Fraternity Park Dr.

Fraternity Park Drive sign on campus taken Sept. 20, 2020.

This past week, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) passed a new plan regarding the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) of chapters and members throughout recruitment and beyond.

The initiative’s main goal is to commit to the pursuit of equity through internal, external and community engagement, along with fostering thought-provoking dialogue to further educate members. This way, members will be inspired to make a change within the council.

Senior Michael Rodriguez, the first-ever IFC vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, spoke to the importance of introducing the role he currently holds and the new plan.

“This is the first year that we have had this role on council. The IFC President created it because it’s been a long time coming for a position like this,” Rodriguez said. “There’s been a lot of laying the foundation and framework, which led us to putting this DEI commitment plan together.”

IFC’s President, senior Will Rice, explained what inspired the idea behind the initiative.

“We adopted our DEI initiative in accordance with NIC (National Interfraternity Council) which serves as our national governing body similar to a national headquarters for an individual chapter,” Rice said.

“The intention behind DEI work is to help our community be culturally competent members and leaders of society.”

While the initiative starts with interactions within the council, the collaboration of many different communities on campus is needed for the plan to be successful.

“The plan is basically us laying down 10 different action items that we are focusing on,” Rodriguez said.

“It ranges from recruitment to scholarship to education and cross-council collaborations, working closely with our other three sister councils, NPHC, National Panhellenic Multicultural Greek Council and then the Panhellenic Council.”

The 10 action items combine to create one whole basis that IFC hopes to follow for the years to come, expanding the horizons of how recruitment and membership should play out.

A few of the action items include an annual bylaw review, educational programming, the creation of a diversity committee, inclusive recruitment practices and many more.

One of the action items includes an Intervention and Education Policy. This pillar implements a policy against bias and discrimination. It states that if a member of the council is named in a discrimination report, and the action took place during a chapter event, IFC will require an intervention education session to prevent repeat situations and to enlighten for the future.

“Coming into school being involved in different organizations I saw what mattering and belonging really did for organizations that focused on it,” Rodriguez said.

“Of course in the events of last summer, with George Floyd, Brianna Taylor and the global health crisis we experienced, we saw so many inequities in our world. Coming into this position and recognizing that the past of our council hasn’t really focused on diversity or inclusion like it should.”

With the initiative in its first beginning steps, IFC hopes to see it continue throughout the years and to witness improvement throughout all chapters and the Greek community.

“Overall, we are extremely excited to see the plan implemented after months of work and are even more excited to see the long-term effect it has on our council and the surrounding university community,” Rice said.

More information about the new initiative and the diversity, equity and inclusion work within the Interfraternity Council can be found on utifc.org.

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