One of the most sensitive — and most important — issues facing our university community is how gay and lesbian individuals are treated in the Greek system. Over the last five years, a trickle of complaints regarding this matter has become a steady flow. The issue was highlighted in a letter sent to the Daily Trojan last spring, when the writer, who had been rejected from a house during the rush process, lamented the “palpable” anti-gay sentiment in fraternities.
Last week, the gay and Greek communities had a great opportunity to begin an honest dialogue about how gays are treated in fraternities and sororities, and what the GLBT community can do to better voice its own concerns. The campus GLBT association hosted a panel so students could speak openly about their experiences. For both sides, it seemed the perfect chance.
But they missed it.
The panel’s organizers made, at best, a half-hearted effort to include the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic in their discussion. No one from those councils was asked to sit on the panel, and it was held on a Monday night, the same night fraternities and sororities schedule much of their mandatory house events; predictably, Greek turnout at the discussion was low.
It’s easy to talk about this problem. What’s tough is coming together to generate real solutions for the people this issue affects most.
It’s time for both the Greek and gay communities to get serious about how gays are treated in the Greek system — they can no longer pretend that there is no issue. Bureaucracies like IFC or Panhellenic often delegate, or wait for the next person to take a stand. But we hope the presidents of both those organizations will recognize their obligation to act. They shouldn’t be in it alone: We hope fraternity and sorority houses will follow the lead of Delta Delta Delta, which tonight is hosting a panel of its own on the issue.
Most of all, it’s time for GLBT students to make a more serious effort to reach out to the Greek community.
Because if they don’t, who will?