Jim’s Journal: Creating Change

It’s sometimes hard for me to believe how much has changed in our society over the last dozen years or so. A lot of that change has been great and very important. For example, as a society, we’ve become more sympathetic about issues like sensitivity towards others. I’m very proud of the role that our Brothers are playing on college campuses in promoting acceptance of others.

But, the biggest change that we’re dealing with at AEPi International, has not been so positive. It seems like every week I, and my staff, are dealing with a new crisis on a college campus. Some schools are threatening to – and following though – end Greek life. Other University administrators have taken a position of harassing our Brothers for their membership in AEPi. Time and again, our chapters (and many other Greek chapters) are subjected to trumped-up charges in front of biased conduct courts with a very slim chance of receiving a fair hearing.

Make no mistake. I firmly believe that bad behavior in fraternities – or any other campus organization – should not be tolerated. There is no place for hazing or other illegal behaviors in AEPi and we are doing everything possible to educate our undergraduates about proper behavior, AEPi International’s health & safety policies and how to properly behave and operate an AEPi chapter.

But, we also have to realize that fraternities have a positive role on college campuses and in our communities. Through fraternities and fraternity men we can build a better and more positive campus culture. We should be working cooperatively with University administrators to build this culture rather than stereotyping all fraternity members and being excessively punitive.

To our undergraduate Brothers, I need to say this: AEPi’s mission – to develop the future leaders of the world’s Jewish communities – is too important on college campuses today to throw away due to some irresponsible or stupid behavior. Please think of the possible ramifications of your actions.

I’m going to keep working to create change in our chapters and within the University Administrator ranks. I can only hope that, rather than blaming all of the ills of a campus culture on a minority of mistaken Fraternity men, we can create a system where our fraternities – and especially AEPi – are leading our college campuses to become safer, more enlightened and examples of appropriate behavior.