Greeks could help UK inclusivity


Illustration by Ben Wade

Editorial Board

A news report by the Kentucky Kernel showed that UK’s sororities and fraternities — other than the Divine 9 traditionally black Greek organizations — lack minority representation.

The report showed that Greek organizations are diversifying slower than the rest of campus, and there is a need for improvement within fraternities and sororities. 

But with only 8 percent of UK’s population being African-American, and historically black Greek groups being possibly more appealing for minorities, it makes sense that they are few in number in Panhellenic and Interfraternal Council fraternities and sororities. But what about other minorities? 

The percentage of Asians in Greek life has doubled since 2006, going from 1 percent to 2 percent. There is no all-inclusive or historically Asian fraternity on UK’s campus. And there aren’t many sororities serving the Arab or Hispanic women at UK. 

It is the responsibility of our Greeks to become more inclusive and diversify these organizations. However, the heavy hands of responsibility don’t only fall on the shoulders of fraternities and sororities. There is a lack of minority representation in several of UK’s largest organizations and groups. 

Even at the Kentucky Kernel, only two people on editorial staff are minorities. So what does this say about inclusivity on campus? Last semester, two dozen black students brought a list of issues to President Eli Capilouto, and UK administration has addressed diversity issues including concerns about the mural in Memorial Hall. 

Even with these problems addressed, a survey done by the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association showed that a large number of respondents said they do not feel comfortable on campus. But is not feeling involved mainly a race issue? 

There seems to be a bigger factor. It could be that no matter how diverse the campus becomes, certain minorities and majorities don’t consistently interact with each other because they don’t attend the same events. 

Seeing as the Greek community is so important at UK, it would make the most sense for them to take steps to not just diversify their houses, but to work together. 

Why, when there is a “Greek” event on campus, are not all Greeks represented? This isn’t about participation or interest level. This is about working together. It will take every Panhellenic, IFC, UGC, and NPHC group to create an environment that is welcoming. Their influence can help all campus feel more inclusive.

It should be a goal of all students to communicate with someone different from them. College is a learning environment, but no one ever said that learning should only be an academic adventure. We have a rare opportunity on campus to gain cultural knowledge and sensitivity from people who are our peers.

While diverse Greek organizations are vital to the success of their students, it isn’t as important as communication between all fraternities and sororities. From mixed events, encouraging support through crossover attendance, and reaching out to all corners of the university, Greek organizations have the power to change UK.

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