Ives opens up on Greek experiences
With fraternities seemingly dropping like flies and appearing out of nowhere over the past two semesters, students are beginning to wonder, who is in charge behind the scenes of the UA Fraternity and Sorority Programs? Johanne Ives.
Ives has been working with Fraternity and Sorority Programs at the UA since she moved to Tucson in 2006, and now serves as an assistant dean of students and the director for Fraternity and Sorority Programs.
“I oversee the fraternity and sorority life area which consists of 48 chapters, four governing councils and primarily, my role is strategic oversight of the office,” Ives said. “I also oversee liaison relationships, so the expansion process when there’s new fraternities and sororities that want to come to campus.”
Ives said there are many difficult aspects to her job as the director of Fraternity and Sorority Programs.
“I am greek; I’m a sorority woman,” Ives said. “I know how much good can come from joining a fraternity or a sorority, but also during this work I’ve seen hazing that can occur in greek organizations. I’ve seen sexual assaults that happen on college campuses. I’ve seen alcohol abuse and addictions, drug addictions, and not that all of that is indicative of fraternity and sorority life, but that’s the area I work in and that’s where I hear about it happening.”
She said her job is hard because she knows that not every greek student has those experiences, but that those occurrences do happen and are something UA Greek Life needs to be cognizant of.
“Our greek organizations really need to work to make sure that that’s not becoming the culture in their organization, because when it does, that’s when we lose chapters,” Ives said. “I hate when we have to remove recognition from an organization, but we only do that if we know there’s no other alternative, and that comes when we see things like hazing, and it’s just not safe for the students anymore.”
Ives said there are two main areas that are looked at when deciding where to draw the line when it comes to having a bad reputation versus an unsafe environment in a greek organization: how long the behavior has been occurring and the willingness to change the behavior.
“Is it a brand new organization and within a year they already have these bad traditions, this unhealthy organization? That’s concerning because they’ve only been here a year,” Ives said. “Or, on the flip side of that, has this organization been here for 50 years, but for the last 30 they have had this bad tradition? How do we then start fresh when every member and recent advisor in history has experienced that hazing tradition?”
Ives said support from national headquarters, local advisors and alumni to help make a change in behavior is also something that is looked at.
Ives graduated with a masters degree in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Prior to working at the university, she had a graduate assistantship there in fraternity and sorority life and lived as a house director there.
“All of the sororities there are part of residence life, so they are all campus-owned properties and all have house staff in them who are university employees,” Ives said.
With UA homecoming approaching, Ives has been working on the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Greek Life at the UA.
“I’d say the highlight right now for my job is that we’re planning the 100th anniversary of fraternity and sorority life … this year at homecoming,” Ives said. “That’s been a lot of fun because it’s a significant point in history that’s not going to occur again, except for another 100 years from now, to have this hundred year mark of fraternities and sororities here, and it’s been a lot of fun looking at all of the history of the community, how greeks have impacted the university and then planning for the homecoming celebration.”
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