Council Member Name: Matt Nicoletta
Council Position—Proposal Number: VPF-03
Meeting Date for Proposal: none, approved via email September 9, 2011
Objective this proposal falls under: 1.1 RM
What costs are associated with this proposal? (if none state "none"): None
Additional Pertinent Information: (if none state "none"):
What is the motion to be made on this?
"I move to adopt the proposed Amnesty Program. National Council will review the program following the close of the Fall 2011 Semester."
Phi Sigma Pi Amnesty Program
Purpose of the Amnesty Program
The purpose of Phi Sigma Pi’s Amnesty Program is to provide a path for Phi Sigma Pi’s Members to report hazing and / or poor risk management practices that jeopardizes the integrity of our Brotherhood to the National Office without the fear of being singled out or sanctioned for these practices. Members who opt to participate in the Amnesty Program must be committed to reforming Chapter hazing and other poor Risk Management practices and must agree to work with the National Office to effect change in Chapter policies and practices.
Phi Sigma Pi is opposed to hazing in all forms and involving any Collegiate Member, Alumni Member, or Initiate. We understand that our Members may hesitate to report hazing or other Risk Management violations, such as inappropriate use of alcohol, to the National Office due to the belief that the consequences of reporting such violations will automatically result in severe disciplinary action of the Chapter or of individual Members.
Who is Eligible to Participate? Any Member or Chapter with a sincere interest in reforming poor Chapter Risk Management practices into healthy beneficial practices that reflect our ideals may request to participate in the Amnesty Program. Amnesty may be granted to an entire Chapter, a group of individual Chapter Members, or a single Member, depending on the circumstances.
- Entire Chapter Participation. In this best case scenario, an entire Chapter may request to participate in the Amnesty Program with the broad goal of reforming poor Risk Management practices and strengthening the Initiation Program. The Executive Board and a majority of Members of the Chapter need to be committed to ending these poor Risk Management activities. The National Office will attempt to work with the current Executive Board of the Chapter to effect change. Members who choose not to participate in the Amnesty Program may become the subject of disciplinary action.
- Concerned Group of Members. In some cases, a group of concerned Members opposed to ongoing hazing or other poor Risk Management activities of their Chapter, but who may not be Officers or elected leaders of the Chapter, may wish to request Amnesty. In this scenario, the National Office may choose to reorganize the current Chapter by removing specific Chapter Officers and/or barring individuals from serving in leadership positions through official sanctions. Members who are not part of the group requesting amnesty may become the subject of disciplinary action.
- Single Member. A single Member may request to participate in the Amnesty Program when reporting a hazing or other poor Risk Management activity. In this scenario, the Chapter and other Members of the Chapter may not be provided the same amnesty rights. The Chapter or Individual Members may become the subjects of an investigative proceeding and possibly subsequent disciplinary action, and the Chapter may be reorganized by the National Office, or, in a worst-case scenario, the National Office may consider the revoking of the Chapter’s charter.
No Chapter may establish policies or practices that retaliate upon or interfere with Member(s) seeking/granted participation in the amnesty program. National Council may use its authority to intervene in any Chapter actions that attempt to bypass this policy.
Chapters or Members must come forward with a request for Amnesty and open dialogue about hazing and other Risk Management violations prior to the National Office investigating the events. When Amnesty has been requested by a Chapter, a Member, or a group of Members, the National Staff will conduct a preliminary assessment of the situation with the Member or Members who have requested Amnesty. The assessment will require an open and honest dialogue about the Chapter’s current and past practices.
Once an assessment has been completed, the National Council will authorize the granting of Amnesty to the requesting participants. Council reserves the right not to grant Amnesty to a Chapter or Members who come forward after an investigation has begun.
Because each situation and request for Amnesty is unique, subsequent steps may be taken according to the circumstances of the Amnesty request and the facts determined from the preliminary assessment.
In cases where the entire Chapter is requesting Amnesty, the National Staff will work directly with the Chapter to formulate and implement a plan of action to effect change. This may include (but is not limited to) reorganizing the Chapter’s Bylaws, Operating Policies, Initiation Program, and Risk Management Program. The Chapter may be required to meet periodically with the National Staff, either through Chapter visits or telephone conferences, and may be required to submit reports or other documentation to the National Staff as needed. Additional requirements for the successful completion of the Amnesty Program shall be determined by the National Office.
In cases where a single Member or a group of Members have requested Amnesty, the National Council may choose to suspend summarily the Chapter and/or open an Official Investigation into the Chapter’s practices, in accordance with the steps outlined in the National Constitution and National Operating Policies. The results of any Investigation will be considered in constructing a plan of action for the Chapter. The National Council may also choose to enact disciplinary action of the Chapter and/or of specific Members who were not part of the group requesting Amnesty. Where possible, the Chapter may be reorganized when a group of members are granted Amnesty, provided the group is of sufficient size and willingness to continue to operate as a Chapter. Alternative steps may be taken to continue the Chapter’s operation depending on the scope and severity of the practices in question.
