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Why Can’t I Do That?

November 22, 2010

By Jeremy Levine, Educational and Leadership Consultant

As a collegiate, I organized a photo scavenger hunt for a chapter social event. I was forced to cancel this event the day before, when it was brought to my attention that scavenger hunts (of any kind) are in violation of the risk management policy. Admittedly, I should have been more familiar with the policy, and should never have scheduled the event in the first place; however, I was quite angry about having to cancel. What is wrong with a group of Brothers taking pictures around campus? The answer is that there is nothing wrong with the idea of a photo hunt, but the Risk Management Policy bans all scavenger hunts, including the innocent ones, because scavenger hunts can lead to inappropriate and dangerous behavior. It does not take much of an imagination to think of ways that a scavenger hunt could go wrong, and if you do have trouble, a simple Google news search can help to fill in the blanks with examples like this one.

When a chapter’s actions bring discredit, it not only hurts that chapter, but it can hurt the reputation of chapters all over the country and the Fraternity in general. In addition, if something was to go wrong, and an individual got hurt or damage was caused, the legal and financial ramifications could be devastating to individual members and the Fraternity. The Risk Management and Conduct Policy is written to protect the Fraternity and its members. Unfortunately, we cannot write a policy specifies every possible situation. Ideally we could simplify our entire Risk Management Policy to four words: “Don’t do stupid things,” however, the world does not work that way. For legal and practical reasons, we must use broad policies, even if it prevents innocent activities. This expands beyond scavenger hunts. Many restrictions on the pledge education program, as well as other risk management issues, follow the same trend. Is it fair? Not really, but it is the best way to protect our members. We all suffer because of the acts of a few individuals. As you move forward in your fraternal life, look critically at the decisions your chapter makes. What are the potential consequences of your past and future decisions?

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