Engendering Trust and Confidence

in the Fraternity Experience

Background

DIGGING DEEP

To take an in-depth look into critical issues facing fraternities, the NIC assembled a group of experts: the Presidential Commissions on alcohol abuse, hazing and sexual misconduct.

The President & CEO charged the Commissioners to provide recommendations to consider for the creation of a framework to move fraternities forward.

CONSTRUCTION ZONE

Fraternities re-envisioned how to collaborate to support each other in an interconnected, ever-changing world.

The NIC 2.0 reboot dramatically slowed the Presidential Commission process; yet, because of a reshaped NIC, fraternities are better positioned to facilitate lasting change.

DEVELOPING A BLUEPRINT

Phase 1 of the Vision for Fraternity Communities draws from the Presidential Commissions and NIC 2.0 with the goal of "Engendering Trust and Confidence in the Fraternity Experience."

Guiding Assumptions

The issues facing our communities are not new, yet our approach to tackling them needs to evolve. To shift campus culture and achieve the Vision for Fraternity Communities−to Engender Trust and Confidence in the Fraternity Experience−we must first embrace four basic assumptions about creating change in our communities.


NO SILVER BULLET

If there was one solution to fix negative aspects of campus cultures, it would have been done by now.

Complex problems require multiple strategies working in coordination over a sustained period to foster dramatic change.

COLLABORATION FOSTERS

COMMITMENT

A top-down strategy of issuing a bunch of new policies without buy-in isn’t going to move the needle.

Engaging stakeholders in solutions that impact their lives fosters the commitment required for authentic change.

GLOBAL STRATEGY,

LOCAL TACTICS

A cookie-cutter approach for 800 different campuses won’t work.

Each campus requires customized solutions that align with the industry’s direction and its unique environment.

ONE BLOCK

AT A TIME

Campus cultural change will not happen overnight.

Each campus needs an intentional, phased approach that moves its local culture in a positive direction.

A phased approach

to shifting culture

Phase 1


Focus
1

FOSTER COMMUNITY
READINESS

Focus
2

CULTIVATE
FRATERNITY MEN

Focus
3

ADDRESS ALCOHOL ABUSE:
3-PRONGED APPROACH

FOCUS 1: FOSTER COMMUNITY READINESS



To facilitate lasting change, people must be willing and prepared to take action.

Strategies

Shape the community’s identity

Each campus has a community identity—the key question is whether its students and alumni feel responsible for intentionally shaping a positive one.

Research



Community Readiness Model — “Community readiness is the degree to which a community is willing and prepared to take action on an issue.” The model features five dimensions, including community knowledge of efforts, leadership, community climate, community knowledge of issue, and available resources.

Community Readiness: Research to practice — This article presents the history of the development of the [community readiness] model, the stages of readiness, dimensions used to assess readiness, how readiness is assessed and strategies for change at each level of readiness.

Resources



IMPACT — IMPACT is a campus-based leadership institute designed to foster improved relationships among campus leaders through an intensive, interactive 2.5-day program.

LAUNCH — This one-day, on-campus program helps fraternity and sorority leaders to kick off the officer term together through a positive, forward-thinking perspective. Through this engaging, participant-driven experience, chapter presidents and council officers will build relationships, explore individual and shared issues, and set goals to address them.

IFC Academy — IFC Academy attendees learn about the responsibilities and rights of IFC leadership, including the need for accountability through self-governance.

Campus-based UIFI — This five-day institute is the NIC’s premier leadership program. Participants will explore the fraternity leader they want to be and where they can take their chapters, councils and community. A campus can host a session for members of its fraternity/sorority community. These programs are held at a local retreat center and organized by campus professionals and leaders and the NIC staff in partnership.

NIC Campus Support Model — To thrive today and beyond, fraternal culture must evolve. This will require greater partnership, collaboration and support than campuses, fraternities, chapters and the NIC have ever had. To create change within the global fraternity experience, we have to focus attention at the local level. To this aim, we have developed a new model for campus support that strikes against a one-size-fits-all approach.

NIC Staff Consultation — When an NIC staff member visits your campus you will have an experienced, professional consultation to support your IFC, fraternity community, Alumni IFC and campus professionals. We will work with you to determine the priorities for the visit, maximizing the time by meeting with the Alumni IFC or facilitating an educational program. These visits are driven by seasoned higher ed professionals, our Vice Presidents of Campus Operation.

