Greek Community response

By: The Stevens Greek Councils

Recently, a Letter to the Editor of the Stute titled “A Public Service Announcement” caught the attention of many communities on and off of Stevens Campus. The Greek Community at Stevens was shocked and upset to hear that anyone had such a negative experience in what most members consider to be a very supportive community. Fraternity and sorority organizations were created to build meaningful bonds, better the local community, and support the education and personal development of its members. Greek life brings people together and it provides so many with a home away from home, a family and a support system. And while we do not agree with the generalizations made in the article, we do admit that we are not a perfect community and it may be that some of the over 1000 students, which make up our Greek community, are not as committed to diversity and inclusivity as the rest. Not every social Greek organization contains a high percentage of minoritized groups on campus, but all organizations celebrate the diversity of their sisters and brothers.

After reading the October 7th letter to the editor, the Presidents of all four Greek Councils met numerous times with leaders and members of the community to discuss the steps we could take to move forward. The Greek community has been working tirelessly to plan new events and initiatives on campus to better ourselves and our organizations based on the input received from community members, and we have asked each individual in Greek Life at Stevens, and each Greek organization to reflect on what they can do to improve. Many of the ideas suggested are already being addressed by the new Stevens Greek Accreditation Program, which can be found on DUCKsync, which officially launched this year. The program will publically rank organizations based on their level of participation and encourages organizations to host educational and service programs open to all of campus, receive trainings on diversity and inclusivity, attend and host Anti-Hazing programs, and participate in and support the events hosted by other organizations on campus.

In light of “A Public Service Announcement” we will be making a concentrated effort to build closer relationships with the minoritized communities at Stevens through support, attendance, and co-hosted events. A few organizations have already started reaching out to Safe Zone, the Torch Alliance, the Ethnic Student Council and Women’s Programs to co-host events as well as schedule trainings and workshops. The United Greek Committee, an organization composed of 1 or 2 elected delegates from every social Greek organization at Stevens, has planned two trainings, one on allyship and how to better support brothers and sisters in minoritized communities, and one on LGBTQ students and how to support them and affirm their identities in one gender organizations. The members in attendance will bring back everything that they learn and share it with their chapters. The Stevens Panhellenic Association has already asked every Panhellenic sorority to get Safe Zone trained this year. SPA is also hosting an open discussion with Kristie and Danielle to begin drafting a formal policy on the participation of transgender women that have not undergone gender reassignment surgery in recruitment and a bystander intervention training focusing on diversity and inclusion. In the Spring, SPA is also looking forward to coordinating another Week of Women with the Women’s Council to highlight issues prevalent on a mostly male campus. The four council presidents will be working closely with Jacquis Watters, the new Diversity Educator in Student Life, on future programming, Greek specific trainings and collaborations with the minoritized communities on campus.

We are taking the claims made in the Letter to the Editor seriously, whether they represent our community or not, there is always room for us to improve. If the Greeks at Stevens make a sincere effort to make the community more inclusive, it will happen, but we need every member to be involved. This goes beyond just being open minded, it means we have to speak out when members are not representing the values of our community. We need to work to educate ourselves and support and affirm the members of minoritized communities, whether or not they are a part of the Greek community. We are responsible for the perception of Greek Life from outside of the Greek community, and we have some work to do combating negative stereotypes and generalizations.  The best way for every Greek to improve and strengthen this community is to lead by example. Our actions need to speak for themselves, and they need to say that we are an amazing community that values diversity and makes a sincere effort to include and support people of all backgrounds.

  • JD

    We need to be super careful because some of the so-called multicultural efforts end up creating organizations that are actually less diverse than the rest. A non-specific fraternity might be 90% white, while a Hispanic fraternity might be 99% Hispanic (for sake of example, nothing more). That’s less diversity. The way around this is to not even consider race/ethnicity when recruiting, when judging from the outside, when designing solutions, when having casual discussion, when journalizing, when thinking. Anything less is discriminating against protected classes, not necessarily maliciously, but in any case. Discriminating against non-protected classes is fine (i.e., those which you can control; e.g., merit and character) while discriminating against protected classes is not (i.e., those which you cannot because you’re born into them; e.g., race and ethnicity).