Greeks discuss their racial divide

By Wesley Robinson

Greek and non-Greek students came together last night to offer solutions to the divisions between white and black Greek organizations.

The Greek Relations Forum in the Center Theater was an informal gathering set up to build relationships between historically black and white Greek organizations, as well as to break down the stereotypes that many non-Greek students have about Greek life.

“The university as a whole is segregated,” said political science sophomore Shenneka Nwachukwu, who is not a member of a Greek organization. “Why not integrate? There isn’t any place in life where you go and its just blacks, just whites, just Indians, just Asians.”

One concern addressed by the panel, made up of Greek students and Greek faculty, was the perception that some campus events, such as K Week and homecoming, cater to the white Greek community and typically do not involve historically black Greek organizations or non-Greek students.

Most of the panel said UK makes little attempt to reach out to black fraternities and sororities, which is a reason they might not be as involved in campus events.

The fact that there are no black Greek houses on campus results in less communication between black Greeks and UK, the panel said.

The panel suggested that the segregation between these groups comes from differing practices of their organizations’ traditions. Alan DeSantis, an associate communications professor who was on the panel, gave an example of black sorority and fraternity members having a lifetime commitment, where whites are more apt to see Greek life as a four-year social scene.

Several members of the audience said the music and activities at these campus events do not attract black students, which results in their organizations forming their own events to involve the black community.

The panel also focused on goals to bridge their differences.

“The major word is dialogue,” said Aun Munis, the Phi Delta Theta philanthropy chair and a biology junior. “The most important thing you learn in college is how to deal with people. Let’s work on the similarities and improving our campus.”

The panel concluded that the commonalities between black and white Greeks are philanthropy, social events, and brother- and sisterhood.

“As a minority you always have to learn about something other than yourself,” said graduate student Jared Williams, an Alpha Phi Alpha member.

The panel and audience agreed that the change must be mutual, not only pursued by one side.

“Don’t expect the institution to make the change,” said Laura Wesley, vice president of Delta Delta Delta sorority and a middle school education senior. “Let’s be Greeks and work together.”