Greek chapters still working on unity

Ariel Anderson, Contributing Writer

Though individual Greek chapters strive for unity, some say there is still work to be done when bringing Greek life together as a whole.

Currently at Eastern, there are six National Pan-Hellenic fraternities and sororities, which are historically black.

There are nine Panhellenic sororities and 10 Interfraternity Council fraternities, which are predominantly white.

Darien Ghostone, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, said society associates certain labels to different groups which opposing groups may not want to be associated with, causing gaps and division.

During a function held by Zeta Phi Beta at an off-campus bar, The Penalty Box, an incident occurred that made the division more clear to some.

Yolanda Williams, on-campus adviser for Zeta Phi Beta, said when during the course of the party, a man in the IFC referred to the NPHC houses as “little Africa.”

Nathan Wehr, interim director of fraternity and sorority programs, said the situation is under investigation.

“It was brought to our attention and we are working on bringing an effective solution to the incident and awareness to what happened,” he said.

Hillary Fuller, president of Zeta Phi Beta, said the problem is not that white Greeks and black Greeks are different. “The problem lies in an inability to want to be educated on those things which make us different,” she said.

James Carlson, a member of Pi Kappa Alpha, which is part of the IFC, said he is not very familiar with the NPHC chapters on campus because he has not been educated on them.

“I feel like if there wasn’t such a big gap between us, it would be easier to understand each other,” Carlson said. “Greek life isn’t meant to be divided; it’s meant to unite us.”

Darien Ghostone, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha said it is clear that certain groups receive more privilege.

“Simply look at Greek court and the differences in housing for IFC and PHC compared to NPHC,” Ghostone said.

According to a map found on the webpage for Greek Life, 14 of the 19 PHC and IFC chapters have their own houses in Greek court.

Three of the six NPHC chapters share one house in Greek court, divided into separate living quarters, but in one building.

Williams said when Greek Court first opened, she remembers when they put the NPHC houses in the back and other fraternities and sororities referred to it as “the plantation.” “This didn’t change, the wording just changed. It became quiet, now it’s up again. I often wonder after hearing things like this, after the election, is this part of that?” Williams said.

Ghostone said the PHC and IFC do not know much about the NPHC, and vice versa.

However, he said no one is obligated to know about each other.

“The main thing is respect. Respect our work and we will do the same,” Ghostone said.

Fuller said the NPHC fraternities and sororities struggle to be noticed, normalized and respected.

She said the solution lies with all of Greek life.

“We can take it upon ourselves to learn and teach that black Greeks offer more than parties, stepping and strolling. We are scholars who have joined these organizations in the hopes to better ourselves and the community around us,” Fuller said. “This should not be forgotten and should be given a place amongst that of this university.”

Williams said Eastern has a lot of work to do.

“We are more reactive rather than proactive and that is a problem. We will only act on a situation if something happens and we have to react to it,” Williams said.

She said the university as a whole needs to prepare for a more diverse world.

Ariel Anderson can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]

Correction: This story has been edited to reflect the fact that the man who made the “Little Africa” comment was not white and that the comment was made during the party. The News regrets the error.