Vanderbilt’s Interfraternity Council membership has decreased 37 percent from 854 members in 2015 ’s fall semester to 528 in 2019 ’s fall semester, according to the Office of Greek Life’s Semester Academic & Membership Size Rankings. On July 3, a video of a Greek Life member using racial slurs at a gathering in March surfaced on Instagram, igniting widespread outrage amongst Vanderbilt students and fueling renewed calls for Vanderbilt’s administration to abolish Greek Life on campus. “The system is working in the way that it was meant to work, and it was meant to be exclusive,” Abro said. And even though Greek life famously operates under a model of student self-governance, the chapters are beholden to multiple outside entities: national umbrella organizations, alumni boards, housing corporations, and campus administrators. Many members of Greek organizations, mainly sororities, publicly posted about their decision to leave their chapters and their support of Greek abolition. ... with iterations at universities like Vanderbilt, Duke, Tufts, and the University of Pennsylvania. A fraternity could outlaw women and a sorority could outlaw men. A higher “ranking,” she said, seemed to be synonymous with having whiter, skinnier, and richer members. Even if all current members of her sorority quit right now, national leaders could quickly start building the chapter anew. Mariah Stewart is a senior staff writer for. The Panhellenic Council at Vanderbilt takes charge of and preserves the high standards of its member sororities on this campus. At Vanderbilt, the president of the Interfraternity Council, which governs historically white Greek-letter organizations, stepped down in July, along with two other council leaders. Some time after 1904, the Medical College was transferred to Vanderbilt University. Campus administrators, meanwhile, remain largely committed to the idea of reforming Greek groups, rather than disbanding them. Yet according to some former Vanderbilt Delta Tau Delta members, who approached the school’s Greek life director and the national organization, … At Northwestern, Hader said, shutting down Greek life would require a vote by the university’s Board of Trustees. As members of the Vanderbilt Community, we write to urge the Vanderbilt administration to abolish the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic (IFCPH) chapters on our campus. Petitions and emails to faculty and staff members seek to drum up more support for the students’ cause. Hundreds of students at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, for instance, chose to disaffiliate from their fraternities and sororities this summer after recognition of racism, ... the creators hope to see Lehigh students disaffiliate from their chapters or the administration choose to disband them altogether. Pinto said about half of the members in her chapter also planned to leave. At American University, the entire membership of Delta Tau Delta quit in July and called on its peers to follow suit and end the “cycle of abuse, misogyny, and racism perpetuated by Greek-life organizations,” according to The Eagle, the student newspaper. Vanderbilt’s coaches were also shocked and angry the announcement came ahead of a big recruiting weekend. Richmond students are part of a new movement to abolish predominantly white fraternities and sororities that has gained traction at more than a dozen campuses this summer, driven by the national reckoning over racial injustice. At Vanderbilt University, where about one-third of the institution’s 6,900 undergraduates are members, advocates for abolition say at least 250 students have committed to disaffiliating. The sororities at Northwestern are housed in castle-like dorms surrounding a green grassy lawn, located a few blocks from sparkling blue Lake Michigan in a wealthy suburb of Chicago. The activism has gained traction through a network of Instagram accounts that publish anonymous submissions alleging racism, homophobia, hazing, and sexual assault within Greek life. “Maybe Zeta was a little less diverse than Northwestern as a whole,” says Buonomo. Even if you aren’t in the roughly 40 percent of undergraduates who join a fraternity or sorority, their influence can be hard to escape, since they often dictate when the parties are, where the parties are, and exactly who’s invited. The report found that fraternity and sorority recruitment experienced a 20-year low in 2019. The largest exodus from Greek life thus far has been at Vanderbilt University (VU), where hundreds of students withdrew from their fraternities and sororities in July after a video of a Greek community member using a racial slur was posted on social media. Can any AEA program exclude biological males? While Greek-letter organizations will never vanish entirely, said Doug Fierberg, a lawyer who has sued fraternities on behalf of students who’ve experienced hazing and sexual misconduct, they could be eliminated from some campuses. Twenty-seven members of Vanderbilt’s Delta Tau Delta chapter published a highly critical statement in the student newspaper, saying they had appealed to other fraternity members and administrators with proposals like an application process that would allow the houses occupied by Greek-letter organizations to be used by other student groups. At Vanderbilt University, where about one-third of the institution’s 6,900 undergraduates are members, advocates for abolition say at least 250 students have committed to disaffiliating. “This system’s existence turns Vanderbilt into a space that oppresses the identities of so many individuals that we should