While Penn State’s Greek-life Response Team will be just five administrators, the university says it will also be getting input from a larger group.
On Monday, President Eric Barron announced a 17-member advisory group.
The new group pulls support from students, employees and the community, as has happened with other groups addressing topics like alcohol, sexual assault and hazing. One change adds representation from the top level of Penn State decision-making by including three members of the university’s board of trustees: Bill Oldsey, Valerie Detwiler and Walt Rakowich.
The members also include representatives of the student Greek-life governing bodies: Interfraternity Council President Dean Veter; Multicultural Greek Council Vice President Jonathan Zabala; National Pan-Hellenic Council President Malachi Burden; and Panhellenic Association Council President Amanda Saper.
University Park Undergraduate Association President Katie Jordan and Council of Commonwealth Student Governments Vice President Hunter DeBellis are included, as are University Faculty Senate Chairman Matthew Woessner, incoming chair of the University Staff Advisory Council JeanMarie Jacob, director of Local Government and Community Relations Charima Young and Associate Vice President of Strategic Communications Rachel Pell.
Community representation comes from Tom King, assistant State College borough manager for public safety and former State College police chief.
Two more administrators will steer the group: Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses Madlyn Hanes and Vice Provost for Educational Equity Marcus Whitehurst.
The names were announced as the most recent step in the university’s attempt to address problems of alcohol and hazing in the fraternities and sororities at Penn State, which came into national focus with the February death of Timothy Piazza after a fall at the local chapter of Beta Theta Pi, where State College police said the 19-year-old New Jersey man went 12 hours without medical attention.
The Alpha Upsilon chapter of Beta Theta Pi has been criminally charged in Piazza’s death. So have 18 fraternity members. The chapter was banned from campus and the university instituted a series of measures in response, including delays to recruiting, curtailing the number of social events each year and placing strict controls on alcohol service.
On June 11, the Greek-life Response Team, consisting of Vice President for Administration Thomas Poole, Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims, Vice President for Government and Community Relations Zack Moore, university police Chief Keith Morris and associate general counsel Frank Guadagnino, was announced.
The GRT and advisory group are both part of Penn State’s attempt to make changes to the self-governance of fraternities and sororities, an effort that trustees endorsed June 2.