Rookie Knight | Jurkiewicz & Friedrichsen

This scenario follows Clara Bishop, a first-year student, who is trying to join the chess club at her university. The chess club is very large and popular here, and it is said that it can be very selective with its members. Clara is at university on scholarship, and misses her meeting with her scholarship advisor, Julia. Clara sends Julia an email apologizing for missing the meeting, and Julia sets up a virtual meeting instead. During the meeting, Clara discloses some information about why she missed the meeting – an event known as “Rookie Knight” – that is alarming to Julia.

Keywords: hazing, student organizations, mandatory reporters

Primary Characters

  1. Clara Bishop (She/Her/Hers): New member of the Chess Club; first year; scholarship student
  2. Julia Scramble (She/They): Graduate Advisor Scholarship Program
  3. Taylor Queensly (She/Her/Hers): President of the Chess Club; senior
  4. Geoff Kingston (He/Him/His): Vice President of the Chess Club; junior

Campus Context

Castle University is a public university nestled in Providence, Rhode Island. There are about 20,000 undergraduates enrolled in the institution. The Chess Club at Castle University is very prestigious and was one of the first organized clubs created at the University.

Opening Context

Hi Julia,

So sorry about missing our meeting this morning. Chess club has been taking up a lot of my time. I actually missed all of my classes before our planned meeting. My legs have been so sore after our last chess event, so I haven’t been able to walk anywhere.

Can we reschedule for later this week?


Clara Bishop

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are your initial responses to this email?
  2. How would you follow up with this student?

Later That Day

In a virtual meeting later that day with Clara, Julia asks how the Chess Club has been going. Clara discloses that she was very stressed out leading up to the “Rookie Knight.” Clara states that she has been sore since that event. Julia asks for more information about “Rookie Knight” as they are unfamiliar with this event.

Clara is initially hesitant because she was told not to talk about it by the President of the Chess Club. Clara says, “All of the new people and I who want to join the club were invited over to the Vice President’s house off-campus for “Rookie Knight”. During the week leading up to the meeting, some of the current members would come up to those of us who wanted to join and give us clothes or props, and a white or black bracelet. I was supposed to be a “Knight,” so they gave me a stick horse, but other students who were supposed to be “Rooks” were given things like bags of bricks. We were told that we had to keep these with us and wear the clothes and bracelet for the full week and bring them to “Rookie Knight.”

Clara continued, “When we got there, all of us were brought to the garage and there was a large chalk chessboard on the floor. It was weird because there were only 32 of us and I didn’t see some of my friends that were also interested in the Chess Club. We were told to grab our props and stand on either side of the board wherever our pieces were placed. Once we were all in our places, we were told that the President and Vice President would be controlling us and we would be playing “Human Sized Chess.”

Julia listens attentively, which encourages Clara to share more about the event. “At first we thought it would be really fun, and we all were really excited to play. But then when the first piece got out, the President said that they had to go and wait in the basement and told us that the losing team would not be allowed to join the chess club. We got worried and started trying to give advice so that our teams would win, and the President and Vice President would stop the game for a few minutes to yell at us every time we did, making the game take longer. The president also told us that if we sat down at all we would not be allowed to join the club. I got out probably about 40 minutes of standing and moving around, and I went down to the basement. We weren’t able to see or hear what was going on, so we had no idea who was doing better until new people came down and shared updates.”

Clara’s voice cracks. little as she finishes her story. “The game lasted for another 30 minutes at least before all of the players with white bracelets were brought to the basement. Some of them were crying, and all of the players with black bracelets were brought back upstairs. We sat in the basement for a few minutes before the Vice President came down and started yelling at us, telling us he was disappointed in us and that we weren’t good enough to be in the chess club. He screamed for about 10 minutes while the other team was upstairs cheering. As the Vice President was about to leave, he turned back and said ‘Just kidding! Welcome to the chess club! You’re all in!’ and started laughing at us. We all came upstairs and there was food and cake in the garage, and chairs for us to sit in.”

