INDIANAPOLIS — For the last six months, the six National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) member organizations with chapters represented at the University of Nevada, Reno have been in communication with the University’s Fraternity and Sorority Life Office regarding its proposed Relationship Agreement for Recognition in 2019. These agreements are commonly subject to negotiation, and our members had been working to arrive at an agreement for 2019 that could meet the needs of both the University and the sorority community.
With negotiations still outstanding on a few areas of concern, the six NPC member organizations requested an extension to the Agreement deadline in hopes of continuing discussions with the University. Unfortunately, those requests were denied. So, the sororities declined to sign the proposed Relationship Agreement for 2019. The University then declared them to be unrecognized student organizations, effective immediately.
NPC member organizations always strive to be partners to the academic institutions that are the anchors of their chapters and their members’ postsecondary experiences. In particular, NPC has previously had strong relationships with UN-Reno. The Panhellenic community has a long history (established in 1913) and continues to grow (adding two new or re-established chapters in the past five years), with many of its alumnae remaining actively involved. In response to the University’s decision to forgo negotiations toward a mutually acceptable agreement, NPC and the inter/national organizations with collegiate chapters on the campus will begin work with the six collegiate chapters to form an independent College Panhellenic Association, appoint an advisor and determine the resources needed to ensure the sorority community continues to thrive in Reno.
However, NPC and its member organizations remain hopeful that the University will re-open discussions. Our desire is to address two key concerns:
- A requirement by the University that sorority chapters provide comprehensive reports on their internal conduct investigations. As independent, private organizations, NPC organizations reserve the right to set the standards governing the conduct and discipline of their members and chapters. This requirement includes a mandate for organizations to present to the University the names of members who might have been a victim of sexual assault. NPC is unaware of any other university in the country that requires this.
- A restriction that prevents recognized student organizations from associating with any unrecognized student group, including those who have chosen not to seek University recognition. This is an unnecessarily punitive measure with Constitutional implications. The University has acknowledged this is a requirement for students and organizations to waive First Amendment rights.
While the organizations are prepared to form an independent association, they also stand ready and willing to partner with the UN-Reno administration and urge them to reconsider their position on these issues.
About the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC)
NPC, one of the largest organizations advocating for women, is the umbrella group for 26 national and international sororities. NPC sororities are located on more than 670 campuses with more than 415,000 undergraduate members in more than 3,200 chapters. Alumnae are represented in more than 3,800 associations throughout the world. For more information, including a complete list of NPC sororities, visit npcwomen.org or find NPC on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.