IV (3). MIT FSILG Relationship Statement and Recognition Policy

Introduction

MIT has a positive and long-standing history with its fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups (FSILGs). In addition to developing life-long connections and support, involvement in a FSILG can deepen students’ educational experiences by offering members opportunities for civic engagement, service, team work and leadership. The Institute relies on the support and collaboration of our students, alumni/ae, and when applicable, the volunteers and staff members from international/national fraternities and sororities applying a shared-governance model designed to maintain and encourage a healthy and dynamic FSILG community.

Rights and Responsibilities of Recognized FSILG Organizations

While all MIT students are held accountable to similar high standards, the unique missions and positioning of the FSILGs require greater clarity related to the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of each FSIILG, as detailed below and in the FSILG Recognition Policy (see page 2).

Responsibility to Uphold and Advance the MIT Mission

Each FSILG is responsible for upholding and advancing the mission of the Institute; fostering academic excellence and promoting environments supportive of intellectual development, personal development, and academic integrity.

Right to Shared-Governance

Each FSILG has the right to exercise responsible organizational shared-governance, to participate in the appropriate FSILG governing council, and to engage other campus stakeholders as advocates and champions for the FSILG community. The shared-governance system includes the FSILG student governing councils, the Association of Independent Living Groups (AILG), House Corporation and Advisory Boards, MIT administration, inter/national organizations, and other key stakeholders.

Responsibility to Maintain an Active Relationship with the Institute

Each FSILG is responsible for maintaining an active relationship with the Institute, including but not limited to, responding to Institute communication in a timely manner and meeting with members of the FSILG Office and other relevant departments.

Right to Equitable Organizational Expectations and Just Process

Each FSILG has the right to receive equitable treatment and respect on matters that involve applicable Institute policies and procedures. In recognizing a FSILG, the Division of Student life commits itself to ensuring that the FSILG is treated equitably and fairly.

Responsibility to Act with Civility

Each FSILG is responsible for acting with civility towards all members of the MIT community, as well as to members of the Cambridge, Boston, and Brookline communities. Its members should strive through their actions and endeavors to be responsible neighbors and good citizens of their host communities.

Responsibility to Maintain Positive Social Environments and Activities

Each FSILG is responsible for advancing respectful, caring, and safe social environments that encourage diversity, build community, and promote accountability.

Right to Assistance and Advisement

Each FSILG has the right to assistance and advisement from their respective alumni/ae and alumni/ae group advisors, as well as from the FSILG Office and other members of the Division of Student Life.

Responsibility to Maintain Healthy and Safe Residential Facilities

If applicable, each FSILG is responsible for creating, promoting, and maintaining healthy and safe residential facilities that comply with the relevant standards and policies of the Institute, the AILG, the relevant governing council, and appropriate government(s).

MIT FSILG RECOGNITION POLICY

This Recognition Policy sets forth the formal process by which a new or returning FSILG, whether residential or non-residential, occupying property owned by MIT or not, or located on or off campus, may seek to obtain recognition by MIT. Recognition under this policy means that a FSILG has been given permission by MIT to function on campus, to enroll members from the undergraduate body through recruitment activities, to seek to operate as an approved living group and identify its residential facility as Institute-approved housing, and/or to identify its organization as affiliated with the Institute. Through recognition, MIT aims to provide privileges and resources to its FSILGs that will help them flourish as independent student organizations and contribute to MIT’s educational mission.

FSILGs that are recognized by MIT and the appropriate FSILG governing council (Interfraternity Council for fraternities, Panhellenic Association for sororities, and Living Group Council for independent living groups) may exercise the benefits of recognition, including the use of MIT’s name and logo, the ability to tell community members that the organization is affiliated with MIT, the ability to request that MIT recognize a group’s residential facility as Institute-approved housing, and other similar benefits accorded to student organizations. Individuals or groups without recognition are prohibited from exercising these benefits.

Single sex FSILGs are permitted to operate with single sex membership consistent with regulations promulgated pursuant to Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972 and such other laws or regulations as may apply.