Clara realizes she has told Julia everything and states she doesn’t want anyone to get in trouble and it all worked out in the end. She does not want to leave the chess club. Clara asks Julia not to tell anyone else about it, and says she is worried she might lose her scholarship for talking about it.

Discussion Questions

  1. How can Julia support Clara during the meeting?
  2. How would you define what happened to Clara and the other newer members?
  3. What were the red flags before, during, and after Rookie Knight?
  4. Why might Clara say that what happened worked out okay in the end?
  5. What are Julia’s next steps? Think about policies, student support, education, etc.
  6. What education do President Taylor and Vice President Geoff and other members of the Chess Club need related to leadership, personal values, organizational ethics, and campus policy?

Sara Jurkiewicz (she/her/hers): Sara is a second-year graduate student in the College Student Personnel program at Bowling Green State University. Sara’s assistantship is with Fraternity and Sorority Life.

Gavin Friedrichsen (he/him/his): Gavin is a second-year graduate student in the College Student Personnel program at Bowling Green State University. Currently Gavin is working full-time as a Coordinator for Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution in BGSU’s Office of the Dean of Students.

Revisiting the Basics | Heinzman


A residential student returned to the halls intoxicated from a fraternity party alleging they were sexually assaulted. The suitemates reached out for help and the individual took more substances. The student was released from the hospital only an hour after transport.


Campus Police, Greek Life, Hospital Transport, Residential Community, Residential Community, Sexual Assault, Suicide Attempt, Title IX


  • Angela Johnson (she/her) – Resident Assistant (19), Sophomore studying biology on the pre-med track. She is currently taking the Emergency Medical Technician class because she hopes to volunteer with the College Emergency Medical Services team the upcoming semester. Angela has been an exemplary RA! She actively engages with her residents, is on time with administrative work, is attentive and engaged at staff meetings. As a first year RA she is standing out on the team.
  • Sarah MaCaslan (she/her) – Resident of 728, first-year in-state student (19). Within her suite, she always tries to include everyone and make sure they spend at least one night a week all together. Sarah wanted to join a sorority because she was timid in high school and wanted to make more friends. She was thrilled when she was invited to join her top choice sorority. She has been busy attending events and getting to know the other women in the organization. She gets along well her suite mates. Her roommate Jill also went through the sorority recruitment process but is in a different organization. Sarah does not spend much time in the residence hall.
  • Jill Goldman (she/her) – Resident of 728, first-year out-of-state student, age 18. Jill picked this college because it is close to where her family used to live. They come back every summer to visit. She knows the area well. She participated in sorority recruitment and was invited to be a member of her first choice which is the same organization as her mother. Jill loves her roommate Sarah. They get along very well. Jill likes the other women in the suite. She was really nervous about living with people but she is happy it is working out well.
  • Christy Tucker (she/her) – Resident of 730, first-year in-state student (18). She picked this college because it was as far from home as she could get while remaining in the state (a requirement for her parents to help her with college). She was academically strong in high school but seems to be enjoying the social aspects of college. Christy has been involved in a few minor incident reports related to noise but there was nothing else. There are no known issues within the suite. Everyone is getting along well. They enjoy spending time with one another at meals or going out.
  • Alex Briney (he/him) – Residence Hall Director On-Call – Alex has been working for the college for two years. He attended a graduate program at rural institution. He loved the institution and wanted a new experience of working at an urban campus. The first year was a challenging as Alex transitioned to the full-time position and learned to set boundaries. He is feeling much more confident in his position this year. Alex oversees the apartment complexes on the other side of campus and has not spent much time in this residence hall.

