Creighton students gathered outside Creighton Hall on Thursday, March 7 to take part in a University-approved silent demonstration to support those who were believed to “have experienced wrongful standards processes and policies.”
The demonstration was organized by Braden Oldham, College of Arts and Sciences junior and president of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Oldham sent out an email to every Fraternity and Sorority Life president, hoping to spread the word to all students involved in FSL.
In his email, Oldham told students: “This is your opportunity to let the Division of Student Life and the school know that as students we are paying attention, we understand what is going on, and we are not OK with the outcomes.”
At the demonstration, Oldham told the estimated 20 students in attendance that this demonstration was not only for the circumstances the PIKE fraternity has experienced, but many other standards policies previously enforced and looking to be enforced in the future by the DSL.
“Some of them are pretty ridiculous,” he said. “The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. First, the DSL is passing a lot of policies that are going to affect the freedoms that students have that live off campus. The policies are going to constrain students to this standard that’s held on campus and then when they move off, it’s like they’re living in the dorms again.”
Oldham said that these policies prevent growth and students learning through their own experience. He believes that students won’t “experience college as anyone before us and after us should be able to.”
The specific policy he was referring to was what has been introduced as the “Good Neighbor Policy.”
The policy states: “Students must adhere to the Creighton University Community Standards on and off campus. Students who allow or sponsor house parties that disturb the neighborhood and adversely affect the surrounding community, will be subject to review by the University and be referred to the Office of Community Standards and Wellbeing.”
“So what this says is that if any student found guilty, or reported off campus to be breaking Creighton Community Standards, the school can put the student through the community standards process,” Oldham said. “This gives the community off campus the right to call Creighton and report an incident and the school will treat it as a university report and begin the standards process of investigation and determining responsibility of the student.”
In addition, Oldham said that DSL will be presenting the information to Gifford Park Landlords/Residents, Atlas and Muse Landlords/Apartment Managers.
The full policy can be viewed on Creighton's website.
“Students will make mistakes, but do not deserve to be overly punished or left feeling shameful,” Oldham said. “If this is the case, we as students lose the spirit of goodwill and become upset and hurt by the school.”
Desiree Nownes, Senior Director Office of Community Standards and Wellbeing, wrote a letter addressing off-campus students this semester.
“Each student must assume full personal responsibility for his or her compliance with Nebraska state law and with the University policy on alcohol,” Nownes wrote. “Creighton University accepts the responsibility to enforce its own Standards of Conduct and will impose outcomes on students found responsible for violating any Standard of Conduct, on or off campus.”
The full letter can be found here.
Although only 20 students attended the demonstration, Oldham said that he didn’t mind the numbers.
“I’ve been in contact with a lot of people who didn’t show up today because they’re scared of the University and the repercussions that will follow. That says something.”
In addition, he said he wanted to send a message to students that they can, in fact, do things like this.
“At Creighton, we’re taught how to think, not what to think, so this is an opportunity for us to decide how to think about these things instead of being told that this is going to be our next four years.”
Many members of the Delta Zeta sorority were in attendance of the demonstration.
Bella Trane, a member of Delta Zeta and a College of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said she was in attendance to support the FSL community.
“If we don’t stand up for those now, then who’s going to stand up for us later when we’re the only ones left?” Trane said.
Dannah Shurling, another member of Delta Zeta and a College of Arts and Sciences junior, was at the demonstration.
“I came here today as a former member of the Panhellenic Council and a current member of the FSL community to support other students and to show the administration that we know what they’re doing and we’re not OK with it,” Shurling said. “As a student-oriented organization, [the DSL] should take into account the opinion of students and also keep us informed and up to date with the policies so we know how to act in accordance with them.”
Michele Bogard, Associate Vice Provost for Student Engagement in the DSL, said she accepted the demonstration, saying, “Creighton’s mission calls us to be a community of critical thinkers, engaging in a complex world. I believe conversation and respectful dialogue helps us hear others’ perspectives and learn from one another.”
Bogard also referenced other similar demonstrations Creighton has allowed in the past, including “Black Lives Matter” and “Yes Means Yes.”
She declined to comment on any standards processes or policies.