Staff Editorial: IFC immediate reform plan falls short of its stated purpose
The University administration needs to get more involved in accountability measures
Editor’s note: Various members of The Eagle’s staff are involved in, or recently disaffiliated from, social Greek life. None of those students participated in the editorializing, writing or editing of this editorial.
The Interfraternity Council’s recently published immediate plan to become more equitable and inclusive comes months after allegations of sexual assault and racism resulted in a reckoning for social Greek life over the course of summer 2020. Despite having months to prepare a response designed with “new accountability measures,” the IFC failed to show a genuine desire for reform. Arguably, the only thing this plan did was add to the merits of discussing the abolition of historically predominantly-white social Greek life.
The events that occurred during summer 2020 revealed the failures that many already knew existed within social Greek life to the whole AU community. Students demanded change, and now, months after that demand was made, the IFC immediate reform plan falls short of any attempts to truly address the systems in historically predominantly-white social Greek life that protect sexual assault and exclusionary behavior. The IFC has the responsibility to step in and actively take control of these institutions if any attempts toward progress are to be made. These Greek chapters are run by college students. They need more oversight to ensure accountability when complaints arise.
The IFC president expressed a desire to “create an accountability system with AU’s Health Promotion and Advocacy Center, as well as a DEI committee,” The Eagle reported. What will this system look like? Who is this DEI committee for and what does it aim to do? The lack of any specifics here underlines the failures of this plan as true reform and reeks of an organization wanting to pacify those demanding accountability. With no apparent steps being taken toward dismantling a culture that sweeps sexual assault under the rug, the need for an authoritative body to get involved is clear. The systems supporting predominantly-white social Greek life run so deep that it is difficult to reform them with any success. How can an organization being held accountable for the culture it perpetuates truly examine itself with enough objectivity to create real change? The likely answer is that it can’t. Because of this, the University must take steps to address the harm these Greek institutions so clearly cause.
Last summer, a wave of students disaffiliated from Greek life. When the stakes are this high, members of dangerous institutions should not be left to resolve problems with their own system. The University should hold these organizations accountable, not only because students previously a part of those organizations are asking for it, but also because they cause real physical and mental harm. Instead of keeping the responsibility on students to disaffiliate and disband chapters, the University needs to take action and put in place real consequences.
The Eagle Editorial Board largely supports abolishing predominantly-white social Greek life at AU, but remains split. The reforms proposed by the IFC clearly do not go far enough to address the egregious issues raised last summer.