A successful FSILG system at MIT requires ongoing support and collaboration between and among all the stakeholders—the Institute, the FSILG governing councils, the Association of Independent Living Groups (AILG), affiliated national and international organizations, local chapters, their individual student members, and the local alumni/ae house corporations and advisory boards—but recognition under this policy is not intended in any way to alter the legal relationship between MIT and the individual FSILG chapters or their affiliated national or international organizations. Although this policy provides a mechanism for MIT to recognize these organizations as affiliated with the Institute, and to bestow upon them certain privileges and benefits as student organizations, the individual FSILGs, including local alumni/ae corporations, are separate legal entities with responsibility for fulfilling their own legal duties and obligations, including in connection with the operation and maintenance of their residential facilities (with the exception of the residential facilities of Kappa Alpha Theta, Pi Beta Phi, and Kappa Sigma, which are operated by MIT). Despite their independent status, as described more fully below, it is expected that MIT-recognized FSILGs will comply with all relevant MIT policies and procedures.

Recognizing a new or returning FSILG is a complex decision with long-lasting consequences.  As a condition of recognition, FSILGs should provide a benefit to MIT students and the Institute community overall, be aligned with MIT’s mission and current priorities, complement those already established FSILGs, and be willing and able to comply with all MIT policies in the Mind and Hand Book and elsewhere. Accordingly, the recognition review process is expected to involve a rigorous and thorough assessment. Recognition is only granted to groups that, following the petitioning and review process outlined below, receive approval from the appropriate FSILG governing council, the FSILG Office, and the Vice President for Student Life (VPSL). Groups applying for recognition are prohibited from partaking in and/or holding any intake/new member or extension/colonization activity until they have been granted recognition from both MIT and the appropriate FSILG governing council. 

Groups seeking recognition by the Institute as a new Interfraternity Council (IFC) or Panhellenic Association (Panhel) group must obtain sponsorship by a recognized national or international organization. Local FSILGs currently recognized by MIT are “grandfathered” and are not required to obtain national or international organizational sponsorship. Independent living groups (ILGs) seeking recognition by the Living Group Council (LGC) do not need to be sponsored by a national or international organization. However, those groups applying to be a part of LGC would need to be approved by both MIT and all recognized organizations in LGC on a case-by-case basis given the requirements outlined in this Recognition Policy and LGC’s charter/constitution.

Recognition applies to organizations that are approved by both the FSILG governing council and the Division of Student Life (DSL). Members of recognized FSILGs that are temporarily away from MIT for a specified period of time for disciplinary reasons (from the national or international organization or the Institute) cannot apply for recognition as a new FSILG under the auspices of a different organization in an effort to return before the specified timeframe.

Petition for Recognition

All petitions for recognition must be submitted simultaneously to the appropriate FSILG governing council and to the VPSL or their designee. In general, petitions must be submitted within the first two weeks of the academic term that is one year prior to the term that the petitioning organization seeks to be recognized and to begin formal activities. Exceptions to this timeframe may be approved by the VPSL upon written request from the petitioning organization. In addition, in the case of National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) extension, the Institute will work collaboratively with Panhel to align with NPC and MIT Panhel guidelines. 

A decision on recognition by all required parties will in most cases be made within a reasonable period during the semester that a chapter submits its petition.

Groups petitioning for recognition must include all of the following in writing as part of their petition:

