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February 15, 2021

Dear Duke KA Alumnus,

Kappa Alpha Order values partnership at all colleges and universities where partnership is equally valued. Our
Alpha Phi Chapter has had a distinguished history at Duke University since 1901, and we are proud of our men
there today. We believe we are more effective when national organizations and universities work together to
advance the student experience. Unfortunately, that partnership has failed with the University’s unilateral
pronouncement that students cannot join some fraternities and sororities until their sophomore year. This was
preceded by another unilateral decision revoking housing privileges for fraternities and sororities. These actions
were taken without consultation from the members of the fraternity and sorority community, alumni, volunteers,
or national headquarters of the represented organizations.

The Alpha Phi chapter, along with every other IFC fraternity chapter, faces an existential threat if the new
recruitment policy created and implemented by Duke Vice President of Student Affairs Mary Pat McMahon
remains in place. This restriction does not apply equally to all student groups or even to all fraternities. Given the
large percentage of students who study abroad during their junior year, allowing KA to only recruit students as
new sophomores virtually guarantees a chapter made up of pledges and new initiates, void of upperclassman with
both operational and interpersonal insight. In essence, the new rule could force IFC fraternities into extinction.

The North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) (the trade association for national fraternities and campus
IFCs) and others have in various ways reached out to Vice President McMahon. She had not responded until a
few days ago after we believe fraternity alumni began alerting other high-level administrators and members of the
Duke Board of Trustees about their concerns. In its most recent communication with Vice President McMahon,
the NIC highlighted its intense concern regarding the one-year deferred recruitment policy and provided several
reasons why, including independent research that demonstrates the harm caused by Duke’s new policy (e.g.
higher GPAs, better persistence to graduation, increased student engagement while in college and increased
community engagement in communities after graduation). Vice President McMahon has at last agreed to meet
with representatives of the NIC but reiterated that Duke would not be changing the policy. She did say she would
welcome the NIC into a discussion to, “help implement sophomore deferred recruitment.” It goes without saying
that the Vice President McMahon’s position is a non-starter for KA and for most other Duke fraternities.

As a result, our KA chapter, along with eight other fraternity chapters at Duke, voted to forgo and abandon
University recognition. Ultimately, our responsibility is to our members, therefore Kappa Alpha Order supports
the chapter’s decision. Our goal remains to work with Duke on a joint plan that addresses the support and
education of our members, their students, while supporting their health and safety. That kind of partnership is a
proven best practice but requires that all stakeholders are given the opportunity to provide input.
Additionally, I do wish to note my appreciation for the support provided by the Student Engagement and
Leadership staff. This decision is not a reflection on them or their work, quite the contrary. Our chapter and
national organization will miss their guidance and steadfast commitment to enhancing the fraternity community at

The Kappa Alpha Order National Administrative Office is hosting a conference call Tuesday evening at 6:30pm
eastern time for Alpha Phi chapter alumni. The purpose of the call is to provide more information about our
disaffiliation and answer any question you may have. Below are the call details:

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 6:30pm eastern time

Conference Call Number: (877) 366-0711
Conference Call Code: 45300285#

Attached is a call to action and messaging points for your information, dissemination, and use in contacting key
stakeholders. We believe, until recently, the Duke Board of Trustees had little or no knowledge of what Vice
President McMahon was implementing.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


Larry Stanton Wiese

Executive Director
Duke Sophomore Deferred Recruitment – Alumni Messaging and Call to Action

Call to Action:
1. Share the below message and discussion points with any influential Duke alumni / donors, specifically
those who:
a. Have any relationship with Duke senior administrators, such as, but not limited to:
i. Vincent Price, President
ii. Mary Pat McMahon, Vice President of Student Affairs
iii. Gary Bennett, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
b. Have any relationship with members of the Duke Board of Trustees
c. Are donors to your organization and foundation and/or are likely Duke donors
2. Request that they connect with their contacts directly using the below messaging and questions.
3. Request that they follow up with you or the most appropriate contact on your team with a recap of any
response or additional dialogue.

Messaging Points:
• A successful fraternity experience provides men with a sense of community and a support network that
aids in a successful transition to the collegiate experience.
• I am concerned by how the decision to delay recruitment until the sophomore year was made and how
students are being treated through this process.
• I am concerned about the impact that the recent decision to delay recruitment for fraternities will have on
students and the student experience – especially when research shows that the fraternity experience aids
in student development, success, and retention.
• There is no data that shows how deferred recruitment policies are effective in enhancing student
outcomes. On the contrary – a recent study involving over 200,000 students clearly shows that fraternity
membership leads to positive outcomes, especially for first year students.
• Research shows the stress of first-year students stems from a sense of loneliness. Fraternities provide
first-year students with a sense of community. They provide connection and friendship when students are
often far from home and familiarity. This need has only been heightened over the past year and during
the COVID-19 pandemic.
• On most campuses, fraternity membership leads to higher retention rates and higher graduation rates
among undergraduate students. Additionally, fraternity membership leads to greater affinity for the host
institution and greater alumni engagement, both of which are a benefit to Duke. It is likely that this
policy will damage the fraternity community and weaken the fraternity experience for generations to
come – which will negatively impact the Duke student experience.

Questions / Discussion Points:

• Why was such a decision made, especially during the COVID-19– at a time when students are seeking
meaningful connections?
• Why was the decision made without meaningfully engaging impacted students as well as critical
stakeholders such as alumni and national organizations?
• How has Duke considered and assessed the impact this will have on the fraternity/sorority experience and
those students who choose to engage in that experience?
• How has Duke considered the impact this decision will have on its relationship with the many alumni
who share an affinity with both Duke and their fraternity/sorority experience?
• Why would the university not work in partnership with its fraternity and sorority community,
headquarters partners, and respective trade associations (NIC, NPC, NPHC, NALFO, etc.) in
implementing evidence-based solutions to supporting the continued positive growth and development of
the fraternity and sorority community in support of the educational mission of Duke University?