Important Information

  • Rooms 728-730 are connected by a shared bathroom
  • Assume all protocols were followed at the time of the incident.
  • SRMH – Southern Regional Medical Hospital (one of three local hospitals)


You are the Director of Residence Life at a mid-sized public institution located in a mid-sized metropolitan city. The on-campus student population is predominately first year students. There a many nearby private apartment complexes which cater to the student population. These apartment complexes are so close that students frequently walk to campus, and city residents do not always know which buildings are run by the institution and which are privately owned. About 10% of the student population live farther away from campus and students frequently use ride shares as there in limited public transportation (only operational during the day).

In the early hours of a Wednesday morning, you are notified by the on-call Residence Hall Director that a student was transported to one of several local hospitals for public intoxication. You are informed that the person was alert, a little argumentative, and the EMS team evaluating the student determined it was best to transport the student to the hospital for a more thorough evaluation. According to the information your received and the institution’s standard operating procedures, no action was required by university staff in the moment and follow up in the morning was appropriate.

On Wednesday morning, you are in your office and you read the following incident report related to the overnight call:

On Tuesday, September 23rd at 11:30pm Resident Isobel MaCaslan knocked on Resident Assistant (RA) Angela Johnson’s door. MaCaslan explained that suitemate Resident Christy Tucker asked to speak to the RA Johnson but did not want public safety contacted. MaCaslan explained to RA Johnson that Tucker, MaCaslan, and Resident Jill Goldman were out at an off-campus fraternity party when they began feeling unsafe. MaCaslan and Goldman called a ride home and tried convincing Tucker to come with them, but Tucker refused. After MaCaslan and Goldman had gotten back to the Residence Hall, Tucker showed up telling them Tucker had been sexually assaulted at the party.

Upon hearing this, RA Johnson went to room 728 where Tucker was sitting on the floor crying. MaCaslan and Goldman were in the room as well. RA Johnson tried to talk to Tucker for a while but Tucker was switching between sobbing and yelling. RA Johnson could not get Tucker to calmly talk to RA Johnson. Tucker was slurring her speech and was unable to focus. RA Johnson called Campus Safety at 12:28 am. RA Johnson went to meet EMS at the building entrance. Before RA Johnson went to meet Campus Safety, Tucker asked for food. RA Johnson left Tucker with MaCaslan and Goldman as she went to meet Campus Safety. While RA Johnson was escorting Campus Safety and MaCaslan was making food, Tucker drank half a bottle of Nyquil and took 5-6 Cyclobenzaprine.

At 12:30am, Goldman contacted RA Johnson (who was waiting for EMS) stating Tucker had taken more prescribed pills and was fading in and out of consciousness. Campus Safety and EMS arrived at 12:38am. Upon arriving on the scene, EMS used a sternal rub to wake Tucker who was unconscious. The sternal rub woke Tucker who immediately began to yell and swear at everyone. Tucker insisted they were fine and did not need to be transported to the hospital. Tucker said it is their norm to drink Nyquil and take pills every night to sleep. Tucker was screaming at RA Johnson for calling Campus Safety. Tucker was screaming at their suitemates for not letting them sleep and for leaving them at the party. Tucker became so worked up that she was incoherent. Campus Safety and EMS told Tucker they needed to transport Tucker to the hospital because of the loss of consciousness. Tucker was loaded into the ambulance and transported to one of the local hospitals.

RHD Alex Briney (RHD on-call) was called by RA Johnson at 12:48am. Tucker was taken to the hospital at 12:50am. RHD Briney collected the relevant information and relayed it to the Director of Residence Life.

At 1:32am Tucker began calling MaCaslan and Goldman as well as sending threatening messages. Tucker arrived back at Freedom Residence Hall at 3:40am where she began knocking loudly on MaCaslan and Goldman’s door and her door 730 (Resident Tucker did not have her key) as well as screaming. Tucker then went to RA Johnson’s room loudly knocking and screaming to open the door. Residents on the floor called Campus Safety. At 1:35 am, Campus Safety arrived at Freedom Residence Hall.  All of the students gathered in the hall immediately scattered into rooms with closed doors. Campus Safety did a complete walk through of the building, passed through the seventh floor again. There was not further noise or disturbance. Campus Safety left the building.