Matching a community intervention to the community’s level of readiness is key to achieving success. If your community is not ready for your efforts, failure is much more likely. 

Tri-Ethic Center, Colorado State University

The community readiness for change model has been well used by campuses and communities to honor the uniqueness of each individual institution and community, and identify action steps related to change that are appropriate and feasible for that a particular group.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

Once a community has achieved a stage of readiness where local efforts can be initiated, community teams can be trained in use of the community readiness model. These teams can then develop specific, culturally appropriate efforts that use local resources to guide the community to more advanced levels of readiness, eventually leading to long-term sustainability of local community efforts.

Edwards, Jumper-Thurman, Plested, Oetting, Swanson

I gained leadership skills here at IMPACT that I will use not only with my chapter while I’m at school, but in life as well. This weekend, we identified what we want to change, created a list of things to do, and agreed on how to do them. I hope that this has hit others like it did me.

IMPACT student participant

We sat down and looked at everything we were already doing and saw great benefit to use the Platinum chartering to do what we had planned for the coming year and actually save money in the long run! We are excited ... to keep moving forward with our culture change here at Texas State!

 Bob Dudolski, Assistant Dean of Students, Texas State University

Alcohol availability is sensitive to community readiness issues and provides an opportunity for each chapter to work with its campus and identify shared concerns around availability issues and create an appropriate action plan for reducing risk.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

It is clear that a long-term goal of policy change is comprised of many incremental steps and that each community should determine the pace of change that is comfortable and effective for their needs.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

Strengthen community standards

Communities without standards quickly devolve into meaningless associations that must be regulated by outsiders.

Research



Advances in Student Self-Authorship: A Program Evaluation of the Community Standards Model — This dissertation studies the effect of the Community Standards Model on self-authorship in students living in campus residence halls. The Model encourages students to create a shared set of expectations and agreements, engage in problem solving, and hold each other accountable. “The result of this process is a student who is able to create, manipulate, and construct his or her values, beliefs, and feelings instead of being determined by his or her beliefs.”

Resources



Example Community Standards — This NIC resource helps fraternity communities create shared expectations and standards of positive behavior.

IMPACT — IMPACT is a campus-based leadership institute designed to foster improved relationships among campus leaders through an intensive, interactive 2.5-day program.

LAUNCH — This one-day, on-campus program helps fraternity and sorority leaders to kick off the officer term together through a positive, forward-thinking perspective. Through this engaging, participant-driven experience, chapter presidents and council officers will build relationships, explore individual and shared issues, and set goals to address them.

IFC Academy — IFC Academy attendees learn about the responsibilities and rights of IFC leadership, including the need for accountability through self-governance.

Campus-based UIFI — This five-day institute is the NIC’s premier leadership program. Participants will explore the fraternity leader they want to be and where they can take their chapters, councils and community. A campus can host a session for members of its fraternity/sorority community. These programs are held at a local retreat center and organized by campus professionals and leaders and the NIC staff in partnership.

NIC Campus Support Model — To thrive today and beyond, fraternal culture must evolve. This will require greater partnership, collaboration and support than campuses, fraternities, chapters and the NIC have ever had. To create change within the global fraternity experience, we have to focus attention at the local level. To this aim, we have developed a new model for campus support that strikes against a one-size-fits-all approach.

NIC Staff Consultation — When an NIC staff member visits your campus you will have an experienced, professional consultation to support your IFC, fraternity community, Alumni IFC and campus professionals. We will work with you to determine the priorities for the visit, maximizing the time by meeting with the Alumni IFC or facilitating an educational program. These visits are driven by seasoned higher ed professionals, our Vice Presidents of Campus Operation.

Investigation and adjudication procedures must take into account the overlapping scope of authority for all those involved, including chapter standards, student council expectations, university codes of conduct, inter/national organization conduct standards, and state laws.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

The Community Standards Model seeks to create a peer context in which students are given the opportunity to engage in dialogue with others, and in which their values and beliefs are challenged and they are confronted with gray areas.

Klinton E. Hobbs, Brigham Young University

Implement peer-accountability systems

When students are in the driver’s seat to govern their community, they have greater ownership in its success.

Resources



IFC Insurance Program — Peer governance is critical to fostering shared community standards, and the new IFC Insurance Program removes some of the barriers, putting students back in charge of setting and maintaining expectations. The NIC’s IFC Insurance Program covers officers, alumni and volunteers for most IFC-hosted programs and events, including peer monitoring, Greek Week, Homecoming activities, recruitment and philanthropic endeavors to name a few.

