Dear Mercer Parent:
Sending a child to college can be a challenging and stressful time in a parent's life. While at Mercer, your child 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 will find by being involved in a fraternity or sorority at Mercer University.
What is being involved in a fraternity or sorority all about?
Knowing what you have seen on television and read in the local newspaper, the reality is that those are extreme cases of fraternity and sorority life. What the media will not tell you as a parent is that there are many life-long benefits to membership in fraternities and sororities. At a university like Mercer, membership in a fraternity or sorority offers a small community of friends away from home. Additionally, national research has shown that involvement in fraternities and sororities increases students' chances of graduating from college. As life-long members of a fraternity or sorority, 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 local alumni members of fraternity and sorority organizations.
My child is considering joining a fraternity or sorority; what advice should I give them?
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 research all of the organizations that are available to join. Utilizing local chapter and national websites are a great, convenient way to gather information. Feel free to contact students who are currently involved and their parents to ask them about their experiences. In most cases, both students and parents will speak candidly about their involvement with fraternities and sororities.
As an educated consumer, consider asking the following questions before your child joins a fraternity or sorority:
- What is expected of fraternity/sorority members?
- 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?
- Does the fraternity or sorority require members to live in the facility (if housing is available)? If so, for how long?
- What is the semesterly/annual expense 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 College? If not, why is this the case?
I am not a member of a fraternity or sorority; how can I learn more about it?
- Websites to take a closer look at:
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. This certainly is not the case. In order to be recognized by the College and maintain membership in the Panhellenic, Inter-Fraternity, or National Pan-Hellenic Councils, all fraternities and sororities are required to follow alcohol and risk management policies in accordance with the state law of Georgia, and are enforced by both University administrators and members of fraternities and sororities themselves. In addition, the fraternity and sorority councils ensure that the chapters are promoting a safe environment for its members.
Hazing is both against university policy as well as state law.
The Mercer University Student Handbook defines Hazing and Student as follows:
Hazing. Any act which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or which destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in, a group or organization. The express or implied consent of the victim will not be a defense. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing is a violation of this rule. Specific examples of acts which may constitute hazing include, but are not limited to:
- The wearing of signs or advertisements;
- Quests, treasure or scavenger hunts;
- Acts of servitude;
- Acts that embarrass, harass, or ridicule an individual;
- Acts that create excessive fatigue;
- Morally degrading or humiliating games or activities;
- Acts which destroy or remove public or private property;
- Acts which violate federal or state law;
- Consuming any food, liquid, alcoholic liquid, drug, or other substance in a manner which subjects the student to a risk of emotional, mental, or physical harm, including sickness, vomiting, intoxication, or unconsciousness;
- Experiencing threatened or actual exposure to physical injury, including injury resulting from whipping, beating, paddling, branding, dangerous physical activity, or exposure to elements;
- Experiencing threatened or actual exposure to mental injury, including injury resulting from activity adversely affecting the mental health or dignity of the individual, sleep deprivation, exclusion from social contact, or conduct that could result in extreme embarrassment; or
- Any action not covered above but defined as hazing in the Max Gruver Act, O.C.G.A. § 16-5-61.
Student. Includes all persons either registered or taking courses at Mercer University, both full-time and part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or professional studies, or who may reside in Mercer University housing, including residence halls, apartments, and Mercer Lofts. This includes non-degree seeking students. Persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with Mercer University are considered students (e.g., students enrolled in another college for a term, between semesters, internships, and admitted students).
If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office at email@example.com or by calling 478-301-2868.
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