Fraternity Recruitment Chair is On Drugs

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Question:

I am our fraternity president, and I was previously a VP Recruitment. I did a good job but I know now how much more our house can do to recruit better guys more guys and more efficiently. I didn’t see this as rush chair because I was thrown into the position, and we have an unfortunate tradition of apathy we are trying to rid. 


I am concerned about my fraternity recruitment chair. He is a great guy and a good friend. When we went to our leadership training we had talked about holding ourselves to higher standards as leaders and living our rituals. Since then he has neglected to do so, especially one of those things, quit smoking pot.  I know an inpatient setting is typically the most effective means of treatment, but that’s not a choice I can make.

He has been high most times I see him, a couple of other people in my house are the same way. I have smoked a handful of times in college, (a lot more in high school) but I have not smoked a single time nor will I during my time in office.

The major concern I have is that it is affecting his work ethic towards recruitment. When I give him a task to do he fights me tooth and nail, then when he does it at the last second it is still not up to par (basic things not rocket science). 

I’m concerned he will recruit more people who smoke weed.  I don’t think people who are high ALL the time like he is will be good members. We have had guys who get 4.0s are active fun and smoke that they use as an example of why they can too. When I ask him to do something for the house along the lines of recruitment he won’t agree to a way for me to hold him accountable.
> How do I hold him to do what I need him to do?
> How do I talk to him about my concern with his drug use?
> How do I make sure if he doesn’t do the job the other people in the house will?????

Answer:

You are in a tough situation.  Let me break my answer into two sections:

How to Handle a Brother Doing Drugs

There is a difference between experimenting and having a drug problem.  From your question, it sounds like your buddy has a problem.

A good friend, a good brother, will do everything he can to help him.  You need to have the tough talks about his lifestyle.  How do you do that?  By letting him know how much you care about him and how you are worried he is getting himself into big trouble.  Don’t make it about the fraternity, because it is much bigger than that.  This guy could be throwing his life down the toilet.  A brother doesn’t sit back and watch this happen to another brother.

Unfortunately, it probably won’t matter unless the addict wants to stop on his own.  Sometime the best way to help him get to that stage is to show tough love.  That is the second part of this answer.

How to Handle a Recruitment Chair Not Doing His Job

First, you need to have a serious conversation about his job performance.  Be sure you have clearly laid out the expectations, and that you can clearly show how he hasn’t met them.

Then you have a choice.  You either give him another chance, or you can choose to go in another direction.  99% of the time, you should go in another direction.  However, 99% of the time people don’t because it is the harder thing to do.

In my book, The Fraternity Leader, I talk about how you build character during the difficult times.  Anyone can be a leader when times are good.  The true leaders can step up and make wise decisions even though they aren’t always the easiest ones to make.  You clearly have one of these situations.

If you decide that this guy isn’t cutting it (and it appears he pretty clearly isn’t), then you need to remove him from the position.

The best way to do this is to explain to him that he can resign or you will have him removed.  By allowing him to resign, he will be able to save face.  Chances are if he is doing a poor job, he would welcome the opportunity to quit.

If he chooses not to resign, follow whatever process your chapter has for removing an officer.  I don’t really like to see brothers criticized in meetings, but for this brother it might be the best thing that could happen to him.

Show tough love in this spot.  As a the president of your fraternity, you have taken a responsibility to all the brothers of your chapter (both undergrad and alumni) to protect your charter and your standing on campus.  If you don’t take action – you will be letting them down.

Also, by showing tough love maybe the brother will realize that he needs a lifestyle change.  Of course, don’t kick him to the curb and forget about him.  Continue to try to help him find his way.  However, don’t let your fraternity suffer during the process.






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One thought on “My Fraternity Recruitment Chair is On Drugs

  1. If the guy is aggressively avoiding work till the last minute and then doing a half ass job, I’m guessing that’s what he does with school and everything else in life. I’d be very surprised if he’s one of those guys making a 4.0. That means he already is in the toilet. He just hasn’t hit bottom yet and had that traumatic experience that makes him realize how bad he’s screwed up his life. That doesn’t have anything to do with the dope, it’s just who he is. The pot just enhances and masks the underlying the character flaw. This is probably not the guy that’s going to be highly successful in life or highly committed to the fraternity as an alumnus. You don’t want a future chapter full of guys like that.

    So yeah, as a brother you should try to make him realize his problem and help him fix it, but he doesn’t need to be in a key leader position like recruitment.

    I share the worry that he’ll at least be open to recruiting more guys who have drug problems. I’ve dealt with just about every problem there is in the fraternity world & changing an engrained drug culture is just about the hardest to deal with. If it doesn’t cost a charter it almost always ends up in a very painful membership review. Please take the advice from the article above to heart. Never be scared of making the hard right decision over the easy wrong. It ends up easier on everyone in the end. Trust me on this.

    That’s all advice to a chapter on how to deal with this stuff internally. As an advisor, I’d give this kind of advice and give you space to work it out, but if it lands in my lap then I’m not going to play games and try to salvage people. The consequences of dragging this out or taking a chance on it getting worse are too high. I’d just take people out and reset the culture in a new direction.

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