On July 20, an NC State student created an Instagram account known as @abolishncsuifcandpanhel. The account’s purpose is to highlight issues within predominantly white Greek life. Within a few months, the account has gained 1,500 followers. This account is a reflection of a growing movement calling for the abolition of white Greek life.
The Nubian Message was able to sit down with the creator of the account to learn more about the movement. For the safety of the student(s), the identities of anyone involved will not be disclosed.
NM: What initially moved you to create the account?
Abolish Greek Life (AGL): I was motivated to create the account by the pre-existing accounts at universities across the nation, specifically at Duke and UNC Chapel Hill.
NM: What, in your opinion, are some of the most pressing issues within white Greek life?
AGL: There’s a list of them that I have. [My] abbreviated list is: racism, classism, rape culture, binge drinking culture, queerphobia, ableism, student safety (including Covid). Some people try to invalidate this movement because these are issues that exist in all of society outside of Greek life. But there is strong, repetitive evidence that the existence of Predominantly White Greek Life (PWGL) exacerbates these problems. For example, fraternity men are 300% more likely to commit sexual assault, a statistic that has been confirmed by multiple, separate studies and women in sororities are 74% more likely to experience rape than other college women.
NM: Are you working alone or is this a group organization?
AGL: I am currently working with 5 other undergraduate NCSU students.
NM: Why do you think the abolish Greek life movement has gained so much traction in the past few months?
AGL: The movement began at few grassroots universities who got their following from accounts that were sharing sexual assault survivor stories accounts like @dearpwi (@dearncsu is NC State’s). I grew increasingly irritated at the discrimination and lack of action. Also, people [have] been holding more organizations accountable for being performative and not making substantial change within their organization.
NM: How has the reception been? Is it positive? Negative? Both?
AGL: Reception has been mixed. Interactions with our posts grow increasingly negative when specific Predominantly White Greek Life Organizations (PWGLOs), people in them, and photographic evidence are shared. This is understandable, but it is also important to note that sharing more specific proof forces organizations and people to be held accountable. I will also say that the vast majority of people who are against this movement are in PWGLOs and it appears that the majority of people who aren’t in PWGL support the movement. It’s important to question the reasons why people of color (POC), queer people, people with disabilities, and people at lower socioeconomic statuses are less likely to want to get involved with PWGL.
NM: Do negative comments deter you from wanting to continue with the movement?
AGL: No, I think they do the opposite for me. They prove how scared privileged people act when their privilege gets challenged and how hard they work to keep those systems in place that keep them in power at the expense [of] others.
NM: What are your thoughts on the many Covid clusters within NC State’s Greek life?
AGL: There have been numerous accounts of members of PWGL life partying and actively disregarding Covid guidelines. Not all from partying but also choosing to go out to eat inside restaurants and otherwise not Covid-safe. I think those members of PWGL have been irresponsible and are to blame for the high numbers in their chapter and putting fellow NC State students at risk. There is also a reason why there are no clusters in NPHC (National Pan-Hellenic Council) or Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) Greek life at NC State. There was that Policy Watch article that came out before class even started that the house mother at [Delta Kappa Epsilon] DKE at UNC quit because the DKE members refused to stop partying.
NM: Have you been in contact with other abolish Greek life movements?
AGL: Yes, we have been [in] a group chat for the coalition of all abolish PWGL groups that exist in universities in this country.
NM: Do you find the work you’re doing to be rewarding?
AGL: Yes. I think a lot of people have wanted to make actual change after George Floyd’s death. To me, this movement is a way to help all POC who have been harmed by predominantly white Greek life. And obviously it’s not just POC but also queer people, people with lower socioeconomic statuses, people with disabilities, and people who are victims of sexual assault, sexism, and rigid gender roles.
NM: Do you have any future plans that involve discussions with the NC State administration?
AGL: Our main focus in the past few weeks has been asking university administration and the office of Fraternity & Sorority Life to move recruitment online and hold predominantly white Greek life accountable for increasing the spread of Covid-19 on our campus. With Panhellenic recruitment and all classes moved online, our goal has mostly been met. Now that that is mostly taken care of, we can focus on our long-term, ultimate goal of abolition. We plan to do this in multiple ways. We will create a petition detailing how the existence of PWGL on NC State’s campus goes against our values of inclusivity and respect and grow the movement at our school to include more students, faculty, and staff.