March 11, 2003

Greek statement of tolerance

As members of the Greek community, we recognize that our institutions have recently come under criticism concerning issues of non-tolerance and exclusivity, especially regarding homosexual students at the University. While the actions of a few members of our community have embarrassed us, as Greeks, we do not promote or condone the ridiculing of any gender, race, or sexual orientation, even in jest. Our community has not always been an open and tolerant one, but today the fraternities and sororities on campus contain members from a variety of different racial and cultural backgrounds, and we profess no prejudice or bias toward any students because of their sexual preference.

The comments made at the Mr. University Pageant were not indicative of the attitudes and opinions of Greek organizations in general. While a few of those found responsible for the offensive remarks were Greek, the comments were said on their own behalf, not on the part of their respective organizations. Moreover, the crowd was composed of many different groups of students, and it is unfair and irresponsible to suppose that all the derogatory statements came from individuals associated with the Greek community.

We feel that the article in the Maroon drastically mischaracterized Greek organizations in both our ideals and their practice. The suggestion that fraternities and sororities are bastions for outdated views is simply ridiculous. Although tradition is an important part of our organizations, we believe our founding missions are enhanced by the diversity of our members' cultural and political identities. Our membership is based on ties of friendship and service--ideals that are blind to race, creed, and sexual orientation--and therefore we are at least equally as diverse as most recognized student organizations.

Greek organizations are an integral and invaluable part of the campus community. On a campus where social interaction is often lacking, Greek events provide a important social outlet for many students. More importantly, all Greek organizations are deeply committed to a variety of philanthropic concerns, including, among others, Boys and Girls Club, Arthritis Research, ALS, American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Prevent Blindness America, and La Rabida Children's Hospital. It is unfortunate that the incidents at the Mr. University pageant have overshadowed the fact that Kappa Alpha Theta raised over $6,000 for Court Appointed Special Advocates.

While we are upset that some members of our community may have made hateful remarks, we hope that in the future students don't indict the entire Greek system based on the alleged actions of a few individuals. Instead, we believe students should judge the whole Greek community on its merits and the ideals we have espoused in this statement.

Phi Delta Theta, Alpha Delta Phi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Phi Gamma Delta, Pi Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Theta, Delta Gamma (Eta Zeta), and Alpha Omicron Pi submitted this article.