Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
STATISTICAL DATA CAN KNOCK DOWN BARRIERS TO DISCRIMINATION IN THE GREEK SYSTEM. THE ACCREDITATION COMMISSION CAN HELP PREVENT DISCRIMINATION IN THE COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS.
As an accrediting body, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools DOES NOT require colleges or universities to provide statistical data on clubs or Greek organizations, that would help identify and Prevent Discrimination, Retaliation and Harassment Based Upon Title VII or Other Classifications.
I contacted more than a dozen colleges and universities in Florida and Georgia seeking statistical data on the demographics on those who were recruited, pledged and who were initiated into the Greek system.
PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS CLAIMED NO RECORDS REGARDING DIVERSITY IN STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS:
I used the Georgia Open Records Act and the Florida Public Records Act Request to contact public and private institutions. Invariably, the public institutions either stated that they had no records or they could only identify the number of students in each organization by semester. There was a definite hands-off approach to how student organizations approached student diversity issues.
PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS REFUSED TO PROVIDE ANY DATA:
THE SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS REQUIRES A FORMAL COMPLAINT BEFORE TAKING ACTION:
One might ask why a formal complaint would be required and why this weakness in the structural integrity of the academic systems would be allowed but the accrediting body must hold itself accountable for that oversight. If I alert the accrediting body to a problem, then that should be enough without requiring anyone to jump through hoops.
THE SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS RESPONDED TO A GEORGIA OPEN RECORDS ACT REQUEST:
On a humorous note, I accidentally emailed a Georgia Open Records Act Request on The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the president responded:
"We are a private membership organization that is not subject to FOIA. Any information related to our institutions is private information. The only way you can get it from US is to sue us. You need to contact the individual institutions for any information you want.
Also, we donít collect information on the diversity within our institutions. THANKS!"
So, there you have it, the organization that is charged with handling the accreditation of colleges and universities in numerous Southern states declares itself immune from the Freedom of Information Act, considers such information private, and states that the only way they will give out such information is to sue them. Further, they do not collect or require the collection of data on the diversity of students within the very academic institutions they oversee.
This response seems shrill and defensive to me. When you think about it, the accrediting body, charged with overseeing academic institutions refuses to provide information on its own diversity and that speaks volumes!
As an accrediting body, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools DOES NOT require colleges or universities to provide statistical data on clubs or Greek organizations, that would help identify and Prevent Discrimination, Retaliation and Harassment Based Upon Title VII or Other protected Classifications.
This shortcoming allows public and private institutions to say "I don't know," and to minimize responsibility for providing a diversity welcome environment in the social environment of the academic institutions.
REGARDING THE DIVERSITY PRACTICES OF CLUBS, FRATERNITIES & SORORITIES:
Academic institutions are like a barrel of monkeys.
Monkey blind. Monkey deaf. Monkey silent.
We need statistical data for clubs, fraternity and sorority membership at each academic institution to shape the values and attitudes of students regarding others to reduce personal bias and impediments to diversity which should not be impeded but celebrated.