Message regarding sorority and fraternity activities on campus

Dear Ithaca Campus Community,

The passing of first-year student Antonio Tsialas nearly two weeks ago is still under active investigation by the Cornell University Police. While we do not yet have definitive answers about the cause of his death, it is already widely known that an unregistered fraternity-sponsored event took place on October 24, that alcohol was served, and that first-year students, including Mr. Tsialas, were in attendance.

These events, still under investigation, regrettably follow a pattern of misconduct in the Greek-letter system, a pattern that is emblematic of enduring problems that we, as a community, must recommit ourselves to solving. Indeed, despite substantially enhanced Greek Life outreach, training and policy development over the last two years, numerous fraternities have been found to have engaged in misconduct over that time sufficient to merit suspension of their recognition by the university.

I am pleased that a majority of the Panhellenic Council, earlier this week, supported a freeze for all social mixers between member sororities and Interfraternity Council (IFC) fraternities until the end of the semester. While this proposal did not receive the necessary unanimous vote to pass, the IFC announced today that they would institute a voluntary ban on social events for the remainder of the calendar year. These welcome developments demonstrate that student leadership recognizes the seriousness of the situation. I fully support these decisions and feel that this pause will give our university community a chance to begin thoughtful development of meaningful and lasting changes in our policies.


Martha E. Pollack