As you finish reading the incident report, your office phone begins to ring. On the other line it is your supervisor, the Dean of Students, who has also just finished reading the incident report. Your supervisor wants to know your plan.

Discussion Questions

  • What information do you (the director) need to gather to assist with follow up?
  • What immediate steps do you need to take?
  • What are the mid-term and long-term steps you would take?
  • What offices need to be involved?
  • How do you support your staff?
  • What additional training does your staff need to be prepared for situations like this?
  • What (if any) procedural changes would you like to address?
  • What (if an) relationships need to be strengthened to help prevent situations like this from happening again?

Advanced Discussion Questions

Imagine that you are new to the department. During your first six months, you have learned that the department is very siloed and communication between departments has been challenging because everyone is so focused on making their programs succeed. Which office would you want to work with to better support this student in crisis and her suitemates? What steps would you take to build relationships across campus?

Author Bio:

Joy Heinzman (she/her) is the Associate Director of Residence Life at the College of Charleston. She started at CofC in July 2017, as a Residence Life Coordinator then as Assistant Director for Residence Life. Joy attended the University of New Hampshire and earned a dual bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Psychology. She attended graduate school at the University of Maine where she obtained her Master’s in Education in Student Development in Higher Education. Before coming to Charleston, Joy was a Residence Hall Director at Christopher Newport University and the Assistant Director of Student Learning Initiatives at James Madison University.

When Community Isn’t Constructive | Hassenstab


This case study focuses on a sexual misconduct incident within Fraternity and Sorority Life. The issue involves student leaders as well as the university’s Title IX office. Student conduct, well-being and safety are also discussed.

 Keywords: Fraternity and Sorority Life, Student Leadership, Conduct, Safety and Well-Being


  • Emery (she/her): Chapter President, Delta Nu sorority.

Emery is a second-semester junior at State University and a third-year member of Delta Nu sorority. This is her second term on the sorority’s Executive Board and her first semester as Chapter President. Previously, she served as the Vice President for Standards and Ethics.

  • Marley (she/her): Vice President of Standards and Ethics, Delta Nu sorority

Marley is a second-semester sophomore at State University and a second-year member of Delta Nu sorority. This is her first term on the sorority’s executive board, previously serving as the chapter’s Wellness Chair.

  • Maddy (she/her): Member, Delta Nu sorority.

Maddy is a second-semester sophomore at State University. This is her first year in Delta Nu sorority, having gone through sorority recruitment as a sophomore earlier in the year. She has been a highly involved member since joining and has always been in good standing with the chapter.

  • Quinlan (she/her): Executive Chapter Advisor, Delta Nu sorority.

Quinlan is in her third year of advising the Delta Nu chapter at State University. She spent two years as the Standards and Ethics Advisor and became the Executive Chapter Advisor at the beginning of this school year. Quinlan was an active member of Delta Nu at a different college as an undergrad and worked as a full-time Leadership Consultant for Delta Nu in the year after she graduated, prior to taking the advising position with the chapter at State University. She has been Emery’s advisor for the past two years, and the two have a very honest and trusting relationship.

  • Stephanie (she/her): Fraternity and Sorority Life Coordinator, State University.

Stephanie is in her second year as the Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) Coordinator at State University. She was hired for the role immediately after graduating from State University’s Student Affairs program, during which she served as the Graduate Assistant for FSL.

  • Kristy (she/her): Title IX Coordinator, State University.

Kristy is in her 13th year as the Title IX Coordinator at State University. She frequently deals with issues relating to student organizations and has a strong understanding of the FSL community at State University. She and Stephanie have not worked with each other on any other issues prior to this situation.