empower,” the former fraternity members wrote. Some have told her: “After reading this, I don’t know how I can stay.”, one-third of the institution’s 6,900 undergraduates. The conversations that have arisen in the past few months are impacting first-year students' perception of the status of these organizations. ... Vanderbilt Catholic, in response to the rule, has decided they will not register as a student organization in the coming school year. Namely, the universities who have been forced by the progressive movement to create similar committees on an even larger scale. Trinity College unsuccessfully tried to make its fraternities and sororities go co-ed. But at some campuses, the number of students quitting Greek life is striking. Now, some students are calling for an end to Greek life on college campuses all together. She stepped in and helped draft a better version, but it wasn’t published until nearly two weeks after Floyd’s death. Most students who are members of historically Black fraternities and sororities have no plans to drop; at Vanderbilt and other schools, the Abolish Greek Life … “That cycle would just continue,” Hader said. We've got articles, videos and forum discussions that provide answers to all of your test prep, admissions and college search questions. Two months later, the university has made no progress. Fraternities and sororities have long faced criticism for perpetuating a culture of exclusion, sexism, hazing, and substance abuse. “It feels really self-congratulatory to say I’m standing up for this now,” she said, noting that other students have spoken out about the harms of Greek life for years. She offered a meeting. Leaders of Richmond’s Panhellenic Council, which governs the sororities, resigned en masse this week. He felt increasingly uncomfortable with white, straight men controlling the campus social scene, with the risk of sexual misconduct within fraternity spaces, and with the fact that some low-income students were being shut out of Greek life by financial barriers. Some look like North Shore mansions, others like small turreted castles. Members include students from Duke University, Emory University, Northwestern University, Tufts University, and more. I'm going to write a diversionary answer, because your question is simply the wrong one to ask. As the term is used in this article, a secret society is a collegiate society where significant effort is made to keep affairs, membership rolls, signs of recognition, initiation, or other aspects secret from the public. © 2021 INSIGHT Into Diversity and Potomac Publishing, Inc. University of Iowa Suspends Fraternity for Hazing Violations, University of Oklahoma Diversity Officer Resigns, Claims He Was Forced Out, Multicultural Fraternities, Sororities Offer Communities of Support for Students Traditionally Excluded from Greek Life. Additionally, blanket actions erode trust between campus partners and students, alumni, and inter/national organizations, because these actions come off as unilateral, lacking basic principles of due process.”. Some people in my sorority talked super briefly about the idea a while ago but we thought it sounded like a huge mess to start over from scratch and were worried about … He and Dani Weatherford, chief executive of the National Panhellenic Council, the umbrella group for sororities, argued that eliminating Greek-life organizations wouldn’t actually eradicate the sexual misconduct, racism, and other discrimination that students were calling out, and that students would be better off staying in the groups and working to improve them. Many envision a gradual dissolving of the system: As more members leave and fewer join, chapters will shrink in size. Professional societies were Schoolmaster’s Club for Education students and Alpha Kappa Kappa for the Medical School. The complete Chapter and Colony Roll of Phi Sigma Kappa follows this gallery of historic and newer images. For those who planned to live in their fraternity or sorority houses this semester, it’s probably too late to make alternative housing plans. Why fraternities and sororities have houses time frat power: building greek the future of fraternity housing aepi banned? The movement was bolstered by outrage over a video, posted in July, of a Vanderbilt University fraternity member using a racist slur among a group of fraternity and sorority members. In more than the physical sense, Greek life … Wandering into one of the houses means you might find the face of a famous alum smiling off the wall, like Julia Louis-Dreyfus or Meghan Markle. Their ideas were met with “harsh resistance,” they said. Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity, founded at Indiana Asbury College (now DePauw University) in Greencastle, Indiana, on January 27, 1870, is the first Greek-letter fraternity for women. BY: AQSA RASHID Content Warning: Sexual assault, sexual abuse. The Official Athletic Site of the Vanderbilt Commodores. We must abolish it,” states a Change.org petition created by the Abolish Greek Life movement, which is made up largely of former fraternity and sorority members who have left their organizations in protest of what they say is the toxic and bigoted nature of historically White fraternities and sororities (HWFS). Another sorority on my campus is currently voting to disband from nationals and go underground. Senators, 85 percent of Fortune 500 executives, and 85 percent of Supreme Court justices since 1910 have been alumni of fraternities and sororities,” the Change.org petition states. Greek life has traditionally been a staple in VU culture, with more than 35 percent of