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Colleges at the Crossroads

Taking Sides on Contested Issues


Edited By Joseph L. DeVitis and Pietro A. Sasso

Focusing on crucial issues in higher education, this book challenges readers to go beyond taken-for-granted assumptions about America’s colleges and universities and instead critically examine important questions facing them in today’s troubled world. Each chapter presents divergent perspectives, that is, "pro" and "con" views, in the hope of stimulating reasoned dialogue among students, faculty, administrators, and the public at large. Readers will explore how internal factors in the academic community often interact with external social, economic, and political influences to produce conflictual results. They will see that academe is hardly value-neutral and inevitably political. This book urges them to transcend strident political persuasion and instead engage in the careful analysis needed to make colleges better.

The text provides in-depth appraisal of key topics of controversy: the purposes of higher education, liberal education, academic freedom, political correctness, tenure, shared governance, faculty workload, admissions tests, student learning, Greek life, the worth of college, equity and social justice, athletics, student entitlement, technology and distance instruction, and college amenities. The book will appeal to students, faculty, staff, and all those interested in the future of higher education. It is especially useful for courses in contemporary issues in higher education, foundations of higher education, higher education and society, college student development, and the organization and administration of higher education.

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30. Fraternities and Sororities in the Contemporary Era Revisited: A Pendulum of Tolerance (Pietro A. Sasso)


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30.  Fraternities and Sororities in the Contemporary Era Revisited: A Pendulum of Tolerance



An attempt to revivify the fraternity/sorority experience was begun in 2003 and is commonly termed the “values-based movement.” It was spearheaded by the Franklin Square Group—an assembly of 20 college and university presidents and inter-/national fraternal organization leaders representing several organizations, campus representatives, and academic consortia—which met in Washington, D.C. to consider the state of fraternities and sororities (Franklin Square Group, 2003).

In 2003, the Franklin Square Group issued A Call for Values Congruence to express concerns over the focus of the “liquid culture” of the fraternity/sorority system and to establish recommendations regarding the sustainability of fraternity and sorority chapters across the nation. This convening and leadership group supported the notion that fraternities and sororities were a bastion for alcohol misuse that caused a dichotomy between their stated missions and their actual behaviors. The report also supported the notion that fraternities and sororities impact student culture in ways that no other student organization can through experiential learning opportunities outside the classroom. This juxtaposition led the authors to call for “the development of programs and policies addressing alcohol abuse based upon research findings and established best practices and oversee their implementation” (p. 6).

A Call for Values Congruence advocated the use of a periodic “certification process” to involve multiple external stakeholders, ranging from local alumni to...

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