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Tufts president appoints panel to look into Greek life

The president of Tufts University said Thursday that he has appointed a special committee to assess the culture of undergraduate life, with a focus on the Greek system, amid discord over the school’s fraternities and sororities.

The panel will also look at residential life, student organizations, and athletics, President Anthony Monaco said in a letter to the Tufts community.

Earlier this month, the elite liberal-arts school suspended all social activity at its fraternities for the rest of the semester after receiving allegations of hazing and sexual misconduct. And former members of a sorority have called for the eradication of all Greek life at the college.

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“In light of the scope and seriousness of what has been reported, I believe we must comprehensively assess undergraduate student life at Tufts, with a particular focus on the Greek system,” Monaco wrote. “We need to retain the best parts of what our student organizations add to campus life while eliminating those practices and behaviors that are inconsistent with our values.”

Kristin Reeves, former president of the Tufts chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi, said she’s “glad the administration is beginning to take steps to address some of the concerns that have been brought up the past few months about Greek life.” Her sorority’s membership splintered recently over a membership bid by a transgender student.

The Student Life Review Committee will begin its review in January, and has been asked to “take a broadly consultative approach and to seek insights on the best practices of peer institutions.”

Monaco tapped Dr. Susan H. Murphy, a 20-year veteran of student affairs leadership at Cornell University, to head the committee. Other members will include two Tufts trustees, faculty members, students, alumni, and representatives from the Medford and Somerville communities.

“These are very important issues that universities throughout the country are facing,” Murphy said in an email to the Globe. “I’m looking forward to working with the committee to . . . develop a deep understanding of student life.”

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Monaco wrote that the goal of the committee is not only to find positive attributes of the community to build upon, but also to “significantly strengthen” the way students engage in extracurricular activities.

“I will ask the committee to report to me on its findings and recommendations for how we can strengthen student life and enhance its contribution to our students’ well being, personal growth, and sense of connection to a vibrant Tufts community,” he wrote.


Samantha J. Gross can be reached at samantha.gross@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @samanthajgross