Last Monday, representatives of Wesleyan University’s eight registered Greek societies gathered in the first official meeting of the Inter-Greek Council (IGC). The council seeks to coordinate the activities of Alpha Beta Sigma, Alpha Delta Phi, Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), Beta Theta Pi (Beta), Delta Kappa Epsilon, Eclectic, Rho Epsilon Pi (Rho Ep), and Psi Upsilon (Psi U), and to give a more prominent voice for campus Greek Life.
While the IGC is still in the early stages of development, Lucy Finn ’14, a member of the Rho Ep sorority, and Gideon Levy ’13, president of Alpha Psi Chapter of AEPi, have taken lead roles in the council. They said they expect that its activities may range from planning activities and service opportunities and, following in the model of similar organizations at other universities, determining punishments or sanctions for member organizations that violate University policy.
“We obviously have no authority or sway yet,” Finn said. “[Determining disciplinary action] is a possibility in the future but not at the moment.”
Levy wrote that the idea to formally strengthen inter-Greek relations began percolating in the wake of the controversy surrounding Beta’s housing status last spring, when the administration reached out to some of the Greek societies on campus.
“It’s speculation on my part, but I believe the way the situation with Beta unfolded made the administration feel a little disconnected from the Greek organizations on campus so they started to reach out to us in an official capacity,” Levy wrote in an email to The Argus.
Director of Public Safety (PSafe) Dave Meyer said that he remembered another inter-Greek council existed in the past when there were more Greek societies on campus, but that this reincarnation could be useful in continuing the dialogue with the administration.
“It seems like the reason they want to do this is for organization and programming,” he said. “It’s a way to communicate with the administration, but we’re not really actively involved in this and they’re doing it on their own.”
Dean of Students Richard Culliton agreed that the group should facilitate communication between the administration and students involved in Greek life.
“Along with other staff, I met with several Greek student leaders in the fall,” he wrote in an email to The Argus. “We had discussed meeting with [those leaders] on an ongoing basis to ensure that lines of communication remain open.”
Finn indicated that Culliton had encouraged her and other fraternity and sorority representatives to form the IGC in order to demonstrate to the administration that they are a unified and positive force on campus.
She also noted a lack of understanding between members of Greek societies and the University administration and lamented what she saw as a generally negative view of Rho Ep.
“We started Rho Ep without anybody’s help, and with a lot of hatred from campus [and] from the administration,” Finn said. “People have a very visceral reaction to the idea of a sorority.”
Levy also said that he hopes the IGC will address the image of Greek life at Wesleyan.
“We want everyone, administrators and students alike, to perceive our organizations in a much more positive light,” Levy wrote. “We will also be collaborating more to make our efforts in all areas, social included, to be more beneficial for the Wesleyan community.”
Aside from addressing the relationship between the administration and the fraternities, Finn also hopes that the IGC will increase communication between Greek societies.
“I feel like it’s very segmented. Everyone has a reputation and people don’t see eye-to-eye,” she said. “The truth is we all share common causes and we shouldn’t be pitted against each other.”
Finn explained that the Beta controversy was only part of the reason that drove the creation of the IGC. She noted that Psi U, for example, hopes to be able to change fire codes that prohibit its entire chapter from being inside its house.
“There’s little things like that that we wish we could change,” Finn said. “The point of [the IGC] is basically to increase organization in Greek life. I feel like a lot of times when things happen to the organizations on campus, it’s a one-on-one-battle, like AEPi wants a house, and they’re all alone in that.”
Pending formal recognition as a student group, representatives of campus fraternities and sororities will continue to meet monthly to discuss and shape the form of the IGC.
“In the spring we will be holding an open forum on Greek life at Wesleyan, we really want everyone to engage with our groups in capacities outside of partying,” Levy wrote. “Other than that, we’re really just getting started, and I imagine by the end of spring semester we’ll have some real concrete goals in mind.”