IFC Strives for Inclusive Community

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The Dickinson Interfraternity Council (IFC) has adopted an inclusivity statement as an attempt to encourage diverse recruitment and increase transparency in its upcoming rush cycle.

The statement, which was approved by the IFC on Monday, Jan. 27, says that the council “strives to recruit any and all potential new members on an inclusive and non-discriminatory basis” based on the College non-discrimination process.

According to current IFC president Riley Dickson ’15, the idea for an inclusivity statement was conceived during the Fall 2013 semester under then-president Grayson Miller ’14. Miller also credits Dan Confer, assistant director of Campus Life, with encouraging the IFC to adopt such a statement.

“When I got into office as IFC president last semester, Dan Confer sent me a statement that [the PanHellenic council at] Colgate was doing there and said I might consider doing this, so I brought it to the other presidents of fraternities. The ball really started rolling as we [decided] we wanted to show the community what we wanted in potential members.”

Dickson wrote the final statement, and received input throughout the drafting process from Brian Patchkoski, director of the Office of LGBTQ Services.
Parties involved in the statement were in consensus that it was not a response to any one event or criticism, but, as Dickson called it, a “precautionary measure” to increase transparency among the Greek community.

“Greek life has gotten a lot of flak about how we are not transparent enough when we seek members,” said Miller. “It’s not unfounded, but we’ve taken many strides to show what we want.”

“It’s my hope that the larger Dickinson community sees this commitment to inclusivity as positive and genuine,” said Confer. “IFC isn’t doing this to be politically correct; they’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do, they have progressive leadership who wants to engage in serious issues like this, and they want to affirm that their values are congruent with the larger Dickinson community’s values.”

Dickson says that the statement will be circulated on social media and discussed with potential new members at informational sessions leading up to the rush process. He and others hope that the statement will achieve its goal of making diverse members of campus find an inclusive community in the Greek organizations.

“I think this will create more diversity in our rush [class],” said Dickson.

“The outreach by IFC and the thought process behind revisiting the statement has been thorough, with the intention to challenge misrepresentations of both fraternity and sorority life on campus,” said Patchkoski. “While developing the statement, I believe IFC has worked to ensure that all of its current members feel included and ‘welcome’ in their organizations and I believe the newly revised statement is taking inclusion to a broader level. I have challenged the group to continue to think about how to now take this statement and make it part of the larger tapestry of community here at Dickinson. I believe there are some wonderful opportunities that the IFC is planning for its current and prospective members – which I believe will contribute to the larger work of creating a Dickinsonian fraternity and sorority identity welcome and open to all.”

President Roseman also sees the benefit and potential that the statement brings.

“Anything that would promote inclusivity is extremely important, and basically says that any Dickinsonian can and should have access to any part of Dickinson,” said Roseman. “A lot of Greek Life leaders have expressed to me how heterogeneous their groups are, and I think it’s something they’re very proud of.”