  1. Statement of purpose, including the group’s connection to MIT’s mission, purpose, and values;
  2. Description of goals, standards, and typical activities;
  3. List of all students, alumni/ae, and others involved;
  4. Plan for housing, if applicable. Include a statement addressing the group’s compliance with local laws and ordinances governing recognized FSILGs that are housed near campus, including any issues pertaining to licenses required by the relevant city or town to house students in the facility;
  5. Insurance requirements or expectations;
  6. Summary from the headquarters of the national or international organization highlighting an overview of how much support headquarters will provide to the group through the duration of this process and a summary, highlighting the history of risk management issues within the national or international organization and actions taken to resolve those issues. Include a statement of risk management protocols;
  7. A signed letter from the petitioning organization affirming that, if recognized, the organization and its members will comply with all MIT Policies and Procedures (including those set forth in the MIT Mind and Hand Book), as well as all rules and regulations of the relevant FSILG governing council, the AILG, the group’s national or international sponsoring organization, and federal, state, and local laws. This letter should also include detailed action plans that the organization will take in order to ensure compliance with these policies;
  8. A statement demonstrating the organization’s commitment to work collaboratively with MIT, the relevant FSILG governing council, a national or international organization, the AILG, and, if applicable, any interested alumni/ae;
  9. A plan for a house corporation or advisory board to ensure a healthy and collaborative oversight (e.g., financial responsibility, risk management, and governance). Active, engaged housing corporations and advisory boards are essential to a thriving FSILG system; and
  10. A statement submitted from a national or international organization stating that it is sponsoring the petitioning group and will recognize and provide appropriate support and guidance to the group upon its recognition by MIT. Petitions that do not have the sponsorship and support of such an organization will not be considered for IFC or Panhel. Those groups applying to be a part of LGC would need to be approved by both MIT and all recognized organizations in LGC on a case-by-case basis given the requirements outlined in this Recognition Policy and LGC’s charter/constitution. 

Additionally, FSILGs petitioning for recognition must submit all of the following in writing no later than one month before a vote is held by a student governing council. However, FSILGs are encouraged to work with the FSILG Office and the relevant student governing council in the period immediately following the submission of their petition to further develop these items:

  1. Policies and standards for the selection and education of new members in the organization (must contain relevant information as it pertains to MIT policy, and federal, state, and local laws, including particularly anti-hazing policies that adhere to MIT’s policy on hazing, and standards to prevent and respond to alcohol and/or other drug-related emergencies or other emergencies relating to the health and safety of members and guests);
  2. Comprehensive operational guidelines, self-governance procedures, and financial plans; and
  3. Any memo of understanding or provisional recognition plan that has been approved by the FSILG Office and DSL. This plan must include provisional recruitment plans. 

In addition to the above, if the petitioning organization is applying for recognition after a period of time away from MIT, the petition must also include the following in writing:

  1. A plan for alumni/ae re-engagement and education to support and foster a healthy culture within the organization;
  2. A statement explaining the reason for the organization’s absence from campus and, if the absence was due to behavioral issues (whether or not there was formal disciplinary action taken by MIT or its national or international organization), an agreement that any previous members who were involved in the circumstances that led to the loss of recognition will have no involvement in the membership recruitment/intake process, participate as active members of the undergraduate chapter of the organization, or serve in any capacity as advisors to the chapter or organization; and
  3. A statement and plan to successfully return explaining the methods the organization will employ to avoid circumstances similar to those that led to the chapter’s loss of recognition or suspension.  It is generally expected that this plan will go beyond merely affirming that policies will not be violated again in the future. 

Following submission of the petition for recognition, the following multi-step review will take place, although it is expected that all of the relevant stakeholders—MIT, the relevant FSILG governing council, the group’s national or international organization, the AILG, and any interested alumni/ae—will remain closely coordinated and collaborative prior to and throughout the review process.

Step 1: Committee on Discipline (COD) Review (For Returning Organizations Only)

For any organization that is requesting to return to MIT as a recognized FSILG after having been separated from the Institute for a period of time due to behavioral issues, whether or not they were formally disciplined by MIT or their national or international organization, the petition for recognition must first be reviewed by the Chair of the Committee on Discipline (COD). As part of the review, the COD Chair may meet with individuals of the petitioning organization or request additional documentation. This review is to determine whether there are any unresolved sanctions or pending complaints that must be resolved prior to the recognition and to assess whether any past behavioral issues of the group have been sufficiently addressed. The COD Chair, after consultation with COD members and others as necessary, may approve the petition to advance with no conditions, approve the petition contingent on certain restrictions, or deny the petition. The COD Chair’s approval is required for the petition to advance to the next step in the process. The organization is responsible for obtaining and submitting a letter from the COD Chair stating that the organization is in good standing. There is no appeal of the COD Chair’s decision.