Peer-monitoring Programs — These examples of peer-monitoring programs outline how students can work together to monitor the safety of social and other events. This is a critical component of peer-governance.

IFC Judicial Board — These campus examples of IFC Judicial Board procedures show how integral this group can be to peer-governance and accountability within the fraternity community.

IFC Academy — IFC Academy attendees learn about the responsibilities and rights of IFC leadership, including the need for accountability through self-governance.

IMPACT — IMPACT is a campus-based leadership institute designed to foster improved relationships among campus leaders through an intensive, interactive 2.5-day program.

LAUNCH — This one-day, on-campus program helps fraternity and sorority leaders to kick off the officer term together through a positive, forward-thinking perspective. Through this engaging, participant-driven experience, chapter presidents and council officers will build relationships, explore individual and shared issues, and set goals to address them.

The NIC insurance program will be half the cost the Illinois IFC has been paying! Carrying insurance coverage for IFC events and peer monitoring program is just good practice and an outstanding service that the NIC can now provide to the local campus Interfraternity Councils.

Ashley A. Dye, Senior Assistant Dean of Students, Fraternity & Sorority Affairs, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Brotherhoods based on the schemas of shared social experiences, belonging, and accountability did not correlate with hazing tolerance.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

Investigation and adjudication procedures must take into account the overlapping scope of authority for all those involved, including chapter standards, student council expectations, university codes of conduct, inter/national organization conduct standards, and state laws.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

Cultivate resources for community investment

It takes resources to do purposeful things. With a compelling vision and a strong local partnership, alumni will support their fraternity and alma mater to ensure both always thrive.

Research



Collaboration Between Fraternal Organizations and Colleges and Universities in Addressing Student Conduct Issues — The role of alumni in chapter operations is critical, particularly in conduct proceedings. “[C]hapter advisors who are dedicated to the ideals and values of the fraternity and understand the place of fraternities and sororities in the education of young adults are interested in collaborating with colleges and universities. In turn, these institutions are interested and willing to collaborate with and support the chapter advisors. On the other hand, some chapter advisors are absent, meaning they rarely visit the chapter and advise the chapter leadership, or are not interested in working with the college or university and, perhaps, not the inter/national headquarters.”

AFA: Student Development Theory Resource Guide — This guide describes the importance of alumni involvement related to several student development theories, including Chickering and Reisser, and Perry. Alumni mentors help develop the career and personal development of undergraduate members, and set examples of appropriate behaviors that influence the decisions of younger members.

Resources



Alumni & Housing Summit — Investing in the alumni who support the fraternity community can provide greater levels of consistent, long-term support. As part of the Campus Support Model, the NIC will work with experienced facilitators and content experts to provide a Training Summit for alumni—both chapter-based advisors and House Corporation volunteers.

NIC Foundation Grants — The NIC and NIC Foundation have built a funding process that offsets costs for engaging in the NIC Campus Support Model, which includes high-level services to local communities, allowing institutions time build their own funding capacity for future years. The NIC is here to support your campus and assist you in finding the resources necessary to do purposeful, intentional work within your community. There are a limited number of grants available starting in the 2017-2018 academic year; these require a three-year commitment to the Campus Support Model.

Establishing an Alumni IFC — This NIC resource will guide you in the development of an Alumni IFC to support local fraternity chapters and councils.

The chapter with an engaged alumni board and/or an active faculty/alumni advisor is almost always a better performing organization that requires less attention from either campus or headquarters staff.

Terry Hogan, Mark Koepsell and Chuck Eberly

When combined with policy changes, improved advising, and more consistent resources, educational initiatives that focus on problematic ideologies have the potential to shift the conversation to a place that is more promising.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

Examples of strong decision making and opportunities for fraternity/sorority members to gain a better understanding of university and organizational policy can elevate thinking and allow students to view issues in a new way.

Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors

A successful Greek chapter has four partners: the students, the national office, local alumni, and the college. If any of those four partners is not constructively engaged in the life of the chapter, the group will not survive.

SSAO Interviewed in Paterson Study

Consistently assess community’s health

It’s easy for communities to get lost if they don’t pause to make sure they are still heading in the right direction.

Resources



Community Culture & Brotherhood Assessment — Through our Campus Support Model, the NIC has partnered with an expert in assessing fraternity and sorority communities. Using this assessment tool will enable you to evaluate the health of your community and design strategies for systemic improvement.

