Pledge Against Racism & Discrimination in UGA's Panhellenic and IFC Greek Life

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!


Pledge Against Racism – University of Georgia

Learn more at www.pledgeagainstracism.com

WHO WE ARE

  • ​Our goal is to address racism in Panhellenic and IFC at The University of Georgia and create a more inclusive environment for the future.
  • We are past members of Panhellenic and current UGA alumni who explicitly benefited from and recognize the rigged, whitewashed system that are upheld by the systems of Panhellenic and IFC. 
  • We are motivated by the BLM movement to push towards change. Be the change.

WHY
Panhellenic and IFC have a huge impact on UGA’s campus, and we believe it is time to that influence for social justice against racial discrimination. We are here to crowdsource and listen to what the people want. This is about helping provide a platform for voices to be amplified.

GOALS

  • Our goal is not to put a bandaid on the issue, but to propose a way to start healing the wound. 
  • The lack of representation is not the key issue-- it’s an indicator of a much greater one. 
  • We strive to ensure that BIPOC feel embraced and accepted wherever they choose to affiliate. 
  • We must move in the right direction. Sign our petition to support the new roadmap.

OUR VALUES

  • Transparency - Most of us working on this petition were once members of UGA's Panhellenic Greek Life and are current alumni who explicitly benefited from the rigged, whitewashed system. We have to be honest, transparent, and face that fact. It took the energy of the BLM movement to finally push us to change. We owe the Black community that acknowledgment. 
  • Cooperation - We are here to crowdsource and listen to what the people want. This is not about “saving” anyone. This is about helping provide a platform for voices to be amplified. 
  • Advocacy - We will be actively anti-racist and work against racism's multidimensional aspects.
  • Accountability - We promise to hold every Greek Life organization and individual accountable. We will ensure there are strong safeguards, practices, and vetting processes in place that will hold individuals accountable. We will no longer tolerate racism. 

Petition for Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism in UGA’s Panhellenic Council 

A more representative society is not only more accepting, but also more culturally rich. The foundation of sisterhood at its core is based on the empowerment of women, and the bonds of sisterhood surpass the color of our skin. The University of Georgia Panhellenic Council will no longer participate in or perpetuate the lack of diversity within its community. This lack of diversity is far too often swept under the rug and forgotten. The overwhelming number of caucasian women that make up the Panhellenic Greek Life system is especially problematic and troublesome as it is disproportionate to the makeup of the University of Georgia’s overall student population.

The NPC and IFC organizations have long been another place where white populations are in the majority and able to inherently reinforce discriminatory values in favor of their own privilege and exclusivity. This petition is for the purpose of reversing the systemic, inherent segregation and exclusionary culture that has been instilled in UGA’s NPC institutions since its establishment. This petition does not provide solutions for all of the issues that need to be fixed within the Panhellenic Greek Life system, but it is a start and provides action steps to begin to make NPC organizations more inclusive and diverse. It is our hope that Greek Life at the University of Georgia can pave the way for diversity and inclusion in academic institutions across the nation to eventually follow in our footsteps. 

We feel it is important to clarify that the goal of this initiative is not to discourage involvement in the NPHC or MGC organizations at UGA, but rather increase the diversity and inclusion in the NPC (predominantly white) chapters on UGA’s campus to ensure that women of color feel embraced and accepted wherever they choose to affiliate. Our demands are as follows: 

A. Panhellenic is required to add a Diversity and Inclusion Board of Alumni to their board of Executives that maintains requirements B-N (listed below) throughout all 19 chapters at the University of Georgia. The Diversity and Inclusion Board of Alumni will meet monthly with the Staff Diversity Advisory Board, and report any discrimination or racism to them.  

B. Each chapter is required to add a Diversity and Inclusion position to their board of executives that maintains the requirements listed below. 

i. This includes overseeing that the rest of the executive board upholds the requirements listed below as well. 

C. Each chapter is required to implement a Diversity and Inclusion Board of Alumni that screens candidates for the Diversity and Inclusion position and monitors every election, as well as recruitment.  

D. Panhellenic will be required to attend UGA’s multicultural orientations each year as well as Dawg Camp, the Intersection, etc… And have a booth set up providing information and spreading awareness regarding recruitment to the incoming multicultural freshman that attend those events. 

E. The Diversity and Inclusion Board must be made up of at least 50% women of color. We understand that this percentage will be hard to attain immediately, therefore we have set a target date for the year 2024 for this percentage to be reached.

F. At least 33% of bids given out during recruitment are designated to women of color, per chapter (this is proportionate to the population of non-white students enrolled at the University of Georgia, therefore the number of bids can and should exceed this percentage). 

