Piazza Center, Association for Student Conduct Administration partner on study

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State's Timothy J. Piazza Center for Fraternity and Sorority Research and Reform is partnering with the Association for Student Conduct Administration (ASCA) on a study that will explore models of student organization accountability.

"ASCA is excited to partner with the Timothy J. Piazza Center on this project,” said Jennifer Waller, executive director, Association for Student Conduct Administration. “The practical application for the study can provide a solid foundation for both student conduct and Greek life professionals." 

According to Pietro Sasso, Piazza Center research fellow and primary investigator on the project, there have not been any large studies looking at the methods used to investigate allegations against student organizations, including fraternities and sororities, across higher education, and how organizations are held accountable is not well understood. This study will advance the understanding of the distinct philosophies, policies and practices that are used when determining student organizational accountability. 

“Currently there is little empirical evidence that helps us understand the various approaches that are employed to investigate hazing and student organizational conduct,” said Sasso. “We do not have a deeper, nuanced understanding about how student conduct administrators and other stakeholders are involved in these processes. The partnership for this study will help us identify practices and common approaches to increase student and organizational accountability.”

The foundation that this exploratory study creates is expected to enable future research that looks at the effectiveness of these student organization conduct models in the areas of accountability, rehabilitation and restorative justice, according to the researchers.  

The study will primarily focus on data collection through focus groups and individual interviews. A concept team comprised of leaders from a diverse representation of universities helped frame the study. The team included, Jordan Brooks, Civil Rights Investigator and Title IX Investigation Specialist, University of Maryland Baltimore County (formerly director, Student Conduct and Community Standards, Bowie State University); Ann James, director, Office of Community Standards, Miami University; Stephen Rupprecht, dean of students, Cabrini University; Libby Spotts, associate dean of students and director of Student Conduct, Indiana University; Kyle Williams, dean of students, Oglethorpe University; Maleta Wilson, ASCA member of the Fraternity and Sorority Community of Practice Committee.

The Piazza Center at Penn State was launched in January 2019, in an effort to become the nation’s principal home for identifying sound professional practice in fraternity and sorority advising. The center produces actionable data to give practitioners the evidence needed to enact meaningful change on their campuses and in their organizations. Since its inception, the center has worked to empower higher education to make the fraternity and sorority experience safer and more meaningful based on comprehensive research.

ASCA is the leading voice for student conduct in higher education. ASCA and its members are dedicated to upholding the integrity of the student conduct process, resulting in the ability to build safer educational communities and positively impact the higher education experience.

Last Updated May 19, 2021