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Meeting the Challenge – Cornell’s Response to President Skorton’s Challenge

Cornell’s response to President Skorton’s challenge to “End Pledging as We Know It,” called “Meeting the Challenge,”  has now been published.  See attached.
Pres Call-Community Announcement-final
RARE’s work provided a solid foundation, and some of the key findings, for Cornell’s “Meeting the Challenge” announcement.  Suggestions from the FSAC, alumni, faculty, administrators, and subject matter experts, also contributed to the changes that are now being required of the Greek community.
Now the hard work begins.  To make changes to this January’s formal rush process, and to the new member orientation period that follows, will be an incredible challenge.  End of term pressures on undergraduates, and holiday season demands on all of us, will make gearing up for this effort a real challenge.
However we cannot allow hazing to continue as an integral part of Greek life.  The risks and shame of these practices must be eliminated from our Greek community.  If we don’t begin the process this year, then when will we?
There won’t be unanimous support for the decisions that were reached. This is Cornell – there never will be.  But as Greek alumni and undergraduates, we now need to ask a broader question.   What do we want our community to be?   The latest effort to end serious hazing was launched in response to a tragedy.  But we only need to look at the incidents of the past few weeks, and the resulting chapter suspensions, to remind us of the ongoing and urgent need for change.  These incidents are not the image we want to portray nor the character we want to instill in our community.  In my view, we need to accept, embrace, define, refine (yes they need some work IMHO), and implement these new requirements to enhance the positive aspects of Greek life and to intervene in the dangerous behaviors that continue to persist.  As individuals we can sit on the sidelines, complain and act up in frustration, or volunteer to get on with the job at hand.  I know where I stand.
There is no current plan to launch a RARE Year 2.  The “Meeting the Challenge” recommendations will now need to be actioned by the community – the Greek undergraduates, undergraduate leaders, alumni association and chapter advisors, national/international representatives, and the administration.  I plan to work primarily on behalf of my house, Pi Kappa Alpha, which will be returning to campus this spring, and the CUAIFC, to help make a positive difference.
I believe this blog can continue to be a helpful resource during this change process.  I look forward to the discussions on this blog as we “Meet the Challenge”.  What defines us as Cornellians and Greeks is our thoughts and ideas, history and traditions, bonds of friendship, strong opinions, leadership abilities and relevant experience – so blog away!
All the best for the holidays!


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