IFC Academy — IFC Academy attendees learn about the responsibilities and rights of IFC leadership, including the need for accountability through self-governance.

IMPACT — IMPACT is a campus-based leadership institute designed to foster improved relationships among campus leaders through an intensive, interactive 2.5-day program.

The North-American Interfraternity Conference should support research and data collection that assists member organizations, colleges and universities, and campus fraternity communities in assessing the incidents, prevalence, and characteristics of incidents of sexual assault and misconduct within the Conference, as well as the overall climate within campus fraternity communities with respect to perceptions of risk, knowledge of resources available to survivors, and perceived reactions to an incident of sexual assault or misconduct.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

FOCUS 2: CULTIVATE FRATERNITY MEN



Brotherhood based on fraternal ideals cultivates men and challenges boys to grow up.

Strategies

Foster meaningful, positive rites of passage

Young men have sought meaningful rites of passage for thousands of years. Without positive experiences that foster belonging, achievement and commitment, students eventually create warped traditions that foster resentment, apathy and shallow unity.

Research



Alcohol and Masculinity — The authors contend that “differences between male and female usages of alcohol is a result of the social significance placed upon alcohol. [A]lcohol usage is constructed and presented as masculine within the media, and that more potent forms of alcohol use were seen as more masculine.”

“Man-ing” Up and Getting Drunk: The role of masculine norms, alcohol intoxication and alcohol-related problems among college men — “This study highlights how distinct masculine norms are strongly associated to drinking to intoxication and alcohol-related problems, even after controlling for well-established risk factors, such as fraternity membership and perceived drinking norms.”

Guyland: The perilous world where boys become men — ‘”Guyland” is perpetuated by men’s need for approval from other men, secret shame about not living up to the masculine ideal, and the false perception that most men believe in it.”

Mantalk: Fraternity Men and Masculinity — This study analyzed 15 fraternity members’ experiences in a 10-week men’s growth group designed to explore the meaning of masculinity and its impact on their lives as men. McKee argues that with little guidance and understanding of what manhood is, college-aged man often engage in risky behaviors and activities that align with that misperception.

Resources



Men’s Development Programming — The NIC has partnered with experts in men’s development to provide programming on manhood and healthy masculinity. Click to review programming options in the NIC’s Campus Support Model.

Rites of Passage Programming — “Joining a fraternity is often a charged and confusing life stage, not only for the new members, but also for those who live and work with them,” as one of the NIC’s programming partners puts it. The NIC has partnered with experts to help men explore positive, meaningful rites of passage in their fraternity experience. Click to review programming options in the NIC’s Campus Support Model.

Community Culture and Brotherhood Assessment — The NIC’s Campus Support Model includes access to researchers with experience in assessing fraternity culture on campus, as well as brotherhood, and designing campus-specific strategies for improving member development and satisfaction.

Student affairs practitioners have traditionally tried to solve problems caused by men by focusing on the negative... I [argue] that an important element in changing men lies in a different direction—by focusing on the positive (on men’s desires to act and be men in a positive way) and on releasing men from a false and destructive sense of peer pressure and gender dichotomies by revealing the truth about men to each other.

Alan Berkowitz

By educating prospective members and members about the angst that they may all feel with regard to their role in society, the campus, and their fraternity—as men—it will make them aware of how this potential consternation may lead to hyper-masculine conduct like physical violence, alcohol or drug use, and pranks in the context of hazing.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

Drinking alcohol is seen as a rite of passage and an activity that men do to bond with each other in public ways.

Russell Lemle, Marc E. Mishkind

The term 'Guyland' is used to describe a culture of men who perceive that they never measure up to their peers, to the masculine ideal, or to their own sense of self. [It] is perpetuated by men’s need for approval from other men, secret shame about not living up to the masculine ideal, and the false perception that most men believe in it.

Alan Berkowitz

For men there is pressure to demonstrate masculinity through engaging in two different forms of unhealthy behavior: activities that can cause them harm, like drinking large amounts of alcohol, and avoiding getting help when hurt. Doing so reinforces the traditional views of being a man.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

ManTalk, as a program, educated, supported, and outfitted participants with some of the necessary skills and tools to more successfully navigate the college/fraternity experience.