We understand that this percentage will be hard to attain immediately, therefore we have set a target date of the year 2024 for the bid percentage of 33% to be reached in order to assure that this goal will be actively worked towards.
While Panhellenic is taking the necessary steps in order to make Panhellenic organizations more appealing to and inclusive of women of color and working to increase more diverse participation, we require the number of bids given out to BIPOC is proportionate to the number of women of color going through recruitment during any given year until the year of 2024.

G. A zero-tolerance policy for any form of discrimination or marginalization of women based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation by chapter members, chapter advisors, house mothers, or house staff members must be strictly enforced at all times.  

H. If a chapter is found to be practicing any form of discrimination, based on the aforementioned identifiers in item G, they will consequently be kicked off campus. If a member of a chapter is found to be practicing any form of discrimination, based on the aforementioned identifiers in item G, they will be stripped of their letters and affiliation with Greek Life entirely. No exceptions.  

I. House mothers need to go through a round of interviews, including an interview with the Diversity and Inclusion Board, which they have to pass in order to be named house mother.        

J. Each philanthropy chair is required to hold at least one philanthropy event per year that specifically benefits an organization of their choosing that supports the Black community.  The Diversity and Inclusion Board of Alumni will provide a non-exhaustive list that they can choose from. Organizations not on the list must be approved by the Diversity and Inclusion Board.  

K. The Panhellenic Council will create a Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment Fund that will cover the Fall recruitment registration fees for all women of color who apply (up to $300 per potential new member) to incentivize diversity in Panhellenic and lessen the financial burden on women of color seeking to participate in recruitment. Applications to this fund will be made available through the Greek Life Office and all women of color applying will be included in this offer.

L. The Panhellenic Council must create a scholarship that will fund at least one year of chapter dues for women of color who are active members of a Panhellenic sorority. The qualifications for the scholarship will be determined by the Diversity and Inclusion Board of Alumni. We also recommend that this scholarship be named in honor of an alumna of color from the UGA Panhellenic community.

M. Sororities are strongly encouraged to deny any donations from alumni that do not agree or adhere to this list of requirements.  

If any sorority does not agree with any one point within this list of demands, they must provide thorough reasoning and explanation as to why, in addition to providing an alternative solution.  

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––  

Petition for Diversity and Anti-Racism in UGA’s Interfraternity Council

Petition for Change 

To the Interfraternity Council at UGA,

On June 2, 2020, IFC posted a black square on Instagram signifying that you stand in solidarity with the Black community and the Black Lives Matter movement. The caption was a call to action for your followers: “Listen, question, act”. While the intention may be there, until the issues of racism and discrimination are addressed in IFC organizations, your “solidarity” seems empty and meaningless. 

We would like to give you a chance to honor that sentiment, by using your very own call to action. Listen. Question. Act. Starting on June 6, 2020, we began collecting anonymous testimonies through a Google Form. We have included a few excerpts below. Please take it upon yourself to read them all at www.pledgeagainstracism.com It’s time to have a difficult and transparent conversation about the disturbing racist history of IFC organizations. It’s time to offer reparations and reform your system to create a more accepting and humane environment. And it’s time for you to hold your men accountable for their actions. 

Listen 

Pledge Against Racism holds over 100 testimonials of racism and discrimination in UGA IFC and Panhellenic organizations.

Testimony 1

“I noticed our lack of POC members immediately, save for one non-active but present brother, and that always stuck out to me. But it’s Georgia. I remember telling myself, “at least it’s not the KA house, with their Confederate flag on the main floor wall.” I remember washing the truth away, temporarily. At least they were fine with my best friend (a POC) hanging out, playing music. Until one parents weekend, that is, when our then President informed me that if my friend wanted to come over that weekend, I would have to let him up through the back door and snuck up the side stairwell. “No parents can see him, I know dude I know. Fucked up, right? You know how it is.”

I remember being so taken aback that I didn’t even answer him, choosing instead to walk back to my room and smoke a cigarette(s) out the window. I did as they asked. My friend, if suspicious of the new system, did me a courtesy I didn’t deserve by not confronting me on it. 

I did not sleep well that week, needless to say. 

I came clean to my brother, my REAL brother, what I’d been instructed to do that previous weekend. His lack of surprise was the most deafening silence I’d experienced to that day. 

It’s a silent beast, systemic racism. The guys were all about using the n-word with the hard ‘r’ in a white-washed frat party, seemingly all in jest, with the right angle of avoidance. But when Jarvis Jones came through, it was all warm welcomes and how ya doin my guy. The two faced tango was a magic trick, a hypnosis of normalcy so strong that you barely notice the whiplash. 

