An Update from Student Life
Submitted on October 1, 2020
Dear Georgetown College Community,
Georgetown College is committed to being an institution where all our students are welcomed, valued, and have the opportunity to thrive. We strive to provide an education that uplifts both the mind and heart of our students in light of our mission “to prepare students to engage in their life’s pursuits with thoughtfulness and skill by providing an exceptional educational experience in a vibrant Christian community.” Within this vibrant Christian community, we affirm the teachings of Jesus. Jesus taught us to love others as we would love ourselves (without qualifications about what types of neighbors we should love). We also recognize, as stated in scripture, that God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth—black, brown, or white, gay, or straight, male or female. We pray that this truth will find fertile ground in the hearts of all of the members of our campus community. While we are committed to supporting and educating students and members of the campus community to achieve these ideals, we also recognize that there are times when more severe and definitive actions are required.
As stated in the college’s non-discrimination policy, “Georgetown College does not discriminate, either in admission of students, hiring and promotion of employees, or in the administration of any educational policies, programs, or activities on the basis of race, color, national, or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, disability or veteran status.” President Jones made this clear in his 2019 Opening Convocation Address when he stated, “No matter what color you are, where you are from, or whom you love, you are welcome at Georgetown College. Jesus said, ‘Come.’ And, Georgetown College says, ‘Come.’ The college is committed to diversity among our students, faculty, staff, and board of trustees, because it is noble, just, democratic, right, and productive.”
Georgetown College has an active and thriving Fraternity and Sorority life with over 40% of the campus involved in one of our organizations. These organizations play an important role in the overall campus community with a commitment to academic excellence, philanthropy, and leadership development.
Over the past several weeks, the college has investigated and substantiated allegations of behavior devaluing and degrading others through speech and actions by some members of the Kappa Alpha fraternity. After a thorough investigation of the allegations, we have concluded that troubling incidents of racial prejudice, gender discrimination, misogyny, and threatening behavior have occurred.
While not all members of the organization participated in the problematic behavior, we believe the pervasiveness and the behavior exhibited do not align with the mission and goals of the college or of the Kappa Alpha Order. Therefore, in collaboration with the Kappa Alpha Order National Administrative Office (NAO), we have made the difficult decision to suspend the Beta Delta chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order at Georgetown College from operation for four years. Additionally, the NAO will be taking disciplinary actions and holding members accountable through their conduct and judicial processes.
The Kappa Alpha Order NAO and the college are committed to seeing the return of the Beta Delta chapter after this 4-year suspension. The college enjoys and benefits from our relationships with external organizations and clubs. However, our loyalty will always rest in protecting the overall welfare of our students, faculty, staff, and coaches.
Any future applications for new or reinstatement of fraternity or sorority chapters are subject to the approval of the college and will be required to include a detailed inclusion and diversity recruitment and operational plan. Going forward, we will ask all Fraternity and Sorority Life organizations to develop and monitor similar plans on an annual basis. We will also continue to provide training and support opportunities to all student groups and individuals on related topics.
As announced this summer, the college has formed a Task Force to Improve Inclusion and Kindness at Georgetown College, to help to make the college more inclusive, diverse, warm and welcoming, and kind. The Task Force will develop a report of the college’s current state and will include recommendations to ensure the full inclusion of all of the members of our campus community and to enhance the level of kindness shown to each of our community members and campus visitors.
While I cannot discuss individual students and other specifics in order to protect privacy, please feel free to contact me directly if you would like to discuss these sanctions further, or if you have any other questions or concerns.
Curtis T. Sandberg, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students