Consultant brought to review Greeks

Following Chico State President Paul Zingg’s orders to conduct a thorough review of the local Greek system, the university has hired a consultant to help with the process.

Thomas Jelke, of T. Jelke Solutions, is on campus this week conducting interviews with Greek and non-Greek students, Associated Students leaders and university administrators and will submit a report to Vice President for Student Affairs Jim Moon in the coming weeks.

Moon said the data will be examined by a Greek system task force, made up of about 20 Greek representatives and faculty members. Some form of action will be taken by the end-of-the-semester deadline handed down by President Zingg, he said.

“There has to be substantial change in the substance and culture of the Greek system in order for the university to support them and have them be a part of the campus,” Moon explained.

Although Jelke will be on campus only this week, the university has contracted with him for future consultation.

Jelke, a former member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, has worked with other universities to address problems. From his interviews Jelke said he hopes to get a better understanding of the Greek culture in Chico. He said it’s his job to make suggestions on how fraternities and sororities can better serve their members and the community.

“In a phrase, [Greeks are] supposed to be building better people,” Jelke said.

The review of the Greek system comes after 21-year-old Matthew Carrington died on Feb. 2 during a pledge initiation at Chi Tau, a fraternity unrecognized nationally or by the university.

Jelke said making changes in a system that’s been in existence for decades is difficult, but a tragic event will force universities to put in the time and resources that lead to improvements.

He added that, like any entity, the Greek system has its flaws, but that he has seen systems where education, character building and community service are priorities—not just binge-drinking and parties.

How the local Greek system responds to the mandate to deal with recent problems with hazing and drinking is also important in regaining respect from the community.

“In the end, if half of [the proposed solutions] stick, you’re better off than where you started,” he said.

Chico State’s Greek adviser, Connie Huyck, contacted Jelke to work with the university. Jelke began his work on Monday, when he met with students and members of the A.S. Government Affairs Committee.

Huyck informed reporters that the meeting was closed, since students may feel reluctant to speak with media present.

She shouldn’t have done so, said Terry Francke, general counsel for the First Amendment group Californians Aware. Her action violates the Gloria Romero Open Meetings Act passed in 2000.

Francke said that, since a quorum (half the members plus one) was present, the media and the public had a right to attend.