Step 2: Governing Council Review

The petition must be reviewed and voted upon by the relevant FSILG student governing council in accordance with the procedures set forth in the governing council’s constitution or other governing documents. In the case of NPC extension, the Institute will work collaboratively with Panhel to align with NPC and MIT Panhel guidelines.

When all represented NPC chapters have achieved measurable benchmarks in regard to community size and stability, or a need arises as determined by the FSILG Office and Panhel, the NPC extension exploratory process will be initiated, as codified in the NPC Manual of Information.

Any new NPC chapter must be organized through an extension process led by an NPC organization. All NPC extension guidelines will be followed during the establishment of the new organizations in consultation with the FSILG Office.  All NPC extension activities, including the initial organization of the group, must be approved in advance by the FSILG Office. Final recognition requires the approval of the VPSL as stated in this Recognition Policy.

Those groups applying to be a part of the LGC would need to be approved by both MIT and all recognized organizations in the LGC on a case-by-case basis given the requirements outlined in this Recognition Policy and LGC’s charter/constitution.

If a group is approved for membership in the relevant FSILG student governing council, documentation of this approval must be provided in writing from the relevant FSILG governing council to the VPSL or designee no later than two weeks after the council’s vote.

Step 3: Division of Student Life (DSL) Review

Subsequent to or simultaneous with the governing council’s review, the VPSL or designee will undertake an independent review of the petition to determine whether recognition of a new or returning FSILG is consistent with the principles of this Recognition Policy set forth above. This will include reviewing written materials submitted by the petitioning organization as well as information gathering and discussion among relevant stakeholders, including the Chancellor, staff within DSL, the FSILG Office, the COD, the relevant FSILG governing council, the group’s national or international organization, the AILG, undergraduates seeking to be members of the organization, and any interested alumni/ae. 

After completing this review, the VPSL, with advice from the FSILG Office, may grant Full Recognition with no conditions, Provisional Recognition contingent upon certain restrictions, or deny the petition. The VPSL’s approval is required for the petition to be granted. There is no appeal of the VPSL’s decision.

Once the relevant FSILG governing council has voted in favor of membership and the VPSL has approved the petition, the group will be considered to be recognized under this Recognition Policy and can commence formal operations. Recognition of an organization’s residential facility as Institute-approved housing will entail additional requirements.

If the governing council does not vote in favor of recognition and the applying organization would like to appeal, it must follow the guidelines for appeals and/or reapplication processes in the constitution to the governing council that it applied to. If the appealing organization is ineligible to apply for recognition based upon the requirements set forth by MIT and the appropriate FSILG governing council, they are not reviewed for consideration.

Requirements Following Recognition

In addition to complying with any new member requirements of its relevant FSILG governing council, a group that is granted recognition at MIT must participate in an AILG accreditation review and meet regularly with a member of the FSILG Office for a minimum of two years after their recognition or colonization.

Recognized groups must comply with (1) all federal, state, and local laws and regulations; (2) all applicable MIT policies, including without limitation those set forth in MIT Policies and Procedures (http://web.mit.edu/policies/), the Mind and Hand Book (http://handbook.mit.edu), and the Residential Life and Dining Policies (http://studentlife.mit.edu/housing/housing-policies); (3) all rules and regulations of the relevant FSILG governing council and national or international organization; and (4) for residential facilities, all requirements of the city or town in which the facility is located, all of which are subject to change without notice.

A current membership roster, which must be limited to current registered undergraduate MIT students, including both residential and non-residential members and any new members, must be submitted to the FSILG Office each semester. Non-MIT students (those not registered as an MIT undergraduate or graduate student) are prohibited from residing in the fraternity, sorority, or ILG house during the academic year, unless approved in advance by the VPSL. Graduate Resident Advisors (GRAs) employed by MIT are required to live in all FSILG Institute-approved housing. 

Additional criteria developed in consultation with the FSILG Office, DSL, the AILG, the relevant FSILG governing council, the city or town in which a residential facility is located, and interested alumni/ae must be satisfied before a facility will be recognized as Institute-approved housing; recognition under the MIT FSILG Recognition policy does not guarantee that a facility will also be recognized as Institute-approved housing.