State University is a mid-sized, public institution in the Midwest with a total enrollment of 12,000 students (9,000 undergraduate, 3,000 graduate). Fraternity and Sorority Life at State University is relatively small, with the campus having four fraternities, five sororities, and three multicultural Greek organizations. Approximately 10% of the total student population is affiliated with one of these chapters, with the average chapter size being 60 members.

Case Study

Emery, the current Chapter President of Delta Nu sorority, paces back and forth in the hallway of State University’s Student Union. She has just left a meeting with the university’s Title IX Coordinator, Stephanie, about an ongoing issue between members of her chapter and one of the fraternities on campus, Omega Sigma. It’s only February, two months into her presidency, and she can hardly believe the intensity of the issues she’s had to face.

The concerns with Omega Sigma began a month earlier when Delta Nu’s Social Chair announced that the sorority had been paired with Omega Sigma for their upcoming mixer. These mixers help promote a sense of community among chapters on campus. Each fraternity and sorority has to partner with every other chapter on campus at some point during the academic year; these functions are generally opportunities for the paired chapters to socialize. Failure to partner with every other chapter on campus would result in the offending chapter being placed on social probation through the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life the following semester, causing the chapter to lose the privilege of hosting any formal or semi-formal events.

In the week following the mixer announcement, Maddy, a sophomore who was in her first year of membership, asked to meet with Marley, Delta Nu’s Vice President of Standards and Ethics. In that meeting, Maddy shared concerns about the reputations of several Omega Sigma members, including screenshots of inappropriate and suggestive messages that were sent to Delta Nu members, including Maddy. Maddy expressed concern for the safety of her sorority sisters and shared that she and other sorority members would be more comfortable if the chapters did not host an event together. Marley assured her that she would express her concerns to the Chapter President, Emery, which she did the following day.

After discussing Maddy’s concerns, Emery and Marley brought Quinlan, their sorority advisor, into the conversation. Not wanting to put chapter members in harm’s way, they called a meeting with Stephanie, the FSL Coordinator. During this meeting, with Maddy’s permission, they shared the screenshots that had been shown to Marley and expressed their concerns about the upcoming mixer. Stephanie explained that it was FSL policy for them to host an event with every chapter and was unwilling to make an exception, citing that it wouldn’t be fair to the other chapters on campus if they were not all held to the same standards.

Fearful of facing social probation, Quinlan assisted Emery in making a formal Title IX complaint through State University’s Office of Compliance and Equity Management. Kristy, the Title IX Coordinator, processed the complaint and was willing to meet with the sorority officers and Stephanie about the situation. Unfortunately, they were unable to reach a resolution during the meeting, as Kristy did not have jurisdiction over the policies of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, and Stephanie was adamant that the fraternity members had not violated the FSL Code of Conduct, as no inappropriate actions could be proven.

As she mulled over what had happened in the meeting, Emery couldn’t help but feel as though she was caught between protecting her sorority sisters and maintaining the chapter’s good standing on campus. She could never have imagined having to face such intense situations prior to being in this role, and she didn’t know what the best course of action was. All she knew was that acting in the best interest of her sisters and keeping the chapter in good standing at the same time seemed impossible.

Discussion Questions

  1. How do we protect the well-being of members while fostering a robust FSL community?
  2. How do we protect the well-being of chapter presidents and standards chairs while still giving members trusted individuals to go to when these types of situations arise?
  3. What are some ways that the Title IX Coordinator and the FSL Coordinator could work together more effectively in addressing this situation?
  4. How might the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life work proactively to address or educate about situations of sexual misconduct among members of the FSL community?

Erin Hassenstab (she/her) is an advocate for an accessible, meaningful college experience for all students. A second-year master’s student at Clemson University, she is obtaining her M.Ed. with a focus on Student Affairs. In addition to her degree program, she serves as the Graduate Assistant for Residential Learning. Her involvement across her college campus on numerous executive councils led her to want to help other students have a meaningful college experience that would equip them with skills to help them succeed in their professional lives.