Greeks consider dissolving CFSC

by Ithan Peltan | 5/24/01 5:00am

Greek presidents are seriously considering dissolving the system's central governing body, the Coed Fraternity Sorority Council, and replacing it with another, less powerful organization called the "Greek Presidents Council."

CFSC members may vote on the change at their final Spring term meeting next Tuesday and one member of the council said, "If it comes up for a vote next week, it's going to pass."

As put forward in a proposal introduced by the Interfraternity Council President Eric Powers '02, the Greek Presidents Council (GPC) would strip the overarching CFS organization of many of its governing functions.

It would act primarily as a liaison between the four Greek sub-councils, focusing almost exclusively on discussion of issues that are "Greek-wide" as opposed to concerns of specific houses or councils.

Most capacity for decision-making and implementation would be returned to the four sub-councils -- the Panhellenic Council, representing the sororities, the Pan Hellenic Council, representing the historically black organizations, the Coed Council and the IFC.

Notably, the GPC would have no executives, but would be composed only of the presidents of each house with the presidents of the four sub-councils attending meetings as "invited guests."

"The IFC plan is not a perfect document. We're entirely amenable to changes, but what the fraternity presidents believe is that this new system is better than the current system. Change is necessary," Powers said.

CFSC President Shihwan Chung '02 cautioned against moving too quickly, however. He characterized the proposal as being in the "extremely, extremely early kind of discussion phase."

Chung and other members of the CFSC executive board -- including Vice President Lauren Lafaro '02 -- will not have any official position if the GPC is implemented in its current form.

Dean of Residential Life Martin Redman said he "certainly wouldn't be surprised" if the CFSC voted next week to, after a period of transition, replace itself with the GPC, adding, "Many organizations want this resolved before the term ends."

"I think we have a lot of momentum with us looking toward change," Panhell President Tasha Francis '02 said.

Put forward in the wake of Sigma Nu fraternity's secession from the CFSC, the proposal arose out of a widespread sentiment that the organization in its current form is unable to effectively serve the interests of its diverse constituency.

"Essentially, the fraternity presidents have recognized the need for drastic change," Powers said. "Right now the CFSC is not fully capable of best representing its member organizations."

"The CFSC, which is made up of so many different organizations, is incapable of fully supporting each of these organization because every CFSC statement or action is watered down by its respective parts," Powers continued.

"Panhell meets the needs of sororities sometimes better than the CFSC ever could," Francis said.

Chung agreed that Greek presidents and sub-councils need "a stronger voice," but said CFSC executives do "a lot of dirty work that a lot of people don't fully understand and don't appreciate."

Some, including Redman, have suggested that personality differences between the CFSC leadership and sub-council executives may also have contributed to the origination of the proposal.

As envisioned by its proponents, the GPC membership would be composed of the presidents of all Greek houses -- including the president of Delta Delta Delta sorority, which seceded from the CFSC last spring.

A moderator would be selected from the members of the GPC to run meetings. A new moderator would be selected each term, with no sub-council having a member fill the role for two consecutive terms.

"Unlike the CFSC, the GPC would lack an executive board and would force the administration ... to deal with the four sub-councils on an individual level and would prevent the administration from going over the heads of the presidents themselves by seeking the CFSC president," Powers said.

The moderator explicitly would not be a spokesperson for the Greek system. As the necessity arose, the GPC would elect a temporary spokesperson as necessary to present a prepared statement containing the "Greek viewpoint."

The GPC will facilitate "more communication between the administration and the houses ... cutting out the middlemen," Francis said and would resolve concerns she said many have about having a single person speak for the Greek system.

Powers expressed similar feelings: "This plan would prevent an instance in which the CFSC president would learn about [Chi] Heorot [fraternity's] failure of minimum standards before Heorot's president himself."

Chung said the lack of a single Greek executive could reduce the ability of the CFS system to make its view or views heard.

"By separating the voices of the four Greek councils, it takes away in large part the sense of a Greek community," he said.

Dean of Residential Life Martin Redman noted that the CFSC as an organization is incorporated into the Greek system's constitution with the College. If the CFSC were to "become something else," he said, issues exist that would have to be worked out.

However, Redman said that the most important thing from ORL's point of view is that the Greek organization be comfortable with the structure of their overarching governing body.

"I don't see anything that's insurmountable to any change [Greek leaders] would want to make," he said.

Redman emphasized organizational flexibility as a goal should the Greek leaders go ahead with replacing the CFSC.

Topics with which the GPC would concern itself under the IFC proposal include Greek-wide programming, allocation of funds for Greek-wide events, internal adjudication procedure and social events management policy.

Coed Council President Fred Hurley '01 declined to comment on the ongoing discussions or the IFC proposal.

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