Statement on City-Wide Fraternity or Sorority Chapters

Currently, the Institute does not formally recognize any city-wide fraternity or sorority chapters. However, individual members of city-wide chapters, who are MIT-affiliated, still have access to MIT facilities and other campus resources.  MIT may serve as a host institution of city-wide fraternity or sorority chapters and the MIT FSILG Office is available to answer any related questions and to help facilitate access to campus services as needed. A city-wide chapter is defined as a collegiate fraternity or sorority chapter consisting of members from two or more colleges and/or universities.  While students may elect to join city-wide chapters at their discretion, the chapter must have MIT student officers in order for the chapter to be recognized on MIT’s campus and to receive the privileges (e.g., reserve space on campus, use the MIT logo and name, apply for student funding, co-sponsor programs and events on campus) that are associated with a recognized FSILG group.  MIT students who are members of city-wide chapters are still responsible for complying with all MIT policies and will be held accountable for any misconduct. 

Recognition of Culturally-Based Fraternities and Sororities

Coordination and recognition of culturally-based fraternities and sororities and those affiliated with National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO), National APIA Panhellenic Association (NAPA), National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), the National Multicultural Greek Council (NMGC), or other multicultural umbrella and/or national or international multicultural organization chapters shall be the responsibility of the FSILG Office until such time as a governing council is established. Final recognition of such organizations requires the approval of the VPSL as described in Step 3 above.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF GOOD STANDING FOR MIT FSILGS

MIT Division of Student Life (DSL) requires that as a condition for MIT Institute recognition, all FSILGs are in compliance, and where applicable, make every reasonable effort to ensure that each of their members shall be in compliance, with the following:

  • All MIT Policies and Procedures and Policies Regarding Student Behavior, as detailed in the Mind and Hand Book.
  • All applicable MIT governing council regulations and guidelines (see Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association, Living Group Council, and Multicultural Greek Council).
  • All state, local, MIT, and Inter/National laws, policies, and regulations.
  • FSILG New Member/Associate Member Programs may not exceed 12 weeks in length. This time period includes Institute Holidays and IAP periods. Reasonable exceptions may be made for religious holidays. Delaying or extending initiation of new members over a semester may only be done with the prior, joint approval of the FSILG Office and Inter/ National headquarters, and all requests must be made in writing. MIT will support a national program length mandate of a period shorter than 12 weeks, if applicable.
  • Each FSILG must be affiliated with a coordinating governing council: Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association, Living Group Council or Multicultural Greek Council. IFC, Panhellenic, and LGC membership criteria are set in accordance to the respective governing body’s policies and bylaws. Coordination and recognition of culturally-based fraternities and sororities and those affiliated with National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO), National APIA Panhellenic Association (NAPA), National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), the National Multicultural Greek Council (NMGC), or other multicultural umbrella and/or national or international multicultural organization chapters shall be the responsibility of the FSILG Office until such time as a governing council is established.
  • All organizations are expected to participate in regular AILG accreditation processes as appropriate.
  • All organizations must remain current on all debt related to house and safety issues and all applicable licenses, certificates, and inspections. 

Members of FSILGs are expected to know and understand these policies and regulations. Failure to comply with above terms could lead to possible action, including but not limited to:

  • MIT interim action
  • City/Municipal action
  • Governing Council (IFC, Panhel, LGC) action
  • Referral to the MIT Committee on Discipline (COD)
  • Inter/National Organization action (if applicable)
  • Loss of eligibility for chapter awards and Institute recognition of the FSILG
  • Loss of eligibility for retreat and convention financial assistance
  • Loss of Independent Residence Development Fund (IRDF) funding eligibility

The following must be submitted to the Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups Office according to the stated timelines:

  • A current membership roster including both residential and non-residential members and new members
  • List of accepted bids and de-affiliations within 48 hours (if applicable)
  • The dates of initiation for all new members
  • Names and contact information of current chapter/organization officers
  • Names and contact information of the five required Alumni Advisory Board and/or House Corporation volunteers
  • A signed organizational Anti-Hazing Statement

Failure to comply with the above could lead to possible action and restriction of privileges, including restricting the recruitment and initiation of new members.