Dear Parents,

We understand sending a child to any university/college can be a challenging and stressful time in a parent’s life.  While at West Liberty University, your son or daughter will encounter many opportunities to become involved outside of their classroom experience.  It is important that you, the parent, be educated about the enriching experience that your son or daughter can find by being involved in a fraternity or sorority at West Liberty.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

What is being involved in a fraternity or sorority all about?

Many of you have seen many interesting shows on television and read in the newspaper, the reality is those particular situations are extreme cases of fraternity and sorority life and not at all representative of the norm.  What the media does not tell you as a parent is that there are many life-long benefits to membership in fraternities and sororities.  At universities like WLU, membership in a fraternity or sorority offers a home-away-from home and makes the university setting a smaller, more friendly community.  Additionally, national research has shown that involvement in Greek Life increases students’ chances of graduating from universities/colleges.  As a life-long member of a Greek organization, students are offered the opportunity to develop as leaders, serve the local community, and focus on academics, as well as their careers, by connecting with faculty, staff, and other students in addition to local alumni members, advisors and other Greek organizations.

My son or daughter is considering joining a fraternity or sorority, how should I advise them?

To be eligible, students must have at least a 2.0 grade point average.  Since joining a fraternity or sorority is a lifelong commitment, and there is an expense associated with membership, it should be a joint decision between student and parent.  Consider sitting down with your son or daughter and researching all of the organizations that are available to join.  Utilizing local chapter and national websites are great, convenient methods of gathering information.  Feel free to contact students who are currently involved and their parents and ask them about their experience.  In most cases, both students and parents will speak candidly about their fraternity or sorority involvement.  West Liberty University currently recognizes nine social fraternities and sororities, so there are options available to students.

As a parent, consider asking the following questions before your child joins a fraternity or sorority:

  • What is expected of members?
  • How will membership impact his/her academics?
  • What leadership opportunities are available to students as both new members and active members?
  • Does the chapter perform hands-on community service?  If so, how often?
  • What are the expenses associated with membership?  How does this vary as a new member?
  • What type of member is the chapter looking for?
  • What values does this organization promote?
  • Is the organization officially recognized by the University?
  • What is the time commitment?

What are the safety risks associated with membership in a fraternity or sorority?

It can be perceived that fraternity or sorority membership may compromise a student’s safety and well-being.  At WLU, we are committed to having this not be the case. In order to be recognized by the University, all fraternities and sororities are required to follow fairly strict alcohol and risk management policies.  The policies are in accordance with the state laws of West Virginia, and are enforced by both the administrators and members of fraternities and sororities themselves.  In addition, all organizations should have at least one advisor to assist and ensure that the chapter is promoting a safe environment for its members (both on and off campus).  Hazing is both against University policy as well as state law.  Hazing as defined by the WLU Student Code of Conduct as follows:

“Hazing” means to cause any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of another person or persons or cause another person or persons to destroy or remove public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as condition for continued membership in, any organization operating under the sanction of or recognized as an organization by an institution of higher education. The term includes, but is not limited to, any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug or other substance, or any other forced physical activity which could adversely affect the physical health and safety of the individual or individuals to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct which could result in extreme embarrassment, or any other forced activity which could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual or individuals, or any willful destruction or removal of public or private property: Provided, That the implied or expressed consent or willingness of a person or persons to hazing shall not be defense under this section.

No policy can be so precisely written as to address all possible situations.  When this policy does not address a specific behavior, students, organizations, teams, and groups are expected to conduct themselves and their activities in the spirit of this policy and with respect for the dignity and well-being of others.  As a guiding principle, any activity required of new members that is not required of more senior members is likely to constitute hazing under this policy.

We encourage you to browse the rest of our site where you can find information about the different chapters, academic performance, and awards and recognition.  You can also find information about our governing councils and their student leaders.

If you still have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Office of Housing & Student Life at [email protected] or (304)336-8345.