22 Jul Rechartering Approved at Northwestern University
Lambda Phi Epsilon Asian-Interest Fraternity Wins Rechartering Approval
Lambda Phi Epsilon International Fraternity is honored to announce that it has been extended an invitation from Northwestern University to recharter in the Fall 2021 quarter. Our Fraternity looks forward to working with the university student body and staff to build a new Asian-interest fraternal space on campus and grow the greater multicultural community. We would like to share our thanks and appreciation with the Northwestern University Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Multicultural Greek Council, which selected Lambda Phi Epsilon out of a competitive pool of applicant organizations.
Originally chartered in 1981 at the University of California at Los Angeles, Lambda Phi Epsilon has grown to become the largest Asian-interest fraternity in the world. Lambda Phi Epsilon’s Alpha Eta Chapter was chartered at Northwestern in 1997 but closed in 2008 due to hazing violations.
With Lambda Phi Epsilon’s return to Northwestern University, it is important to acknowledge that hazing persists as a major issue in higher education. Hazing continues to jeopardize the safety of our student membership, detract from our promised fraternal experience, and threaten the viability of our institutions.
Solving the Hazing Problem
In early 2013, Lambda Phi Epsilon leadership had come to realize that our existing risk management strategies were insufficient in preventing hazing. Up to that point, actions taken against hazing were reactive, punitive, and specific only to the membership directly involved. To combat hazing, proactive fraternity-wide reforms aimed at tackling the root causes of hazing were required.
In 2014, the Fraternity redefined its mission and core values to better model the membership experience in today’s world.
Mission: To guide men on a lifelong discovery of authenticity and personal growth.
• Authenticity: Demonstration of one’s true self to the world, despite external expectations.
• Courageous Leadership: Integrity through action toward a more humane world, especially in times of adversity.
• Cultural Heritage: Ideas and experiences of a people, transcending the world through generations.
• Love: Care and respect for oneself, the brotherhood, and the world.
• Wisdom: Pursuit of understanding and its positive application toward one’s life and the world.
In 2015, Lambda Phi Epsilon commissioned the Noble Brother Program, the Fraternity’s standardized education manual. An introduction to Lambda Phi Epsilon, the Noble Brother Program directly covers the issue and history of hazing and addresses important concepts that can reduce hazing behaviors, such as modern masculinity and vulnerability. The program continues to be updated annually and is openly shared with our university partners.
Lambda Phi Epsilon requires that all new member educators receive Noble Brother training certification at one of two annual education retreats held virtually or in-person when permitted. The Fraternity considers training participation a top priority and provides registration, lodging, and a $200 travel stipend to each chapter to support attendance.
These reforms, coupled with a shift to full-time professional staffing, have been instrumental in transforming Lambda Phi Epsilon into a modern fraternity. Membership growth has nearly doubled, with accompanying increases in philanthropy participation and cultural activism.
The changes have had an unexpected but welcome impact on fraternal progressivism. In 2015, the Fraternity announced the appointment of two women of color to its Executive Board. In 2016, chapter delegates approved a resolution to retire the use of the term “colony” due to its sociohistorical context involving the subjugation of indigenous peoples. In 2017, delegates approved another resolution to adopt a transgender-inclusive membership policy. In 2020, the Fraternity introduced the member-focused curated role of International Board Advisor to the Board of Directors. This role, currently held by a woman of color, oversees the implementation of strategic priorities focused on the membership’s intellectual, emotional, and social development through cultural validation, support, and belonging.
The Fraternity now takes an active position on all major current events, most recently with statements condemning xenophobia associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and violence directed toward Asian Americans across North America in early 2021.
Addressing Sexual Misconduct
While sexual misconduct has been widely reported in both the collegiate and fraternal communities, culturally-based fraternal organizations have historically been overlooked in these conversations. Reports on social media last summer indicate that the National APIDA Panhellenic Association (NAPA) fraternal organizations are not unaffected and that comprehensive reforms are needed to address this issue.
