The Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors is a professional society for college and university administrators with responsibilities that include advising students who choose to join men’s and women’s fraternities and sororities. Founded in 1976, AFA has provided individuals concerned with the fraternity/sorority movement an avenue for professional growth and development. AFA has grown into a multifaceted international higher education association providing resources, recognition, and support for campus fraternity/sorority advising professionals.
The principal purpose of this statement is to provide useful guidelines for the daily practice of student affairs professionals. The Association recognizes that personal accountability is the most effective and preferred means of assuring ethical behavior. If, however, a member observes conduct by a fellow professional that seems contrary to the provisions of this statement, that member is encouraged to communicate directly and privately with the individual, utilizing a caring perspective consistent with the collaborative nature of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors.
A need for a more comprehensive Code of Ethics was identified during the 2000 Strategic Planning Process, and is included in the AFA Strategic Planning Document under the goal: Credibility & Influence – “AFA will strengthen its influence with its members, institutions, and other associations,” utilizing strategies: … including the development of a “Code of Ethics” for AFA Members. Members of this strategic planning task force acknowledged the value of the previous AFA Statement of Professional Ethics for Association of Fraternity Advisors adopted in December 1993.
The desire of the Association is to provide such an enhanced statement that remains concise, clear, and personal to the individual member. Further, the statement is meant to be in alignment with other assessments such as the CAS standards requirements for such a code as well as influence the positive behavior of AFA members. In turn, the ethical behavior of members will continually improve the image of fraternity/sorority advisement.
Code of Ethics
This Code of Ethics for members of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors serves to promote and maintain the highest standards of advising and personal conduct among its members. Adherence to these principles by members of the Association is encouraged, and such performance serves to assure public confidence in the integrity and service of advisors to men’s and women’s fraternities.
As a member of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors, I personally commit myself to these provisions and will be ever mindful of the importance of acting on these ethical principles during my daily practice as a student affairs professional. I promise to:
- Maintain the highest standard of personal conduct.
- Actively promote and encourage the highest level of ethics within the profession and my institution or organization.
- Maintain loyalty to the institution that employs me and pursue its objectives in ways that are consistent with the public interest.
- Recognize and discharge my responsibility and that of my institution or organization to uphold all laws and regulations relating to my institution’s or organization’s policies and activities.
- Strive for excellence in all aspects of management and leadership of my institution or organization.
- Use only legal and ethical means in all of my institution or organization’s activities.
- Serve all members of my institution impartially.
- Maintain the confidentiality of privileged information entrusted or known to me by virtue of my position.
- Refuse to engage in, or countenance, discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.
- Always communicate the institution’s internal and external statements in a truthful and accurate manner by assuring that there is integrity in the data and information used by my institution or organization.
- Cooperate in every reasonable and proper way with other fraternity advisors, and work with them in the advancement of the profession of fraternity advising.
- Use every opportunity to improve public understanding of the role of fraternity advising.
Ethics in Practice
A fraternity/sorority advisor promotes and practices values on a daily basis. This code reflects the values and ethics expressed in the ritualistic purpose of men’s and women’s fraternities. An advisor may consider the following guidelines when applying the AFA Code of Ethics in his or her professional role that requires interaction with many, varied constituencies.
- Establish relationships with advisors, alumni/ae, chapters, and university
- Communicate by providing accurate information on a regular basis
- Communicate all major decisions affecting the chapter e.g., judicial sanctions, member concerns, chapter operations, etc., respecting the guidelines of confidentiality
- Educate on student development issues and learning outcomes
- Honor requests for information when applicable
- Provide opportunities for advisors and chapter officers to make the first contact with the national organization in judicial matters—then work in a collaborative manner
- Provide opportunities for interaction with other groups and with the fraternity/sorority officers and staff
- Educate on issues affecting the fraternity/sorority community, both local and inter/national levels
- Inform about university policies and procedures
- Model personal and professional attitudes and behaviors that are consistent with fraternal values and beliefs, and challenge students to model attitudes and behaviors that are consistent with them as well
- Assist students in creating new programs and experiences, and continue traditional ones that are rich with honor, dignity, and justice
- Support students as they strive to achieve diversity, equity, and justice in thoughts, actions, and memberships
- Assist students in promoting the fraternity and sorority experience to the greater campus and local communities, and in marketing the fraternity and sorority experience to prospective members and families
- Facilitate positive working relationships with alumni/ae advisors and regional and inter/national volunteers and staff, and assist students in nurturing support
- Advocate to our colleagues that the fraternity and sorority experience is an equally valuable living/learning option in, and contributor to, the co-curriculum of higher education
- Teach students that fraternity and sorority membership is for life, and that their undergraduate experiences transcend their time on campus
- Encourage members of men’s and women’s fraternities to experience and exercise citizenship
- Foster open exchange of information and access between leaders of the community and men’s and women’s fraternities
- Identify and communicate community needs that may be served by men’s and women’s fraternities
- Represent and advocate the institution of higher education in the community
- Inter/National Fraternities, Sororities, and Interfraternal Councils
- Foster development of a working relationship founded on mutual trust and collegiality
- Respect the fact that the policies of individual national/international organizations may vary from one another
- Collaborate on strategies that appropriately challenge the status quo of chapter operations and continually challenge undergraduate members to strive for excellence in the co-curriculum
- Work collaboratively with and educate faculty to bring about an understanding of fraternity and sorority life and an understanding of faculty concerns to the fraternity and sorority community
- Communicate regularly with faculty concerning the accomplishments and challenges of the fraternity and sorority community
- Communicate regularly with and educate parents of fraternity and sorority members about the accomplishments and challenges of the fraternity and sorority community in a balanced manner
- Communicate with parents concerning disciplinary issues within institutional and legal boundaries
- Communicate regularly with and educate the institution about the accomplishments and challenges of the fraternity and sorority community
The first tenant listed in the AFA Code of Ethics is to maintain the highest standard of personal conduct. All participants, included but not limited to members, attendees, speakers, vendors and staff are expected to abide by the Code of Ethics. Behavior that would be categorized as discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), or bias of any type will not be tolerated at the Annual Meeting or related events. This includes events sponsored by organizations other than AFA but that are held in conjunction with the AFA Annual Meeting or related events. This incident form will be directed to the appropriate AFA staff member. If this incident involves a staff member, please contact the AFA president directly.
If you experience an incident that violates the Code of Ethics or reflects behavior described above, you are encouraged to complete the incident form. If you are the victim of a crime or are in immediate danger, please call 911 or venue security immediately. All reports are taken seriously and will be investigated. All reported incidents will be followed up within 5 business days from the time it is submitted. AFA reserves the right to take any appropriate action during or after the Annual Meeting or related events in response to a reported incident. This includes removal from the meeting or event without a refund or prohibiting attendance from a future meeting or related event.