Shane Patrick McKee

Foster a fraternal culture of humble confidence

Humble, confident men focus on giving more to get more. Arrogant, insecure boys focus on controlling others for personal gain. Authentic brotherhood endures with the former.

Research



United Educators Insurance: Confronting campus sexual assault: an examination of higher education claims — This report suggests that a “culture that promotes hypermasculinity, sexual aggression and excessive alcohol consumption” is one of the contributors to athletes’ and fraternity men’s involvement in sexual assault.

Greeks as role models — The authors of this study suggests that hypermasculinity, although often associated with fraternity membership, is more problematic for non-Greeks when it comes to sexually aggressive attitudes. The study also found non-fraternity members showed a positive correlation between Table13 attitudes and hostility toward women; no relationship was found for fraternity members.

Constructions of Masculinity and Their Influence on Men’s Well-being: a theory of gender and health — The author of this study suggests that by using unhealthy beliefs and behaviors to demonstrate masculinity, men are able to assume power over women and less powerful men. This power also influences how a man might dismiss health issues, believing in an exaggerated sense of strength that is socially constructed.

Resources



Programming on Healthy Relationships — The NIC has partnered with experts within and outside higher education to provide programming on men’s development, masculinity, mental and physical health, and men’s relationships. Click to review programming options in the NIC Campus Support Model.

Men’s Development Programming — The NIC has partnered with experts in men’s development to provide programming on manhood and healthy masculinity. Click to review programming options in the NIC’s Campus Support Model.

Community Culture and Brotherhood Assessment — The NIC’s Campus Support Model includes access to researchers with experience in assessing fraternity culture on campus, as well as brotherhood, and designing campus-specific strategies for improving member development and satisfaction.

The Best of Brotherhood Building — This NIC resource helps fraternity chapters build brotherhood and promote interaction among brothers.

Training and/or educational materials should include a discussion of healthy masculinity and healthy relationships, definitions of sexual violence and consent, reporting options, relevant and applicable organizational procedures and codes, bystander intervention, the role of alcohol and drugs, and the prohibition of retaliation.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

So what accounts for the difference? Fraternities tend to have at least some level of education about the importance of sexual consent, assault and alcohol abuse.

Allie Grasgreen

The social practices that undermine men's health are often signifiers of masculinity and instruments that men use in the negotiation of social power and status.

Will H. Courtenay

Engage in the solution to end campus sexual misconduct

When fraternity men champion a culture of dignity and respect, their collective influence can help shape a healthier, safer campus community.

Research



Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct — Rates of nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force or incapacitation across 27 institutions of higher education are as high or slightly higher than reported in previous years.

  • Rates of sexual assault and misconduct are highest among undergraduate females and those identifying as transgender, genderqueer, non-conforming, questioning, and as something not listed on the survey (TGQN).
  • The risk of the most serious types of nonconsensual sexual contact decline from freshman to senior year.
  • Nonconsensual sexual contact involving drugs and alcohol constitute a significant percentage of the incidents.

Preventing violence and promoting safety in higher education settings — Studies have found that no single factor causes violence; individual characteristics and attributes of campus and community environments play a role. The “social ecological framework” recognizes that “health- and safety-related behaviors are shaped through multiple levels of influence” and therefore require unique responses.

Center for Changing Our Campus Culture, supported by DOJ Office on Violence Against Women — Provides research and resources on prevention, response, regulations, and stakeholder engagement. Includes links to CDC, White House, OCR and other official policies/reports.

Fostering Men’s Responsibility for Preventing Sexual Assault — To encourage men to develop a sense of responsibility and response to address sexual assault, Berkowitz recommends small, single-gender educational/intervention programs. Discussions should be interactive and encourage honest sharing and discussion of (mis)perceptions of men’s experience.

Resources



Sexual Misconduct Prevention Programming — The NIC has partnered with renowned experts on sexual health, sexual misconduct, and bystander intervention to provide resources to help fraternity men and their campus peers be leaders in eliminating sexual assault. Click to review the programming options in the NIC Campus Support Model.

Bystander Intervention Programming — Helping students feel and be prepared to intervene when injustice or assault is happening is critical for creating safer and healthier communities. The NIC has partnered with experts in bystander intervention to provide programs for fraternity and sorority members. Click to review our programming options.

The most promising interventions provide men the opportunity to drop the 'tough' guise of masculinity and engage in open, honest discussion about their feelings, attitudes, and behaviors in a nonblaming environment.

