beginning of each semester, with the exception of certain hardship cases if definite plans have been made for monthly or bi-monthly payments. A reasonable but definite due date should be established for semester bills, after which follow-up contact can be made regarding collection. There should be no outstanding accounts receivable after May 10 of each year.

I. That each alumni corporation engage the services of an accountant who shall check the active chapter books each month in order to suggest altering expenditures if anticipated income decreases and to guide the active treasurer regarding proper financial procedures. This accountant should submit a bi-monthly report and an annual report to the alumni corporation treasurer. He should be responsible to the alumni corporation only. The accountant should accomplish his work at the chapter house in order to avoid removing the books from the active treasurer’s possession.

J. That undergraduate chapters have their Treasurer and any other financially responsible officers bonded.

II. Requirements of the Board of Trustees Regarding Maintenance and Safety

A. In view of recurring instances of failure to maintain an adequate program of housekeeping and current maintenance, each alumni corporation is required to arrange for at least three inspections annually of its chapter house by an agency (possibly a committee of qualified alumni) acceptable to the Committee on Grounds and Buildings and submit a written report of the observations to the Office of the Dean of Students (for sharing with the Office of Physical Planning and Operations). If requested by an Alumni Corporation, the Office of Physical Planning and operations will arrange for such inspection by its own personnel or others at an appropriate rate of compensation. These reports should be received by the Office of the Dean of Students by September 15, February 1 and June 1 of each year.

B. That undergraduate chapters establish, in conjunction with alumni corporations, certain procedures to insure adequate day-to-day maintenance. In day-to-day maintenance, it is vital that undergraduates clearly understand their responsibility; alumni corporations should make special efforts to inform each newly elected president and “houseman” of who pays for what and how repairs are initiated. We recommend that alumni corporations and undergraduates establish a dollar limit beneath which the undergraduate chapter should initiate repairs immediately and above which consultation with the alumni corporation must occur before repairs are initiated. With regard to emergency repairs, such as broken pipes, we recommend that the active brothers should initiate these repairs by hiring the proper mechanic, after which an alumni officer who has the right of approval should be contacted.

C. That undergraduate chapters, in conjunction with alumni corporations, arrange to obtain not less than 20 hours per week of serious custodial services, primarily, but not limited to, public areas; that trash be removed from all rooms daily.

D. That each fraternity appoint or elect a member to the position of fire marshal. The duties of the fire marshal would include:

  1. Seeing that all fire extinguishers are always up-to-date as to contents and inspections, and that all fire extinguishers remain in their established places.
  2. Establishing a system of checking the entire house from top to bottom every night after members have retired, especially after parties.
  3. Approving of decorations for parties only if the materials pass a rigid pre-testing process.
  4. Being constantly alert for fire hazards and taking immediate action to remove or correct the hazard (i.e., inflammables in the house, poor house cleaning, etc.).
  5. Holding unannounced fire drills to evacuate the house, especially at night from sleeping rooms.
  6. Reporting to the chapter president any member who is uncooperative in helping to eliminate any fire hazard in or around the house.
  7. Soliciting the cooperation of all members to report any fire hazard they cannot correct themselves.
  8. Making a report at all chapter and corporationmeetings on the activities of his office.

E. That undergraduates inform the College and the alumni corporation of anyone residing in the house during each vacation period, and that they take certain precautions which would improve vacation security. These precautions should include the inspection of locking hardware prior to each vacation to insure its proper operation and the requesting of daily security checks by College security staff.

III. Recommendations of the Board of Trustees Regarding Organizations and Program

A. That the alumni corporations actively support the Alumni Interfraternity Board so that its full potential may be realized.

B. That alumni corporations hold four meetings each year at which matters of finance and maintenance are discussed. Attending these meetings should be the undergraduate president, the undergraduate treasurer, the undergraduate fire marshal, and other undergraduates as requested by the alumni or felt appropriate by the undergraduate president.

C. That alumni corporations counsel undergraduates on matters such as scholarship, social issues, and extracurricular activities.

D. That each alumni corporation take steps to actively encourage the undergraduate chapter to adopt all recommendations addressed to them in this report.

E. That fraternities be encouraged to cooperate and interact more among themselves, and with the rest of the College community in the area of social, community service, and educational activities. Since all fraternities sponsor social activities, which usually occur on the same weekend, fraternities could reduce special budgets and promote more of a community spirit by planning social activities together on given weekends. Also, since fraternity members seem to desire more community service activities, fraternities could avoid duplication of efforts by coordinating their efforts and having members from several houses participate in a given community service or educational activity. Finally, more interaction with the entire College community in these areas would help eliminate some of the atmosphere of isolation which seems to be fostered by the fraternities.

F. That officers of fraternities be encouraged to obtain complete information on the services available from their Nationals, and to inform their members of these services and encourage them to utilize them to the fullest extent. That fraternities keep the College informed of the services which their respective Nationals offer. Since it appears that the fraternities wish to maintain their association with National organizations, they should make use of the many and varied services offered by Nationals.

G. That undergraduate officers extend every encouragement to members regarding the attainment and maintenance of scholastic excellence and strive to assure living conditions in fraternities that are conducive to scholastic achievement.

IV. Recommendations of the Board of Trustees to the College Administration.

Certain recommendations of the Committee to Study Fraternities were addressed to the College Administration. The Board concurs with these recommendations and commends them to the President of the College for implementation.

A. That the College take no major steps to expand or reduce the number of fraternities on the campus or to rescue chronically weak fraternities. Studies indicate that there may be too many fraternities on campus at the present time. Since the introduction of women to the campus has reduced the number of men and made rush more competitive, it may be advisable to reduce the number of fraternities on campus which would strength- en the remaining fraternities. Such a reduction of fraternities would mean that more men would be available to each remaining group, thereby reducing the fierce competition for members. A reduction of competition would, hopefully, then provide for more cooperation among chapters in the areas of social, community service, and educational activities.

B. That the College allow women’s fraternities or social groups to develop if and when the women express a desire for such groups. Since one of the basic conclusions reached by the Committee is that well-run fraternities are an asset to the College, and since the College has committed itself to coeducation, it follows that if women desire women’s fraternities or social groups, and if they assume the initiative in forming them, then they should be encouraged with the condition that they would have the same initial financial basis as men’s fraternities in the establishment of facilities on the campus.

C. That in view of the expense and uncertainty involved, the College not attempt to provide carpenters, electricians and plumbers to service repairs in privately owned fraternity houses; that fraternities be authorized, however, to request advice from the Plant Operations Office regarding finding qualified mechanics.

D. That, in the absence of an effective Interfraternity Council, the Dean of Students or his representatives continue regular meetings with undergraduate presidents, and send copies of the minutes of each meeting to alumni corporation presidents.

E. That the College continue the present policy of inspecting College owned fraternity physical plants three times per year, and send copies of inspection reports to alumni corporation presidents.

F. That the College not purchase furniture for fraternities at reduced rates because of tax status problems; that the College offer to discuss furniture and equipment purchases with undergraduates and alumni corporations and suggest vendors who can be contacted directly.

G. That the College exercise an oversight regarding the requirements set forth in this implementation document. In order to serve this responsibility and to keep the Board informed of the progress being made toward compliance, the Board authorizes the College to require the alumni corporations to submit periodic reports covering information the College deems necessary.

Office of the Dean of Students
May 31, 1974