On Friday, the director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Justin Shukas, resigned. His departure could result in a change for the FSL culture, depending on who the school hires and what the new hire decides to do with the position.
According to a Facebook post, Shukas said he was offered another job, in human resources, in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. His last day will be May 25.
Shukas has been director of FSL for four years, but his tenure has seen multiple controversies.
Last year, the university’s fraternities came under fire when a non-sanctioned trip to Shasta Lake in California ended with garbage strewn everywhere, including a cooler which read, “Do you wanna do some blow man?” The mess caught the eye of the national press and resulted in the suspension of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and a third party external review of the infrastructure of FSL.
“My priority has always been safety of students,” Shukas said. “We’ve dealt with several situations, [and] we’ve unfortunately had to work with some national organizations to actually close a couple organizations.”
FSL has seen many changes since 2000, when at the time it was only staffed by one person. It has also moved into a space in the EMU that includes student work space.
But now Shukas’ decision to leave has left his position open to fill. FSL functions as a way to communicate with fraternity and sorority national headquarters, UO alumni, fraternity and sorority advisors as well as students.
Kris Winter is the associate vice president for Student Life and dean of students and will be part of the search for Shukas’ replacement.
“While we are sad to see Justin leave our UO community, I am excited for him as he takes the next step in his career,” Winter wrote in an email. “We are working on a plan to cover responsibilities within the FSL office so that services to students won’t be disrupted between Justin’s departure and the hiring of a new director.”
Through his time as director of FSL, students have conducted multiple petitions for his removal as director. One petition, which gained 42 signatures, stated Shukas is “single handedly ruining Greek life at the University of Oregon,” and, “If he does not leave, Greek life will deteriorate.” It also accused Shukas of using his Twitter account unprofessionally and discussing upcoming judicial hearings with board members, which violated a contract he had signed with IFC student leaders.
“I think any time you’re in an administrative role, there’s scrutiny from all the different stakeholders, and certainly students are never going to be happy with every decision that you make,” said Shukas. “But I think that any staff on campus really has the best intentions for serving the role, and that’s why we do it.”
Sheryl Eyster, the senior associate dean of students, said in an email, “He was committed to the long-term success of the FSL community and set the stage for policy improvements which have enhanced the overall well-being of this student community.”
Follow Erin Carey on Twitter: @elcarey