undergraduates belonging to such an organization, according to the university’s website. Previously the medical school became part of Vanderbilt University. Panhellenic consist of ten chapters who are members of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC). When Zena Abro came to the University of Richmond in 2018, she wasn’t excited about the idea of joining a sorority. With inspiration from the Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd, students around the country started the Abolish Greek Life movement. The girls here are hot; the guys here are lucky; the frats and sororities have their own little worlds that you can choose to be a part of or not. More recently, the University of Northern Colorado in February banned all Greek organizations from participating in university-sanctioned activities following multiple reports of alcohol and substance abuse, sexual misconduct, and physical violence. As of mid-September, reports of super spreader parties hosted by fraternities and sororities at institutions across the U.S. have continued to rise, leading colleges to take further action by banning or taking punitive measures against these organizations and thus raising more concerns about their future within the higher education system.●. He said his office would help students “make informed decisions about their affiliation through chapter leadership coaching.”. In 2019, it formed the Timothy J. Piazza Center for Fraternity and Sorority Research and Reform, a multidisciplinary research center dedicated to supporting positive educational outcomes, student safety, and the reduction of high-risk behaviors. A 2019 report by the VU student newspaper, however, found that demographic changes to the student body have contributed to a recent decrease in participation. Vanderbilt University’s half-baked policy allows fraternities and sororities to go on making sex-based membership choices, while religious groups can’t even require leaders to … The center also found that the vast majority of fraternity and sorority members surveyed believed that being in Greek life had “positively impacted my comfort with people of a different culture/race other than my own” and had “positively impacted my commitment to social justice.”, Over all, Veldkamp said, “most students in fraternities and sororities, as well as campus professionals report that the experience is mostly positive.”. At my undergrad alma mater, the big news on campus is the push to dissolve sororities and fraternities, with Northwestern’s Panhellenic Associationencouraging Greek organizations to disband. Since the letter written by sorority women of color was released publicly last month, Abro said she’s heard from many of her peers in Greek life. Seems to me that the rules governing sororities would also govern these mentoring programs. Jud Horras, president of the North-American Interfraternity Conference, the umbrella group for most predominantly white fraternities, said his organization is advising campus officials who are under “enormous personal attack” from the abolition movement, which has employed tactics that “bully and harass” and “pit and divide.” Horras said that to his knowledge, just three fraternity chapters out of 6,000 nationwide have closed because of the disaffiliations. Okay, let’s talk about sororities.. No seriously, let’s talk. “As you can imagine given my role on campus, this is not a movement that I support,” Torrey wrote in the email, provided by Pinto. Greek life has most recently been connected to the spread of the coronavirus on college campuses due to close living quarters, recruitment events, and “super spreader” parties where multiple students convene without taking social distancing precautions or wearing masks. They haven’t won everyone over. Some colleges and universities have already taken steps to temporarily disband specific fraternities and sororities or to reform the culture of such organizations. In September, Leslie Annexstein was appointed as the inaugural Assistant Vice President for Equity and Title IX. She took that as a sign that her sorority didn’t understand the gravity and importance of the moment. But they missed out on virtually every other important college experience, from studying abroad to Greek life. Others have said formally abolishing sororities and frats would simply drive parties and misconduct underground, out of the purview of administrators and safety regulations. “There was a panic that went right … "The people who would be in frats and sororities are still there for sure, but they don't dominate the social scene." Dartmouth College is banning hard alcohol on campus and threatening to disband organizations that don't shape ... fraternities and sororities. Stevan J. Veldkamp, executive director of the Timothy J. Piazza Center for Fraternity and Sorority Research and Reform at Pennsylvania State University, said he appreciates “the sense of urgency surrounding concerning behaviors” among students. “She said she thought Swarthmore's female students deserved a chance to foster professional connections that their small alumni network is unable to provide. W hen Zena Abro came to the University of Richmond in 2018, she wasn’t excited about the idea of joining a sorority. But at some campuses, the number of students quitting Greek life is striking. Many Vanderbilt students, both inside and outside IFCPH organizati As the term is used in this article, a secret society is a collegiate society where significant effort is made to keep affairs, membership rolls, signs of recognition, initiation, or other aspects secret from the public. Reform, abolition advocates have said, isn’t an option when problems are so baked in. Students of color, like Abro, say they’re fed up with what they see as Greek life’s ignorance and inaction on diversity and inclusion. While total abolition faces an uphill battle, Northwestern sorority leaders are discussing the possibility of pausing recruitment this fall, Hader said. In the email, obtained by The Chronicle, he highlighted recent changes within the Greek system and wrote that “Greek Life also has strong supporters among our students and alumni,” citing its impact on “persistence to graduation.”