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Advisory Committee Recommendations

The Pi Alpha Phi Advisory Committee on the Moratorium was convened in August 2020. The purpose was to examine elements of the member experience in light of nationwide issues related to student alcohol, drug abuse, sexual misconduct, as well as other factors impacting collegiate populations.


The Advisory Committee was charged with reviewing behaviors, education, policies, processes, and procedures at all levels of Pi Alpha Phi, and the role they play in the health, safety, personal development, and community building of our members, other stakeholders, and the communities in which we operate.


After initial discussions with the National Fraternity leadership, the Committee created subgroups for:

  • Conduct / Sexual Misconduct

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Mental Health and Wellness

  • New Member Experience


Final recommendations were released on June 1, 2021.


Included in the recommendations are:


Social Events and Activities

  • Chapters should be required to submit an event plan for approval for both national fraternity and university. (completed)

  • Chapters should receive annual training to host safer events, including sexual misconduct prevention, consent, hazing, and other risk management concerns.

Education and Evaluation

  • Chapters should receive education on the core purposes and benefits of the Fraternity, including diversity, mental health and wellness of members, masculinity issues,

  • The Fraternity should begin annual assessments to measure baseline and metrics of success of various programs.

Policy

  • Update Conduct Policies. An effective student and chapter conduct policy emphasizes personal responsibility and is education-centered and prevention-focused. Students and student chapters are expected to uphold the organization’s standards and values. Students and chapters are expected to accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their violations. The goal of the conduct process should be changing behavior and reducing future violations. Rather than focusing on Sanctions, the Fraternity should focus on Outcomes.


  • Improve transparency / knowledge of Fraternity documents by posting them on pialphaphi.com website, annual email of important documents to students, and include in various training throughout the year.


  • Sexual Misconduct Allegations are no longer handled at the undergraduate level. Any allegation reported to the Fraternity will be addressed by the Judicial Standards Committee, made up of higher education student conduct experts.

Diversity Equity Inclusion

The work of the DEI committee was conducted via surveys, assessments, and focus group conversations.


The experiences detailed in the survey were generally consistent across race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Members generally felt welcome in their chapter and organization. We acknowledge that it’s a self-selecting respondents and that those who did not feel they belong are more likely to quit prior to the end of their new member education process.


Recommendations include:

  • Incorporate DEI education modules into new member / annual programming. It should include expectations for how members should conduct themselves.

  • Incorporate anti-racism / cultural identity into new member / annual programming

  • Incorporate Asian American Sorority and Fraternity History and relevance aligning with DEI principles

  • Set up a LGBTQ+ inclusive policy


Other areas for future research:

  • What are some metrics the Fraternity can use to measure DEI success?

  • How do we engage the diversity of membership and elevate them to serve in national leadership positions.

  • What potential barriers to inclusion do our policies create?

  • What potential barriers to diversifying our membership do our recruitment practices create? (for example, do our members explicitly target Asian looking men and ignore others?)


How has exclusion been perpetuated in our community?

  • For example, offensive party themes and philanthropy events/ individual behavior?

  • Has joining Pi Alpha Phi been an opportunity for limited income students?

  • Who has historically been in leadership of Pi Alpha Phi? What are the identities of those serving in chapter and national leadership been?

  • How has Pi Alpha Phi treated LGBTQ+ members or potential members?

  • How are non-Asian American identified people treated in my Fraternity?

  • Does the organization support members and potential members with disabilities?

How has exclusion and oppression been perpetuated in Pi Alpha Phi?

  • Legacy policies that give advantage to potential members whose parents had the opportunity to attend college?

  • Homogenous chapter demographics

  • Culturally appropriative party themes?

  • Racist or sexist event or recruitment flyers?

  • Racist, sexist, misogynistic, or transphobic songs, chants?

  • Appropriating hand signs, calls, steps, strolls?

  • Terminology: Colonies? Pledges?


How do new programs and positions affect the time and dollar commitment of our student members?

Do our DEI initiatives token-ize non Asian American members to the extent they are seen as less legitimate members?

Are all members subjected to new requirements? Or is it only applied to those that can be coerced with threats to revoke recognition?


Mental Health and Wellness


There is no health without mental health. Unfortunately, due to cultural stigma, mental health is

still unspoken in our society and in the Asian American community. Study after study has shown

that the ability to talk about mental health issues can tremendously decrease an individual’s stress level and improve overall quality of life.


Studies have also shown that college students’ mental health challenges are on the rise. In 2015, about 34% of college students reported experiencing depression. The latest survey in 2020 shows 63% of college students experience depression. Suicide was the leading cause of death for Asian/Pacific Islanders, ages 15 to 24, in 2019.