I left the chapter. I left the lifestyle. I’ve been trying to forgive my negligence, or worse- willful ignorance, ever since.” –Ex-Pi Kappa Alpha member, 2010’s era. 

Testimony 2

“I am in a fraternity and I have both complied and become a part of many racist jokes where the punch line ends in someone using the n word; the time is over. I have seen countless white boys and men try and use their historical prevalence or money to overpower people, I joined Greek life looking for a family and friends not looking for a group of people who are complacent to the status quote of systemic racism and who actively participate and continue it.”

Testimony 3

“Hearing the “N” word thrown around by every fraternity boy like it was remotely acceptable and listening to a room get quiet when I walk into social events and even being asked to leave the social bar downtown because ‘of dress code’ - Although Greek life at UGA gave me a great sorority and a great group of friends my initial experience was hate, and insecurity and an environment where I felt I had to hate who I was and what I looked like to be accepted and like.” 

Testimony 4

“Just finished my freshman year at UGA! I'm a POC sorority woman at the University of Georgia and overall my experience at UGA has been amazing. I was nervous to join Greek Life because it was predominately white. Personally I've never faced racism in a frat or sorority house. However, at the beginning semester I witnessed something I could not believe at a frat party. It was supposed to be an open party. Sometime in the night, a group of African American students came to the party and no one was bothered by them. Everyone was having a good time. Suddenly the group of African American students began to leave all at once. Later in the night someone texted in a large UGA student run GroupMe chat and said that the frat had asked all the “black people” to leave. The word “Asked” maybe generous because they were basically told to leave. It angers me that they were told to leave solely based on their skin color.”

Testimony 5

“During my first year in recruitment, our chapter wanted to offer bids to several black men who were rushing. When our recruitment chair shared the plans with our chapter advisor told us that we would lose all of our alumni support and funding if we offered them the bids. He asked, “don’t you think y’all already have enough color?” Referring to several other new pledges that were not white—none of whom were black. We were explicitly told that our chapter would cease to be supported if we offered black men bids to the chapter.”

Our goal in this matter is to open the conversation to how we can move towards a more progressive future. 

Question

  1. In light of the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement, what conversations are you having in IFC for change going forward?
  2. How is IFC planning to recruit more men of color starting this year and continuing in the coming years?
  3. Will you commit to making any act of discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, and sexual orientation against IFC rules and set rigid disciplinary actions for any organization or member found to be practicing discrimination? If not, why?
  4. What are your plans in terms of disciplining IFC members and organizations when they engage in racist activity? 
  5. Are there any scholarships or resources available for BIPOC in IFC? 
  6. Is IFC open to conversations with our group on actionable items to increase diversity training and anti-racism in UGA fraternities?
  7. Have you read through the UGA IFC and Panhellenic testimonies? What are your thoughts on the IFC related testimonies?
  8. Do alumni shame you away from recruiting men of color? If they do, how can we help?
  9. What is the current protocol and process for an IFC member to report a racist or discriminatory act? 
  10. Is IFC open to a more regulated and formal recruitment process that is open to all men seeking to join an IFC fraternity? If not, why?

Act 

We, Pledge Against Racism, and all supporters of this letter call on IFC to make swift and immediate changes. 

Please provide responses to the list of questions by July 15, 2020. 

For us, this is an indicator of your future hopes as an organization. 

Many would argue that racism is at the core of all UGA IFC chapters. After collecting far too many disturbing testimonials, someone could even argue that the only way to eliminate racism in IFC fraternities is by entirely abolishing them, kicking each of you off campus and starting over. The very history of these organizations are racist. For years, IFC chapters have benefited from an oppressive, whitewashed system that you are not addressing. 

But at the same time, there is a hope that not each and every one of you is racist. You’re all somebody’s brother, son and friend. There must be some of you now, feeling the weight of these times, experiencing a sense of guilt or discomfort, who don’t want to continue this narrative. If that’s the case, you have a chance to act now. Prove that you care. Prove that you want to make a difference. Prove that your post about solidarity was genuine — because right now, it feels like a performative act to try and put a bandaid on the years of oppression you have helped perpetuate. Let’s open a conversation and hold people accountable. We want to help guide you. If we can address this history and offer tangible changes, there is a chance at creating a more progressive, accepting environment for future men of IFC.

Sincerely, 

Pledge Against Racism

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Click here to read the testimonials

For questions, please email: pledgeagainstracism@gmail.com

Follow on Instagram for updates