Letter: Greek community requires drastic change

This past weekend at the Greek Community’s Vespers Award Ceremony there were instances of disrespect and mockery toward chapters within the Multicultural Greek Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council. This blatant rift within of one of the highest ranked Greek communities in the nation is a setback for every single Greek-affiliated student at Iowa State.

The positive accomplishments of the Greek Community such as the $377,000 raised for the Iowa Special Olympics through Polar Plunge or the higher average academic performance simply do not matter if we cannot create a community that is not only inclusive, but welcoming to people from all backgrounds. 

The five pillars of the Greek community are echoed over and over again throughout Greek Week, so why do we find it so difficult to exemplify these pillars in our daily lives? Our own specific organizations were founded to hold members to a higher standard. Many fraternities and sororities have core values involving personal integrity or honor. As members, we take oaths that we are going to uphold these values and live by these codes for our entire lives. The events of this past weekend made it clear that some members of our community have allowed their values to become compromised. 

The organizations most affected Sunday evening exist due to the historic marginalization of their respective communities. It is not the job of the NPHC and MGC chapters to educate the community about their traditions or the meanings behind them. Ignorance to these practices and their significance is no excuse for the behavior exhibited. A few of the recent reviews on the Iowa State Greek Community Facebook page show that the entire community has lost the respect of many. 

No longer is it acceptable for fraternity men and sorority women to remain sheltered in a bubble. If we are actually dedicated to social justice and friendship as we say we are, then we must instill dramatic change within the members of our chapters and councils. It is imperative that we have those tough conversations with our own brothers and sisters. We have to hold those closest to us accountable when we see instances of discrimination and prejudice.

These issues are not limited to the ISU Greek Community, but as Greeks we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. The events of this weekend should be a call to action to not divide our community further, but to recognize the real problems and issues we are facing in order to work toward realistic resolutions. Uniting our community going forward is not an option, but a necessity.