Lecturer to speak of greek community discrimination history


Photo courtesy of Sandy Velasque

Lambda Theta Nu is one of the multicultural greek organizations on campus.

Ryan Anderson

Iowa State is the next stop for a lecturer discussing the history of African-American fraternities and sororities.

Lawrence Ross, established author of “The Divine Nine” will be coming to campus to discuss his new book. The National Pan-Hellenic Council is commonly referred to as the Divine Nine.

“The first part of the speech is about the formation of African-American fraternities and sororities and the history behind that, but it actually transitions to the broader scope of fraternalism on college campuses,”  Ross said.

Ross is an alumnus of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first African-American fraternity.

The greek community on campus consists of 56 fraternities and sororities with only nine being multicultural chapters. The National Pan-Hellenic Council is home to those nine multicultural fraternities and sororities on-campus.

“We are a smaller council here on campus, a lot smaller than the [Interfraternity Council] and [Collegiate Panhellenic Council],” said Alex Bennett, junior in psychology and treasurer of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

Ross is a graduate from UCLA with a master in fine arts. He has written five other books. “The Divine Nine” is the only book he has written about African-American fraternalism.

Iowa State is one of many colleges that Ross has been lecturing at; he has visited more than 400 campuses.

“I would like students to get a greater understanding of African-American fraternities and sororities; a lot of the councils don’t particularly know anything about the other councils,” Ross said.

Ross will speak about topics ranging from pledging and hazing, the responsibilities of chapter, and the history of African-American fraternities and sororities. He wants to influence the way that the general population looks at fraternities and sororities.

“I want people to look at fraternities and sororities’ positives. The fraternity or sorority you join is a great potential for personal growth as a student and in giving back to the community, which is something that I think needs to be reinforced,” Ross said.

Ross is an activist toward bringing students to greek communities, specifically multicultural chapters. He said that a greek community is the place to go if you ever want to find diversity on a college campus.

“One of the misconceptions of fraternity and sorority life is that all of the people in the organizations are all the same, which could not be less true,” Ross said.

Ross encourages students to give multicultural chapters a chance and find out what it has to offer.

“We have been here for a long time. We may be a small group but we want to contribute and be involved on campus,” Bennett said.

Ross said the main point he would like students to take from what he says is to give it all a chance.