Alan Berkowitz

[D]issimilar problems require very different sets of intervention strategies.

Linda Langford

Foubert and Perry (2007) found that incorporating bystander intervention training into all-men’s sexual violence prevention programs may lead to attitudinal and behavioral changes in fraternity members.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

Koelsch, Brown, and Boisen (2012) suggest that men’s bystander intervention training should emphasize specific intervention strategies, [and] men’s shared responsibility for the safety of women.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

FOCUS 3: ADDRESS ALCOHOL abuse — 3-PRONGED APPROACH



Research shows how men use alcohol is closely connected to their individual and group identities. It tells us that alcohol abuse is the common thread among other critical issues on college campuses and fraternities. Solutions must be campus-specific and incorporate training, interventions and community-driven standards.

Strategies

Implement effective bystander intervention programs

Students stepping up to do the right thing at the right time in the right manner is a campus’ best line of defense.

Research



Bystander Intervention Among College Men: The role of alcohol and correlates of sexual aggression — This study discovered that men who engage in two or more episodes of heavy drinking in the past month reported lower “prosocial bystander attitudes” than men who did not. Using these findings, the authors presented implications for sexual assault prevention.

The Unresponsive Bystander: Why doesn’t he help? — Latane and Darley were the first to present research that defined the inhibition of personal action in a moment of crisis/emergency when others are present, when one perceives someone else will respond or notices the other is not responding. These are hallmarks of bystander behavior.

Sexual Violence Prevention through Bystander Education: an experimental evaluation — Banyard, Moynihan and Plante evaluated the effectiveness of a sexual violence prevention program based in bystander education. Men and women involved in the program showed improvements across measures of attitude, knowledge and behavior after two months of one- or three-hour sessions.

Resources



Bystander Intervention Programming — Helping students feel and be prepared to intervene when injustice or assault is happening is critical for creating safer and healthier communities. The NIC has partnered with experts in bystander intervention to provide programs for fraternity and sorority members. Click to review our programming options.

Community Culture and Brotherhood Assessment — The NIC’s Campus Support Model includes access to researchers with experience in assessing fraternity culture on campus, as well as brotherhood, and designing campus-specific strategies for improving member development and satisfaction.

Each incident of hazing involves a variety of individuals, including perpetrators, bystanders inside and outside the organization, positional leaders, and victims. Because hazing is an interpersonal phenomenon, investigation procedures must take each of these roles, and the relationships between and among each individual, into consideration.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

The association between engaging in heavy drinking and lower prosocial bystander attitudes was mediated by men’s perception of their peers’ approval for sexual aggression, their own comfort with sexism, and engagement in coercive sexual behavior.

Lindsay M. Orchowski, Ph.D; Alan Berkowitz, Ph.D; Jesse Boggis; and Daniel Oesterle

A model of best practices should address both individual and organization level responsibility, investigation and interview procedures, responsibility of bystanders in permitting the behavior, perceived and actual norms of hazing behaviors within the campus community, and anti-retaliation and amnesty policies for victims and whistleblowers.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

Implement effective social norming intervention programming

Those that know better, do better. Shifting misperceptions from "everyone does it" to "some do it, but I don't have to,” results in a healthier community.

Research



Fostering Healthy Norms to Prevent Violence and Abuse: the social norms approach — Berkowitz extends his research on social norms and bystander intervention to address the issues of sexual behavior, sexual violence and intimate partner violence, suggesting that misperceptions may inhibit individuals from intervening.

The Efficacy of the Social Norms Approach to Substance Abuse Prevention Applied to Fraternity Men — The authors of this study investigated social norms strategies related to reducing binge drinking among fraternity men and found three flaws in most applications of the strategy, including that “there is no predominant, healthy drinking norm in this population; students are influenced more by people within their network(s) than by others; and binge drinking is the norm in this group and may serve to perpetuate the problem.”

Group Cohesiveness, Social Norms, and Bystander Intervention — This study by Rutkowski, Gruder and Romber determined that bystander responsiveness is more likely in high-cohesive groups (as opposed to among non-acquaintances), and cohesiveness facilitated helping when the social-responsibility norm was salient.

Resources



Social Norming Interventions — The NIC’s Campus Support Model includes services designed to assess social norms, debunk local myths and misperceptions, and establish campus-specific strategies to tackle unhealthy behaviors. Click to review these resources.

