Trustees’ Statement, February 1984

On and after Feb. 25, 1984, no resource of the College (physical, staff or monetary) shall be used or employed, directly or indirectly, in any procedure relating to rushing, pledging, initiating or otherwise admitting to or maintaining membership by any student of the College in any fraternity, sorority or other social club, society or organization (however denominated).

On and after July 1, 1984, every building owned or leased by the College and used by the College to house one or more students then attending the College shall be subject to rules and regulations of the College of general applicability from time to time in effect allocating residential space, and no fraternity, sorority or other social club, society or organization (however denominated) shall be permitted to participate, directly or indirectly, in the allocation process.

Nothing in these resolutions shall be deemed to prohibit the use of any building owned or leased by the College for meetings (including social functions, subject to rules and regulations of the College of general applicability) held by honorary clubs, societies and organizations, such as Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi. 

Nothing in these resolutions shall be deemed to prohibit the use of any building owned or leased by the College for a residential use directly related to the educational program of the College (such as a “language house”) solely by reason of the fact that social functions, subject to rules and regulations of the College of general applicability, may occur there from time to time.

Adopted by vote of the Board of Trustees, Feb. 24, 1984. 

College Council Statement on the February 1984 Fraternity Policy

(The following statement was voted by the College Council as a supplement to and explanation of the Trustees’ resolution on fraternities. It does not have the status of legislation passed by either the Board of Trustees or by the full faculty of Amherst College.)

The Board of Trustees voted to abolish fraternities at Amherst College in 1984. In so doing, the Board took the position that it would not attempt to limit students’ ability to associate freely with whomever they wish off campus, but it would ensure that no College facilities could ever be used by fraternities or sororities. As a result, Amherst students are not prohibited from joining fraternal organizations whose activities take place entirely off the Amherst College campus. Such organizations that do conduct activities on campus, however, are in violation of the Trustees’ resolution, and any student who participates in those activities is subject to disciplinary action. Examples of such activities include but are not limited to:

1.  Any activity that is required as part of the process of pledging or initiating new members 

2.  Meetings whose purpose is to recruit new members 

3.  Meetings of members to conduct fraternity business or to socialize with each other

4.  Social events, such as parties, organized and/or funded by the membership of the organization, whether those events are restricted to the members themselves or are open to the entire campus

5.  Use of College facilities, such as bulletin boards or the internal campus mail system, to promote or to advertise events sponsored by the organization

Students who violate any of these restrictions imposed by the Trustees’ resolution will be subject to the full range of disciplinary sanctions available to the College. The restrictions apply to the public and private areas of dormitories of Amherst College, as well as to all other buildings and facilities, including the grounds, athletic fields and other property of the College.

The Trustees’ Resolution on Fraternities mandates that no College facilities shall be used by fraternities or sororities; there can be no such activities on campus. The Board established this rule to help ensure that our community lives up to its ideals of inclusivity and equality of opportunity. The Student Code of Conduct clearly states that fraternities and sororities that conduct activities on campus, as well as students who participate in these activities, will be judged in violation of this resolution. 

As a result of a serious violation involving the leadership and members of the off-campus fraternity Psi Upsilon, and on the advice of the College Council, the College now prohibits all students from joining this organization. The College will take disciplinary action against any student who is found to be a member of or participating in any activities sponsored by Psi Upsilon, whether those activities are held on or off campus. Disciplinary sanctions in such cases may include suspension or expulsion from the College.

In light of these events, members of other off-campus fraternities and sororities should be aware that the College will be monitoring their compliance with the Trustees’ resolution, and that any violations may result in the prohibition on membership being extended to all off-campus fraternities and sororities.

Trustees’ Reaffirmation on the 1984 Resolution on Fraternities

Resolved on April 4, 2014: The Board reaffirms the 1984 Trustees’ Resolution on Fraternities. In addition, effective July 1, 2014, student participation in off-campus fraternities and sororities and fraternity-like and sorority-like organizations is prohibited. Violations will be subject to appropriate penalties, including suspension or expulsion from the College.
Adopted by the Board of Trustees, Amherst College.