The Undergraduate Student Government discussed USC Panhellenic Council’s reform plans during Tuesday’s Senate meeting, which include the council’s desire to improve diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and implement mandatory microaggression and implicit bias training for Greek life members. Representatives from the council pointed out that future reforms will need to be made to change Greek life.
Current Vice President of Community Relations and incoming President of Panhellenic Council Indu Gaddamadugu said Panhellenic’s reform plans look to establish transparency in Greek life and improve conditions, such as the recruitment process, for all students through reporting mechanisms such as Title IX.
With Panhellenic members recently completing a community climate survey to identify bias and discuss chapter history and areas of needed growth in Greek life, the organization also looks to require mandatory leadership training and consultations with incoming executive board officers, Gaddamadugu said.
“We are mandating recruitment counselors to go through microaggression and implicit bias training as well as counseling, training on how to have difficult discussions with potential new members, and just establishing transparency between them and new members,” Gaddamadugu said. “In terms of internal education, we’ve been really focusing on this in the past few months.”
Recruitment fees also intend to be reduced during Spring 2021 Recruitment — with fees previously ranging between $80 and $120 to now $10 — to remove financial barriers of entry to the Greek community, Gaddamadugu said.
Sen. Max Gomez questioned council representatives if they would be willing to listen to student input regarding Greek life, particularly as calls to abolish the system have surged at USC and across the country from individuals and groups, including @abolishgreekusc on Instagram.
The account surfaced over the summer alongside Black Lives Matter protests and anonymous submissions posted on @black_at_usc, with @abolishgreekusc also reiterating the normalization of “sexual assault, white supremacist ideals, and gender or sexuality-based discrimination” within Greek life. @abolishgreekusc has since shared anonymous stories of students previously involved in Greek life who have been excluded and systemically disadvantaged by the system.
“There’s the model of reform versus abolition of the system, and they made it very clear that they’re interested in reform, and they’ve directed a great effort and energy towards that which I applaud,” Gomez said in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “But I think a lot of people would like to see it taken a step further.”
The Senate also voted on resolutions introduced in last week’s meeting, such as the Resolution in Support of BIPOC Students — with Sen. Lennon Wesley III amending the name to be “Black, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, Indigenous and all other students of color” — and the Textbook Information Resolution. Committee Chair on Academic Affairs Katelyn Lee also made an amendment to her resolution, which involved adding the Academic Culture Assembly as a supporter to the initiative. Both resolutions passed unanimously.
During the meeting, the Senate confirmed appointments for Romir Karnick and Irene Fu as director and assistant director of Performing and Visual Arts, Cultural, and Startup Funds, respectively. The Senate also entered into talks surrounding the International Student Assembly Leadership transition, with plans to pass the co-executive and assistant director positions to Rui Daniel, Andy Song and Natasha Harianto. The three students are set to be confirmed at next week’s meeting.
Sen. Jack Rasmussen also asked for USG to consider reviewing a circulating petition to move the pass/no pass policy to allow for grade changes until the end of finals week.