Community Culture and Brotherhood Assessment — The NIC’s Campus Support Model includes access to researchers with experience in assessing fraternity culture on campus, as well as brotherhood, and designing campus-specific strategies for improving member development and satisfaction.

Spreading a consistent message that sets pro-social expectations and clarifies misperceptions about peer acceptability of hazing is likely to reduce some of the barriers members face to questioning or reporting it.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

[S]ocial norms interventions to reduce misperceptions associated with willingness to intervene might be effective in increasing bystander willingness to prevent sexual assault.

Alan Berkowitz, Ph.D

The findings, though preliminary, provide the first step in developing interventions beyond the social norms approach to address binge drinking among fraternity men.

Colleen A. Carter, Ph.D; William M. Kahnweiler, Ph.D

A large study of fraternity and sorority members at the University of Virginia (UVA) supports the value of Small Group Social Norm (SGSN) interventions, particularly in decreasing negative consequences associated with alcohol use. UVA found that although typical drinking behavior among chapters that participated in the SGSN program was unchanged, the “peak” estimated BAC decreased, as did negative consequences, while protective behaviors increased (Bruce & Bonday, 2003).

NIC Presidential Commission Report

Reduce the presence of alcohol through raising community standards

The research is clear: the more accessible alcohol is, the more likely students will abuse it. Campuses need common-sense community standards that are embraced by students to reduce alcohol abuse.

Research



NIAAA College Drinking Fact Sheet — This report addresses the importance of reducing alcohol availability to limit consumption and harmful consequences on campus. It also provides data and strategies for addressing binge drinking among college students through mixed interventions.

CASA Guide for Policymakers — This guide, intended for policymakers but relevant for all practitioners, emphasizes the need for prevention and early intervention using solid, research- and policy-based approaches.

Drinking Levels, Alcohol Problems and Secondhand Effects in Substance-free College Residences — This study revealed residents in substance-restricted housing were 60 percent less likely to engage in heavy episodic drinking. The researchers suggest additional study is necessary to determine if this is a causal relationship or due to self-selection.

Resources



CollegeAIM — The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) developed the CollegeAIM—the College Alcohol Intervention Matrix—”to help college personnel choose wisely among the many potential interventions to address harmful and underage college student drinking.”

Creating a Common-Sense Alcohol Policy — To be effective, community standards must be embraced by students and alumni. This model shows how willingness and capability to enforce can impact efficacy, driving the type of policy a community should create.

The Impact of Alcohol-Free Housing: A letter from the commission chairman, Ed Hammond — “The research clearly shows that reducing alcohol availability will improve academic performance and provide a safer environment for our fraternity members.” One way to achieve that is to implement alcohol-free housing. In this letter, Ed Hammond, Chairman of NIC Presidential Commission on Alcohol Use in the Fraternity Experience and President Emeritus of Fort Hays State University, outlines why this standard is a “game changer.”

Sample Community Alcohol Policies — Sample community alcohol/social event policy language can be a guide as your community looks at its standards. However, remember, a policy is only as strong as how the community embraces and enforces it.

 

While all the recommendations of the Commission are important there is one that has the potential for the greatest positive impact on men's fraternities and their members: adopting alcohol free housing for all fraternities is a game changer.

Ed Hammond, Chairman of the NIC Presidential Commission on Alcohol Use within the Fraternity Experience

Although the majority of students come to college already having some experience with alcohol, certain aspects of college life, such as unstructured time, the widespread availability of alcohol, inconsistent enforcement of underage drinking laws, and limited interactions with parents and other adults, can intensify the problem.

National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

The notion of community readiness for change is critical to identify incremental policy change that would both limit availability and reduce consequences while working towards a healthier normative environment for fraternity members (Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research, 2014).

NIC Presidential Commission Report

Effective prevention is comprised of public education and awareness that helps to reduce the appeal of addictive substances, as well as laws, regulations and policies that reduce their availability and accessibility, particularly to young people.

National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse

Residence in substance-free housing was associated with lower likelihood of heavy episodic drinking in college for students who were not heavy episodic drinkers in high school.

Wechsler H., Lee J.E., Nelson T.F., Lee H.

It is clear that a long-term goal of policy change is comprised of many incremental steps and that each community should determine the pace of change that is comfortable and effective for their needs.

NIC Presidential Commission Report

VFC Framework At a Glance

Phase 2 to Roll Out December 2018.

Sponsors

Thank you to the organizations who provided financial contributions to support the work of the NIC Presidential Commissions.


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