The wave of allegations over summer 2020 revealed that the Fraternity needed expert help in updating standards and accountability procedures as well as ensuring a fair and equitable reporting process that is conscientious of the needs of survivors. In July, we announced the hiring of Emily Feinstein, a Title IX expert with almost two decades of experience in fraternity/sorority and student conduct. Feinstein’s resume ranges from Title IX Deputy Coordinator at the University of Alabama Birmingham to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at the University of California, San Diego. She was appointed LFE Director of Fraternal Standards to develop a trauma-informed reporting process and conduct prompt, thorough, and fair investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct.
The Fraternity also recognized the need for education and training and looked for a partner in Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the largest anti-sexual assault organization in the United States. These conversations sparked a larger collaboration with the 20 fraternities and sororities that form the larger NAPA community to provide custom cultural-specific training to the groups represented within the council. Lambda Phi Epsilon committed to having 100% of its members trained by RAINN and has met that goal as of the publication of this article. The Code of Conduct has also been updated to require all undergraduate chapters to attend at least one Sexual Assault Prevention Training on a yearly basis.
Lambda Phi Epsilon does not condone any form of sexual misconduct on the part of its members. Our mission is to guide men on a lifelong discovery of authenticity and personal growth so that they can live positive, healthy, and responsible lives. Sexual misconduct has no place in that pursuit, and we will hold our members accountable for any violations of these expectations.
Developing Authentic Allyship
In the summer of 2020, racist sentiments expressed in a private forum by members of the Alpha Beta Chapter at New York University were made public. This incident and the usage of similar language by our membership revealed the need for education around anti-Blackness and allyship of the Black community.
We were saddened to see these individuals echo the rhetoric of the model minority myth, which has been driven as a wedge between Asian and Black people to further fragment the voices of people of color. Lambda Phi Epsilon recognizes that we are indebted to the Black community for the privileges we enjoy by their continuing sacrifices in the fight for civil rights. As “Leaders Among Men,” it is our responsibility to educate ourselves and our community.
Randy Brown and Dr. Zduy Chu of Omega & Alpha Solutions were brought on to lead a four-part series of “Courageous Conversations” that inform fraternity membership on how to facilitate dialogue locally among their chapter and alumni in constructive ways, identify space and resources for healing during times of fraternal discourse, and show up as a visible ally for the Black community. The Black and Vietnamese American duo, both members of historically Black fraternities, have been working closely together for the past 19 years on various projects that focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Both are Qualified Administrators of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and have created, led, and executed curricular designs for effectively cultivating DEI strategies for individuals and organizations to grow in their understanding of both themselves and the world around them.
In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, the Fraternity came together to raise money through a GoFundMe campaign that raised over $8,000 for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Chapters and regions of Lambda Phi Epsilon went even further to raise additional funds for various nonprofits aimed toward supporting BLM efforts.
What to Expect from Lambda Phi Epsilon at Northwestern University
Our team is excited at the prospect of returning to Northwestern University. Nearby chapters have already successfully chartered under the Noble Brother Program at DePaul University in 2015 and Loyola University Chicago in 2016. Alumni from both universities have taken a vested interest in expansion at Northwestern and have already volunteered to contribute their time and expertise. Our membership realizes that they have been given a rare opportunity to return to campus and pledge to meet the high standards and expectations of the Northwestern community.
In Lambda Phi Epsilon, you will find more than a space for Asian American men on campus. You will find a progressive partner that will not shy away from the issues facing fraternity and sorority life, including hazing, sexual assault, and racism. You will find an active participant that contributes to the Asian American community through proactive voter registration and Asian American Donor Program bone marrow typing drives. You will find a leader that redefines what multicultural fraternity life can look like in 2022. We are excited to have the opportunity to inspire young leaders to be agents of change.
Thank you for your support, we look forward to seeing you in the fall.
Lambda Phi Epsilon International Fraternity, Inc.
About Lambda Phi Epsilon
Founded in 1981 at Los Angeles, California, Lambda Phi Epsilon International Fraternity, Inc. has grown to become the world’s largest Asian-interest fraternity. Lambda Phi Epsilon (ΛΦΕ, also known as LFE) aims to guide men on a lifelong discovery of authenticity and personal growth. To learn more, visit https://lambdaphiepsilon.com.