In a world of perfection, unified thought and theory, similar traits and qualities would be embodied by all. People would never have to worry about confrontation and disagreement on world issues like politics and other controversial topics that tend to weigh heavily on the strong beliefs of all parties involved within a debate. At a national perspective such topics rear their heads during the election process, like abortion, and gay marriage. At N.C. State, some of the same issues arise, but not as often as social politics, amongst various groups and organizations. Will they ever be resolved or are we forced to believe that life in the “real world” is much like the itemized version of controversial issues we experience right here at school. This article will serve as part of a series that will reflect upon new or unaddressed issues for the remainder of the semester. I will reflect any reported issue to readers to actively engage students within the University dynamic with issues that matter. I seek to stimulate, involve and interact with readers who have a response and would like to rebut the issue or merely report feedback.
N.C. State’s National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), nationally including nine predominately African-American sororities and fraternities, dating back to 1906, have become a hot button topic for some time now. N.C. State only accounts for seven of those groups and only six are active. Some call this council an “elitist” group of individuals who all seek to maintain the goals set by their founding members in an effort to improve societal setbacks through, “service, scholarship and sister/brotherhood.” Also referred to as the “Divine Nine.” These Greeks have a strong family dynamic, which in some cases alienates them from other social/academic groups and/or the friends they embraced before their transition to Greek life. In some cases, friends have been lost, enemies have been created, and barriers were set. I urge people to consider why this cycle continues to repeat itself on this campus. Should the loss of friends remain a common aftermath of maintaining the Greek status quo? Is the real essence of each organization being illustrated by its members at all times, whether socially and on campus or off-campus? Is this group of students held to a higher standard because of the requirements within these organizations or because there is an underlying hierarchical social order for them on campus? This article was inspired by several students who will remain unnamed. In no way was this article written to bash any group or their standards. It was more so written to discuss claims about these groups that exist and to challenge whether or not these groups deserve as much attention as people are giving them. In a number of ways I feel as if it is not just Greek groups that are lacking but all minority groups are lacking in their delivery of the goals of their organizations. Slumping attendee numbers, lackluster programming, and poor regards for other groups and their needs to constantly use campus facilities that were originally created for all campus groups and not just groups that were granted weeks to promote their own agenda. At times during these programs, attendees can expect PowerPoint presentations being read from the screen, repetitive mainstream topics, and unorganized which tend to be a common element of what students will succumb.
To run advertisements that state, “Who goes to classes the first week of school anyway?” on a university campus by a Greek organization, does not sit well with me. Underclassmen that seek to join an organization or those that don’t wish to participate in the recruitment or rush process view statements like these as underlying beliefs of that organization. I highly doubt not attending classes is a message the national organization would actively entertain as an advertising gimmick to attract people to that organization or their event.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Service challenge, sponsored by the Center for Student Leadership Ethics and Public Service or CSLEPS, held its ninth annual MLK Service Challenge Saturday Jan. 24 and there was not one representative of any NPHC organization volunteering even though all of them seek participation in “service” efforts. This was a major disservice to the N.C. State campus, and Dr. King, in that he was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Other non-black Greek organizations were there to represent their strides for service and diversity. Understandably, as a student leader, I know the weeks are long and the weekends tend to grow shorter, but when the NPHC totals 76 members and not one attended the Service Challenge, that was disturbing to say the least. Initially, I thought, since this event is a campus-wide event, maybe some students were rejected participation because of space constraints, however Daniel Shattuck, the Community Service Coordinator (AmeriCorps*VISTA – NCCC) stated that all applying persons were admitted to participate, which totaled 88 students who registered.
In closing, this article produced all factual information that I therefore then formed an opinion in response. Each person, group, and organization should contribute equally to the efforts to maintain diversity, furthering education, and networking among student groups and therefore should all be treated equally. The black population’s campus climate for too long has encouraged students to focus their attention to these groups for reasons that contradict the standards for which they were founded and not the true character of the national organization. Parties, Facebook pictures, and superiority over other groups or individuals should not be the reasons why students should inquire about Greek life, but rather positive examples should be set through service, leadership, and scholastic achievement. I simply ask people to look beyond the facade of the people representing these groups, who may or may not embody the true essence of that group. I ask that you look at the infrastructure in which it was founded and molded by groups and the dynamic people who do strive to uphold the standards of the predominately black Greek organizations. Until the next hot button topic is addressed we live in a world where we all think alike, press for success, aim for the sky and form your own opinion.