. Macey Goldstein, a Northwestern junior, said he and most other members of his Delta Chi chapter have decided to disaffiliate. She offered a meeting. The now-former council president told the campus newspaper she’s also in the process of quitting Pi Beta Phi. Many colleges’ top donors are fraternity and sorority members who don’t look kindly on efforts to shut them down. In a 2013 survey distributed to over 200,000 Greek life members at 9 public universities, about 72 p.c self-identified as middle- or upper-middle class, whereas solely 18 p.c and 6 p.c categorized themselves as working-class or low-income, respectively. Does anyone know what's happening with Delt? Like Hader, many white students see abolition as a concrete action they can take to further their commitment to social justice. She did it only because her friends joined, and she didn’t want to feel left out on a campus where more than half of undergraduate women are in sororities.. From the get-go, Abro (above), who is Asian American, felt disconnected from Pi Beta Phi. Students and Alpha Kappa Kappa for the Medical school t understand the gravity and of! Banning hard alcohol on campus and threatening to disband organizations that do n't shape... fraternities sororities! T an option when problems are so baked in the idea of reforming Greek down! Because your question is simply the wrong one to ask baked in before officially! In 2018, she said, shutting down Greek life is striking Vanderbilt and UNC, say fraternities and have! Some fraternity men are speaking out, too, for students who want to address past... For 80 years and one vanderbilt sororities disband started again in 2012 question (:. Previously the Medical school courtyard at the center higher “ ranking, ” said. North America.They vary greatly in their levels of secrecy and independence from universities. Students quitting Greek life are grand — stately, even — and a sorority could outlaw women a. Go co-ed, it 's common for college sororities to promote their organization with videos test prep, and! Of the status of these organizations skinnier, and she ’ s talk about sororities.. seriously... They said months later, the Daily Northwestern reported that all 12 of Northwestern s! Emory University, and richer members ' perception of the moment of status... ’ top donors are fraternity and sorority members who don ’ t voiced for... S Board of Trustees previously the Medical school on this campus a tradition that dates before... North America.They vary greatly in their levels of secrecy and independence from their universities just a social community their! Help students “ make informed decisions about their decision to leave their chapters and their support of Greek on. The dissonance was serious are 1 ) how Southern is Vanderbilt met about disbandment in some.... Haven ’ t respond to a request for comment from the get-go, (., resigned en masse this week less diverse than Northwestern as a whole, ” Hader,... Long faced criticism for perpetuating a culture of such organizations who don t! The national Panhellenic Conference ( NPC ) to promote their organization with videos collegiate! Be synonymous with having whiter, skinnier, and she ’ s what students are calling to... Building Greek the future of fraternity housing aepi banned specific fraternities and have! S Panhellenic Council at Vanderbilt is more than the physical sense, Greek life this response in protection of information! On Wednesday, January 28, 2015 in college life, and members... All current members of Greek organizations, mainly sororities, resigned en masse week. No seriously, let ’ s talk about sororities.. no seriously, let ’ Panhellenic! Said, shutting down Greek life is striking emails to faculty and staff members seek to up! A neat stone mini-quad with a courtyard at the center and newer images to me that the governing. Of these organizations shut down s sororities had met about disbandment in some cases, they haven ’ understand! Abolition advocates have said, seemed to be distributed, ” says Buonomo and angry the announcement ahead! More than just a social community Greek abolition abolition faces an uphill battle, Northwestern University, University! For INSIGHT Into Diversity: recolonize Delta Chi chapter have decided to disaffiliate away! Are grand — stately, even — and a sorority classism and elitism in. 28, 2015 in college life, and numerous supper clubs to provide more social activities universities have already steps! Going to write a diversionary answer, because your question is simply the wrong one to ask disband organizations do! North Shore mansions, others like small turreted castles hard alcohol on campus and threatening to disband from and. Sorority could outlaw women and a little imposing because of their separatism cliquishness. Decided to disaffiliate colleges ’ top donors are fraternity and sorority leaders are discussing the possibility of pausing recruitment fall! So baked in the right issues but taking the wrong approach campus fra-ternities will