Panel to examine white, black Greek life

By Wesley Robinson

Members of Alpha Phi Alpha will attempt to change minds tonight with their forum on Greek life at UK.

The forum at 7:30 p.m. at the Center Theater is a part of I.M.P.A.C.T. week by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., a historically black organization. The forum will aim to educate students, faculty and staff on the varying aspects of Greek life, both black and white, while also attempting to break down stereotypes and misconceptions of black and white Greek life and Greek living in general.

I.M.P.A.C.T. stands for “I Made Progress And Change Today,” and the week features events focusing on the theme of change.

“We want to build a foundation for change,” said James Davidson, an integrated strategic communications junior.

Davidson, assistant editor of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. national newspaper, said the forum is an attempt to discuss the relationships within and between Greeks and non-Greeks.

A panel of black and white Greek members, faculty and staff will answer questions about the relationship.

Alan DeSantis, associate professor of communications, and author of “Inside Greek U.: Fraternities, Sororities, and the Pursuit of Pleasure, Power, and Prestige,” will be a member of the panel. The book examines the white Greek system.

DeSantis’ participation on the panel will provide more in-depth knowledge on the topic, said Dwight Lacy, an agriculture and communications sophomore and Alpha Phi Alpha member.  Lacy said he hoped DeSantis will ask educated questions and provide expert information to uninformed audience members.

DeSantis did not confirm his appearance until yesterday and said while he is unaware of what will be discussed in detail, he is looking forward to participating.

Highlighting the differences between white and black sororities and fraternities is a positive way to show why separation in the Greek system is beneficial, DeSantis said.

“A group that celebrates black culture and black history is a great idea,” DeSantis said.

A representative from Phi Delta Theta fraternity and Delta Delta Delta sorority will sit on the panel discussion.

Laura Wesley, a middle school education senior and vice president of Delta Delta Delta, said she is excited about the forum and hopes it is useful in breaking down stereotypes and barriers between black and white organizations.

“We want to promote Greeks getting involved with other Greeks whether it’s white or black, fraternity or sorority,” said Wesley, who will serve as the Delta Delta Delta representative at the forum.

Aun Munis, philanthropy chair for Phi Delta Theta, said he hoped the forum would help clear up misconceptions about the differences between the black and white Greek systems and foster more collaboration between student organizations.

“Along with the differences, we have a lot of similarities, and we should come together,” Munis said.