Amnesty Program Agreement
In all cases, the Chapter and Individuals requesting Amnesty must meet the following requirements:
- All Members requesting Amnesty must make a sincere commitment to reforming hazing and poor risk Management practices.
- All Members participating in the Amnesty Program must sign a pledge to cooperate fully (i.e. assist with any situations/investigations that arise from coming forward, as directed by the National Office) with the National Office to reform the Chapter’s practices.
- All Members participating in the Amnesty Program must immediately cease participation in any activities that would violate Phi Sigma Pi’s policies and continue to report any such activities that they are witness to or made aware of immediately.
When these requirements are met, the National Council agrees to:
- Withhold the enactment of disciplinary action against Amnesty Program participants who successfully complete the requirements above.
- Act as an arbitrator in situations where a Chapter attempts to sanction a Member or group of Members for participating in the Amnesty Program. Any Chapter disciplinary action taken against Members for requesting amnesty or any Chapter policies that prohibit or intentionally make working with the National Office difficult are not in order. National Council may use its authority to intervene in any Chapter actions that attempt to bypass this policy.
- Work with Amnesty Program participants cooperatively in order to abolish hazing and other poor Risk Management practices and reorganize or otherwise improve the enforcement of Chapter’s policies and viable practices where possible.
Failure to Comply with the Terms of the Amnesty Program
Should a Chapter, Individual Member, or group of Members who are participating in the Amnesty Program fail to make a good-faith effort to work with the National Office to effect change at the Chapter as prescribed in the plan of action, or should there be further instances of hazing or other Risk Management violations, the National Council reserves the right to revoke the Amnesty granted to those Chapters or Members who have violated this agreement, and they may become the subjects of further investigation and/or disciplinary action.
Request to Participate
Members wishing to apply for Amnesty may do so in person at any National Event by speaking with a National Officer or Member of the National Staff, or may do so by contacting the Region Consultant or the National Staff via telephone or e-mail. No requests to participate in the Amnesty Program may be made anonymously.
At this time, the Amnesty Program is in effect indefinitely; however, the National Council may choose to end the Amnesty Program at some point in the future.
We recognize that we are still developing effective ways to improve poor Risk Management practices and to eliminate any existing culture of hazing in Phi Sigma Pi, but we hope that the Amnesty Program will provide an avenue for our Membership to help us combat hazing and reform poor Risk Management practices in the best spirit of the Ideals of Phi Sigma Pi without the fear of reprisal or sanction. We are open to suggestions on how to improve this program and we look to our Members to help us make participation in Phi Sigma Pi’s events and activities safe and Brotherly for all of our Members and potential Members.
Amnesty Program Pledge
I, ____________________________, a Collegiate/Alumni/Honorary Member of Phi Sigma Pi, have requested to participate in Phi Sigma Pi's Amnesty Program on account of the poor Hazing and/or Risk Management practices at _________________ Chapter. I understand that by accepting amnesty from the National Council, I am committing to work with the National Office to reform poor Risk Management practices at my Chapter. I further agree to the following terms of the Amnesty Program:
- I will immediately cease in performing any activity considered to be hazing or a violation of any Risk Management policy of Phi Sigma Pi.
- I will report any instance of hazing or any incident involving a violation of Risk Management that I witness immediately to the National Office.
- I will cooperate fully (i.e. assist with any situations/investigations that arise from coming forward, as directed by the National Office) with the National Office to provide an accurate, honest, and complete portrayal of any and all Risk Management and/or hazing violations at my chapter to the best of my knowledge. I understand that information I provide may be used as the basis of an investigation and/or as evidence against the Chapter and/or members of the Chapter in sanction proceedings. I further understand that such evidence may be used against me in sanction proceedings, should I fail to fulfill the terms of this agreement.
- I will work with the National Office to the fullest extent of my ability to help reform hazing and/or poor Risk Management practices at my Chapter. I agree to abide by decisions of the National Office regarding any reorganization of my Chapter and or the implementation of new policies/procedures.
In return, the National Office agrees to the following terms:
- The National Office agrees to withhold enacting sanction proceedings against the aforenamed Amnesty Program participant, provided the participant meets the terms outlined above.
- The National Office agrees to act as an arbiter between the aforementioned Amnesty Program participant in cases where the Chapter is seeking discipline against the Amnesty Program participant in retribution for seeking amnesty. Chapter motions to discipline Amnesty Program participants solely on the basis of their affiliation with the Amnesty Program will be considered out of order by the National Council.
- The National Office agrees to work with the Amnesty Program participant to the best of our ability to effect positive change at the participant's Chapter to the greatest extent possible, as circumstances dictate.
By signing this pledge, I am affirming my understanding and acceptance of the Amnesty Program as outlined above, and I am committing myself to work fully within the boundaries of the Amnesty Program to reform my Chapter under the guidance of the National Office. I understand that I will be expected to cooperate fully with the National Office in order to receive amnesty, and that if I do not satisfactorily fulfill the terms of this agreement, the National Council may revoke my amnesty and I may become the subject of investigation and/or Official Sanction Proceedings.
Print Name, Sign, Date.