The University of Georgia Greek life Instagram page announced a new committee on diversity, equity and inclusion on July 13. The committee, formed on June 10, aims to “understand and acknowledge the history of fraternity and sorority life” and to “develop a vision moving forward.”
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This student-drafted and led Committee will conduct its important work in a transparent fashion, welcoming and engaging with suggestions from members of the Greek Life community as well as the University community-at-large. Further information on the Committee and updates will be provided here: https://greeklife.uga.edu/content_page/diversity-equity-inclusion-initiatives-content-page
The first part of the committee’s mission involves acknowledging and examining Greek life “in the past and present.” The mission will be executed using three key components, according to a statement from UGA Greek life director Joshua Welch.
The announcement comes amid local and national scrutiny toward Greek life. The Instagram account “Pledge Against Racism” aims to hold UGA Greek life accountable by sharing racist experiences within fraternity and sorority life with its followers.
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👏Thank you @goodmorningamerica for shining a light on racism and discrimination in greek life, especially at @universityofga and in @ugagreeklife / @ugapanhellenic / @ugaifc UGA students and alum, stand with us! Submit your experience to UGA using the NDAH form (link in our profile). Thank you everyone for your continual support!
The Instagram account gained national attention with a July 15 Good Morning America article. The article discusses Kyla Brinkley, a UGA alumna and a former member of Alpha Gamma Delta. She dropped out of her sorority within 16 months after experiencing “multiple racist incidents,” according to the article.
175 people have submitted anonymous testimonies about experiences with racism in Greek life, according to the Pledge Against Racism website.
The first part of the committee’s mission says it will “investigate and understand acts of discriminatory behavior within fraternities and sororities” at UGA, will research policies “that have perpetuated injustice” and will “collect and analyze historical demographic statistics” on each Greek council. These councils include the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Multicultural Greek Council.
The second part of the statement said the committee will aim to understand current demographics in Greek life. The committee will review demographic statistics of all Greek life councils “to better the experience of individual members moving forward,” according to the statement.
The committee will also work to hear and address the concerns of current members, non-Greek students, alumni, faculty and staff according to the statement. The exact “tactics of this engagement have yet to be determined,” Welch said in an email.
The third part of the statement involves developing a diversity, equity and inclusion vision for Greek life at UGA. According to the statement, this includes creating “educational tools for all chapter leaders, members, alumni and volunteers to understand and recognize racism and discrimination within our community.”
The committee will seek feedback on objectives from within the Greek life community in an effort to create an inclusive environment and establish a framework “to hold Councils, chapter organizations, and individual members accountable.”
The Greek life website states that the committee will work in a “transparent fashion.” The four council presidents and the executive director of UGA Miracle, which is a fundraising organization in the Greek life office, will provide updates of the committee’s work to be shared with chapter delegates, Welch said in an email.
Updates will also be posted on the committee’s page on the Greek life website.
Welch said that he hopes this committee produces “a strong Greek Community that celebrates its diverse membership and creates opportunities for any student interested in a Greek experience at the University of Georgia to have it.”