When it comes to Asian American college students, the percentage could be higher. On top of

common mental health challenges that the general college student experiences, Asian American college students also have to deal with racism, xenophobia, sexism for both male and female students, toxic masculinity, intergenerational and cultural gaps, and identity crisis. All of these internal and external adversities cause additional mental and emotional burdens to Asian American college students.


Nationwide, factors impacting mental health of Asian Americans include:


  • Parental pressure to succeed in academics

  • Discussing mental health concerns is considered taboo in many Asian cultures and as a result Asian Americans tend to dismiss, deny or neglect their symptoms

  • Pressure to live up to the "model minority" stereotype (a view that inaccurately portrays Asian Americans as successfully integrating into mainstream culture and having overcome the challenges of racial bias)

  • Family obligations based on strong traditional and cultural values

  • Discrimination due to racial or cultural background

  • Difficulty in balancing two different cultures and developing a bicultural sense of self

Recommendations:


As part of the Pi Alpha Phi’s Mental Health Advisory Committee, here are NAAPIMHA’s

recommendations for Pi Alpha Phi on how to advocate and improve mental health well-being for

its members. The core vision of these recommendations is to normalize mental health

conversations among current and future members of Pi Alpha Phi and to prevent suicide.


  • Increase the mental health presence on social media platforms and existing communication channels.

  • Create leadership that takes lead and becomes the role model.

  • Offer voluntary mental health workshops for its current and new members.

  • Train the Trainers: Empower the next generation of mental health trainers


Increase mental health presence on social media platforms and existing communication

channels


One of the causes of mental health stigma is a lack of appropriate mental health information. To

normalize mental health conversations, Pi Alpha Phi needs to bring mental health awareness front and center in its communication channels and social media platforms.


Create Leadership Takes the Lead and becomes the Role Model


In order for the mental health initiative to succeed and be impactful, the leadership must have a

buy-in. This buy-in doesn’t just mean leadership simply mentions the importance of mental health or posts it on social media. The leadership needs to be actively involved and get trained on mental health. It is highly recommends that for anyone that wants to be in a leadership position, Pi Alpha Phi installs a mandatory requirement for those individuals to attend a mental health training prior to joining the leadership team.


Offer Voluntary Mental Health Workshop for Its Current and New Members


Like any profession, continual education in mental health is important to destigmatize mental

health within our communities. Pi Alpha Phi can offer a mental health workshop for its current and new members on a quarterly basis. These quarterly mental health workshops can be an hour-long virtual webinar.


For new members that are in college, Pi Alpha Phi can work with chapter leaders to offer additional mental health workshops and conversations that are specifically designed for college students. The workshop can be once or twice a semester.


There should be built-in incentives for chapter leaders to offer mental health

workshops and for new members to attend them.


Train the Trainers


The members of Pi Alpha Phi should be empowered to take over mental health training so their brothers can train and provide mental health support for each other. Thus, the longer goal is to train qualified individuals within Pi Alpha Phi to be mental health facilitators.

Train the Trainers can only be achieved if there is enough of a consensus and a number of people that understand and value the importance of mental health in their own lives and within the organization.


New Member Experience


Analysis was done and assessment was done with thorough discussion with different stakeholders including graduate members and undergraduate members, New Member Experience Survey, historical assessments, and industry best practices. Recommendations are given to create a program model and framework to implement that model with certain parameters to create an opportunity for a higher degree of success.


It is the recommendation that the new member experience includes the following sessions:


  1. Masculinity- What it means to be a Pi Alpha Phi Man

  2. Pi Alpha Phi History

  3. Diversity and Asian American History

  4. Nutrition and Wellness

  5. Ethics and Values

  6. Leadership Skills and Team Dynamics

  7. Time Management

  8. Health and Safety


These sessions selected were highlighted by membership throughout the assessments, focus group conversations, and one on one meetings. Each piece referenced was a recurring piece that members said was important or valued in different ways.




Conclusion

This report represents the ideas and determination of many individuals, their discussions, and substantial constituent feedback. The Advisory Committee wants to acknowledge the generosity of time and spirit of everyone who participated in the discussion groups, the panels, and meetings that helped create this report. We are grateful for all those who generously shared their expertise and insights with us.

The recommendations and considerations are important issues for the Fraternity to discuss and analyze when planning for the future. We offer this report in the hope that the Fraternity will not only grow and thrive, but become a model to inspire others.

The next phase of this effort to improve the Fraternity will be to create task forces on each primary area of recommendations. To be continued...


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