North American Fraternity Leadership to Appoint Independent Panels To Study, Address Detrimental Behaviors

INDIANAPOLIS, April 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The North-American Interfraternity
Conference (NIC) today announced it will commission independent panels to
identify and recommend solutions to three of the most daunting issues facing
college campuses and the fraternities they host: alcohol abuse, hazing and
sexual assault.

Each panel will be comprised of 8 to 12 members drawn from the fields of higher
education, public policy, public health, research, law and others. The panels
will work to recommend policies, programs and standards with an eye toward
eradicating detrimental behaviors too often associated with the fraternity
lifestyle, according to NIC President and CEO Peter Smithhisler.

“We have reached a point where the well-being of an historic movement is at
stake, and we must take decisive action to eliminate these bad behaviors,”
Smithhisler said. “I am counting on these panels to be frank and bold, and to
help guide our organization and its members toward a future where education,
community and brotherhood remain the hallmarks of the fraternity experience.”

At its 2014 Annual Meeting in Atlanta over the weekend, the NIC gained its
members’ endorsement to create three independent commissions:

— The NIC Presidential Commission on Alcohol will focus on conducting
research and developing policies and programs aimed at addressing and
creating safer patterns of alcohol use, and increasing student health
and safety related to the use of alcohol and its related negative
— The NIC Presidential Commission on Hazing Awareness and Prevention will
evaluate current hazing-prevention initiatives and will identify and
recommend strategies to further diminish hazing of any kind among
college students.
— The NIC Presidential Commission on Sexual Assault and Abuse Prevention
will assess the efficacy of current sexual abuse prevention programs and
recommend new programs and policies aimed at eliminating assault and
similar behaviors on college campuses.
Each commission will be established before mid-year and will have between 18 and
21 months to report back to the NIC with research findings and recommended
policy and action.

“In order to protect and preserve all that is good about the fraternity
movement, we must also change or eliminate that which is not,” Smithhisler said.
“The vast majority of fraternity members join to enhance their college
experience, build lifelong friendships and do good. For example fraternity
members raised more than $21 million for charity in 2013 and spent 2.8 million
hours volunteering in their communities last year.”

Smithhisler did not divulge the names of prospective commission members, but
said he has contacted several prominent academicians, policymakers, business
leaders and others who have expressed an interest in participating on a
commission. The goal is to appoint the commissions by May 1, Smithhisler said.

NIC members lauded the move and said they look forward to the outcomes of the

“We owe it to the fraternity movement to address our greatest challenge,” said
Wynn Smiley, a member of the NIC Board of Directors. “These commissions are an
important step toward taking bold and decisive action so that we can preserve
the legacy of North American fraternities.”

Smithhisler said the commissions are reflective of the mission of the NIC, and
the work it does on its members’ behalf.

“It is our obligation to create environments that are conducive to the success
of member fraternities,” he said. “These commissions will undertake a
forward-focused, action-oriented study of issues that are critically important
to both higher education and the fraternity movement.”

About The North-American Interfraternity Conference
Founded in 1909, the North-American Interfraternity Conference is the trade
association representing 75 International and National Men’s Fraternities. The
NIC serves to advocate the needs of its member fraternities through enrichment
of the fraternity experience; advancement and growth of the fraternity
community; and enhancement of the educational mission of the host institutions.
The NIC is also committed to enhancing the benefits of fraternity membership
through its relationship with Interfraternity Councils. Today, the NIC has 75
member organizations with approximately 5,500 chapters located on 800+ campuses
in the United States and Canada with approximately 350,000 undergraduate
members. The NIC is led by a Board of Directors comprised of nine volunteers
from member fraternities. The headquarters and professional staff are located in
Indianapolis, Indiana.

For More Information:
Brooke Rodriguez

SOURCE North-American Interfraternity Conference

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