Welcome to the start of a fantastic academic year! We hope that you had a great summer and are excited to begin all that the fall entails.
As we prepare for the start of the year, I would like to welcome you back with some of the remarks that I shared with your brothers this past month at the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute in the Birthplace of Phi Delta Theta, Oxford, Ohio.
Last year, I asked you to join me as we move ONWARD to progress as the premier fraternal leadership society and keep our values at the forefront of our planning and actions. As we enter the 2019-20 academic year, I ask you to continue to do the right thing as we use our Cardinal Principles to be our guide, each and every day.
We know that you will face difficult decisions which extend beyond the walls of Phi Delta Theta. For this reason, we have been proud to provide you the skillset to intervene when necessary through industry-leading health and safety programming, including Bystander Education workshops which occurred at 100% of our chapters last year and will continue both in-person and online this academic year. As a reminder, we will ask each of member, as a part of the minimum standards program, to complete the Be Your Brothers’ Keeper module annually. By providing each member with the tools and resources to say something when they see an act outside the boundaries of our values and knowledge and to do what ought to be done, we are confident that learned vigilance will ultimately protect the safety of one another and guests.
Know that if intervention is necessary, the Good Samaritan Policy was designed to assist you in acting swiftly with a primary focus on the health and safety of anyone involved.
For those who do step outside the boundaries of our values, we ask that you hold those members accountable. Never before have the consequences of bad decisions been more apparent. This summer, Mathew Naquin was convicted in Baton Rouge on the charge of negligent homicide for the death of our own Max Gruver. The consequences of the decisions made by Naquin, and others who pleaded guilty to lesser charges, will forever follow their names and souls.
We are firm believers that anyone who is found to be involved in a violation of our risk management policies will be held accountable for their individual actions, and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. For this reason, we supported the Gruver Act that was enacted in Louisiana. Along with this, we are in support of and have partnered with the Fraternal Government Relations Coalition to persuade our elected officials to pass the End All Hazing Act and The REACH Act in Washington, DC.
In addition to the tactics that I have already mentioned, know that our commitment to the wellbeing of you, your brothers, and those who will follow in your footsteps as future leaders of your chapter will continue to evolve as we transition from our Phi Delt 2020 strategic plan to our Phi Delt 2030 plan. This includes a partnership with Dyad Strategies, an educational research company that works with universities and fraternal organizations across the nation, to help us better understand and positively support you and your brothers. Later this Fall, each undergraduate member will be asked to complete the Phi Delt Brotherhood Assessment. The information from this survey will help us provide best-in-class educational programs, chapter services, and volunteer support.
We recently started an initiative with 39 chapters across the United States and Canada, that have raised their hands and volunteered, to test a more efficient and effective new member education process. The Phikeia educator and recruitment chairman from these 39 chapters recently attended the Phikeia Educator’s College at Kleberg to begin this process. This program will assimilate Phikeias into campus life and Phi Delta Theta membership. We look forward to working with these chapters to get their feedback on the program and related areas such as recruitment, brotherhood, and academic success on the path to the introduction of an improved program. New member education will become the front door of a four-year membership development experience that will enhance the personal trajectory of each and every member.
As you can see, we are committed to doing everything in our power to provide the educational tools and resources for you and your brothers to have the best experiences as Phis, and we are doing all that we can do to enable all of our members, young and old, to become the greatest versions of themselves. I thank you for joining me in moving this commitment to advance and promote our very special and impactful leadership society through your personal leadership and devotion to Phi Delta Theta.
As we start a new academic year, I simply ask you to lead with our values, do what ought to be done, and help us move ONWARD. I look forward to celebrating our collective accomplishments with you at the 2020 General Convention in Pittsburgh this coming June 18-21. I hope to see you there.
Yours in the Bond,
Dr. Chris W. Brussalis
President of the General Council
Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity