Disband Interfraternity and Panhellenic Greek Organizations at the University of Richmond

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As members of the University of Richmond Community, we are calling for the UR administration to abolish the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Greek Life Organizations on our campus.

We stand in solidarity with the brave students who have spoken out against their abusers in IFCPF, despite repeated failures to act by the University of Richmond. Some of these stories have been highlighted on the instagram page @abolishrichmondgreeklife. After reflecting on student narratives and information from @blackatrichmond, @dearrichmond, @dearpwi, and @abolishvandyifcandpanhellenic among many other accounts, we cannot in good faith claim to fight for the dismantling of institutions that perpetuate racial and gendered violence while allowing white greek life on our campus. Remaining in these organizations help perpetuate harm in our campus community at large. We cannot remain complicit.

We condemn the exclusive environment sanctioned by IFCPH organizations that continues to protect and uphold discriminatory, harmful, and elitist practices. Not only do these organizations have classist cost-barriers to entry, but they also accumulate a predominantly white, able-bodied, and cis-hetero demographic. All historically white fraternities and sororities are institutions ingrained with white supremacy, racism, misogyny, patriarchy, classism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and sexual violence - which is why all greek organizations must be abolished. 

We are calling upon all members of the Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council greek organizations to disaffiliate and disband their chapters. Even with diverse campuses, Greek institutions maintain the authority to segregate privilege and power based on socioeconomic thresholds. Past patterns of segregation, legacy, and elitism suggest the unchecked Greek community will continue as a bastion of classism and racism.

We acknowledge that the existence of structural racism, misogyny, classism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and sexual assault will not be eradicated by the abolition of IFCPH organizations. However, the IFCPH system has played a unique role in exacerbating these issues on our campus and must be abolished in order to both break this cycle and begin repairing the harm done to the University of Richmond community. We acknowledge the students who have found community in IFCPH organizations. However, we also acknowledge that for every positive experience there are plentiful negative experiences of survivors and marginalized students that have been minimized and overlooked due to the privilege and complicitness of the University of Richmond’s Greek organization leaders and members. Our campus will never be safe or inclusive until every single student feels safe and included regardless of their identity or socioeconomic status. Abolishing IFCPH Greek life is the only way to begin repairing the harm caused by generations of social injustice. 


Demands:

  1. The University of Richmond places a permanent ban on all future Interfraternity and Panhellenic Organization recruitment cycles, which will effectively abolish their affiliated organizations in three years. No new IFCPH chapters will be allowed on campus, permanently.
  2. Physical and financial resources given to IFCPH organizations are reallocated to those who were previously excluded from and harmed by IFCPH organizations and members (ex. organizations run by BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and other marginalized individuals). This includes the repurposing of on-campus Panhellenic Cottages and Interfraternity Lodges so that they may serve as spaces to support and uplift the aforementioned groups.
  3. The University of Richmond prevents the formation of future socially-oriented/exclusive organizations that uphold and perpetuate the same systemic inequities as IFCPH Greek Life. 
  4. We demand that the Vice President of the University of Richmond Board of Directors, Craig Flinn, is denounced for his ignorance and shameful disregard for our students’ wellbeing. In several comments and direct messages on the @abolishrichmondgreeklife page, Flinn claims the stories of Richmond students to be “bullshit,” “juvenile” and to have “no merit.” We support the brave students of the University of Richmond who came forward with their tragic stories regarding IFCPH organizations. Flinn’s commentary shows blatant disregard for Richmond students, specifically those who have been assaulted or marginalized. We have no room for this form of hatred in the Richmond community.
  5. The Center for Student Involvement is subject to increased accountability and oversight. In an anonymous submission to @abolishrichmondgreeklife, a student worker at a CSI claims a CSI administrator as “the most belittling, insulting, and unprofessional boss,” citing her bullying of POC coworkers. The same submission detailed how another CSI administrator turned a blind eye to the disgusting video released by Theta Chi in February 2020 which made sport of recording and objectifying girls at their parties without their consent. While the Center for Student Involvement is designed to benefit the student body, it cannot do so if it does not take the claims of students seriously and thoroughly investigate claims of racism, sexism, and classism within the University of Richmond faculty. We demand that CSI be held to a much higher standard.

At this point in time, hundreds of University of Richmond students have considered disaffiliation from their Greek Organizations, based on the demographics survey facilitated by @abolishrichmondgreeklife. Many have already begun or completed the process of disaffiliation.

“Reform is not possible because the old-line, historically white social fraternities have been synonymous with risk-taking and defiance from their very inception. They are a brotherhood born in mutiny and forged in the fire of rebellion. These fraternities have drink, danger and debauchery in their blood — right alongside secrecy and self-protection.” - Lisa Wade