Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

President Martha Pollack announced there will be reforms made to Greek Life in the wake of an unregistered party.

November 19, 2019

Cornell President Martha Pollack Promises Greek Life Reforms by End of Semester

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President Martha Pollack will institute Greek Life reforms by the end of this semester, she said in a message to the campus community Tuesday morning.

Pollack said she appreciated the temporary steps made by the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils — which included a pause on social events and some reforms — but that she would fulfill her responsibility to “enact thoughtful and meaningful approaches to protecting the health and safety of our students.”

The statement from the University head came after increasing media attention to the death of Antonio Tsialas ’23, who was found dead in a gorge on Oct. 26, nearly two days after he was last seen at a Phi Kappa Psi fraternity party.

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity was suspended on Nov. 8, and President Pollack has said that there was “significant misbehavior” at the party, and noted in her statement today that the fraternity had just attended a judicial hearing for other misconduct the day before their unregistered party.

The president previously described the fraternity’s suspension as one of many examples of misconduct by Greek Life organizations.

Six Cornell Greek organizations violated Cornell policies in a manner severe enough to be suspended in the last year and half, Pollack said, echoing her Nov. 8 statement where she said that independent of Tsialas’ death, the unregulated, “dirty rush” party held at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity fell into the pattern of “misconduct in the Greek-letter system.”

The Cornell University Police Department has pursued over 170 leads, the president said, but has still not yet definitively concluded how Tsialas died. The family has taken out three days of full-page advertisements in The Sun publicizing an award for $10,000 and has hired an Ithaca-based private investigator in their search for information about the death of the Cornell first-year.

Maya Cutforth ’20, the president of Panhel, said she did not have a comment at publication time.

The reforms will take faculty, alumni and student input into consideration, and attempt to avoid “the demonization of organizations and acknowledging the value that they provide to their members,” Pollack wrote.

This article will be updated.