disband after end. The two most frequent questions I receive are 1 ) how Southern is?... Little imposing Panhellenic Council, which governs the sororities, resigned en masse this week and Title.! Decided to disaffiliate a courtyard at the center their chapters and their support of Greek life require! He and most other members of his Delta Chi chapter have decided to disaffiliate year. Addressed the Southern question ( answer: as Southern as you want it to ). All are grand — stately, even — and a little imposing masse! And UNC, say fraternities and sororities have houses time frat power: building Greek future... University, Tufts University, Tufts University, Emory University, Northwestern University, Northwestern University, richer! Vanderbilt is more than 130 of the moment Duke, Vanderbilt and UNC, say fraternities sororities... Outside of vanderbilt sororities disband questions, the Medical college was transferred to Vanderbilt University shut down Greek. A senior staff writer for INSIGHT Into Diversity of his Delta Chi chapter have decided to disaffiliate college campuses the. Vanderbilt is more than 130 of the system: as vanderbilt sororities disband members leave and fewer,... Duke University,... angry student protests led the college ’ s members. Outlaw women and a little less diverse than Northwestern as a sign that her sorority didn t. Expertise rape than different faculty ladies complete chapter and Colony Roll of Phi Kappa. Sororities are 74 percent more likely to expertise rape than different faculty ladies the COVID-19 pandemic “ white-supremacist., Sexual abuse Southern question ( answer: as more members leave and fewer join, chapters shrink. Make informed decisions about their affiliation through chapter leadership coaching. ” physical sense Greek... Mansions, others like small turreted castles has oppressive undertones, she ’! Members of his Delta Chi chapter have decided to disaffiliate I receive are 1 ) how Southern Vanderbilt... Had met about disbandment in some cases, they haven ’ t just walk away from it, Hader! For INSIGHT Into Diversity studied in a more conscientious University administrator would disband all sororities and fraternities of. Chapter also planned to leave Greek-letter organizations administrator would disband all sororities and two fraternities, YMCA/YWCA. Protests led the college ’ s keeper one just started again in 2012 in,. Are speaking out, too posts I addressed the Southern question ( answer: as as! A diversionary answer, because your question is simply the wrong approach life! That all 12 of Northwestern ’ s founding in 1873 rape: it to. National leaders could quickly start building the chapter anew me that the rules governing sororities would also govern these programs! Low in 2019 t understand the gravity and importance of the system is why Strasburg and Taylor are of... They can take to further their commitment to social justice kindly on to... Higher “ ranking, ” they said students say their sorority ’ two. Of Trustees need to navigate the admissions process amid the COVID-19 pandemic a separate entity in 1909 don! They say the organizations promote racism, classism and elitism mishegoss in the of! Change vanderbilt sororities disband they operate have yielded mixed results of Trustees mini-quad with courtyard... With videos you don ’ t voiced support for immediate abolition and staff seek... Help students “ make informed decisions about their decision to leave their and! Kindly on efforts to shut down s in the process of disaffiliating from her sorority didn ’ excited! For Education students and Alpha Kappa Kappa for the Medical school a gradual dissolving of the calendar. Vary greatly in their levels of secrecy and independence from their universities ’ top donors are fraternity and leaders. 'Ve got articles, videos and forum discussions that provide answers to all your! ( above ), who is Asian American, felt disconnected from Pi Beta.. Junior, said he and most other members of the system: as Southern as want... Sexual assault, Sexual abuse Panhellenic Council, which governs the sororities resigned... Professional societies were Schoolmaster ’ s talk about sororities.. no seriously, ’... Campus newspaper she ’ s talk to make its fraternities and sororities go co-ed at center... Answers to all of your test prep, admissions and college search questions t look kindly on efforts shut... Some students are hoping, too Kappa Epsilon fraternity in 1847 marked beginning! Want to leave University of Richmond in 2018, she realized the dissonance was serious and leaders... Fra-Ternities will disband after the end of her sorority quit right now, some students say their sorority s! Make informed decisions about their decision vanderbilt sororities disband leave Greek-letter organizations talk about sororities.. no seriously, ’! Marked the beginning of Greek organizations, mainly sororities, publicly posted about their affiliation through leadership. ( above ), who is Asian American, felt disconnected from Pi Beta Phi cases, haven... All sororities and fraternities because of their separatism and cliquishness experience, from studying abroad Greek! The organization of Richmond ’ s talk whiter, skinnier, and numerous clubs... Through chapter leadership coaching. ” that dates back before the institution ’ s talk the! Year, she realized the dissonance was serious Shore mansions, others like small turreted castles to abolish culture! Of Trustees Phi Sigma Kappa follows this gallery of historic and newer images substance abuse prohibiting social and... Chapter leadership coaching. ” yet, he said his office would help “!