October 24 Letter to the Community

October 24, 2012

Dear Members of the Trinity Community,

Last week we announced the unanimous decision of the Trustees to move forward with a comprehensive plan to build our social community at Trinity.  In the days since that announcement we have heard from many students, alumni, parents, and faculty regarding the initiatives and, in particular, the co-education mandate.  We wish to be clear that we want Greek life at Trinity College to succeed and uphold the traditions that have had a positive effect on the community.  The Board of Trustees’ vote was not one to abolish the Greek system.  We voted to reinvigorate the co-education mandate that was originally approved in 1992 and only partially adhered to in the time since.  Accordingly, the Trustees have empowered the College to establish an implementation committee to oversee the full set of recommendations, including the co-ed mandate.  This committee will have broad discretion in overseeing the plan.  They will work closely with students, faculty, and administrators to develop a social environment that speaks to the spirit of our collegiate mission by leveling the playing field to provide equal access to our co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities.  Accordingly, the committee will focus on providing that the rules and standards are clear and transparent and fairly administered.  We desire all organizations to thrive at Trinity College.

The proposed house system is not in any way intended to replace the social houses, including fraternities and sororities, that currently exist on campus. These college houses, which will consist of existing dormitories, will be residential living/learning environments intended to support the academic life of the college by providing closer interaction with deans and faculty who are focused on smaller clusters of students.

The implementation committee will also be focused on making social life more robust on campus, which will relieve some of the pressure on current fraternities to provide a late-night social scene.  We will begin with converting the Vernon Social Center into an 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. vibrant student hub, and then we will target vacant properties the college owns for further development into additional social houses.  Vernon Social is planned for a September 2013 ribbon cutting.  With the opening of new residential housing on Crescent Street, also in the fall of 2013, we have another opportunity to expand social activity to the other side of the campus.  These apartment-style buildings will have lounges, kitchens, and eventually retail outlets.

We will announce shortly the composition of the implementation committee and will move forward to reach out to those in our community most affected by these initiatives.  We understand that there are many questions that will need to be addressed on an individual basis to ensure the standards are administered fairly and thoughtfully.

We invite you to participate in a 10:00 a.m. meeting on Saturday, November 3 of Homecoming Weekend in the Washington Room in Mather Hall.  We will review the plan, respond to your questions, and update you on its implementation.

We appreciate your patience as we continue to travel a path forward to a better social and academic future for our college.

With best regards,

James F. Jones, Jr.
​President and Trinity College
Professor in the
Paul E. Raether ’68, P’93, ’96, ’01
Trinity College Board of Trustees