Northwestern’s Greek orgs to create diversity, inclusion chairs after cancelled literacy fundraiser

Northwestern’s fraternities and sororities will implement diversity and inclusion chairs as well as hold events with the school’s director of Campus Inclusion.

Two Greek life organizations at Northwestern were scheduled to hold a “Jail-n-Bail” event to raise money for a children’s literacy foundation.

The event was cancelled after students called it racially offensive.

Fraternities and sororities at Northwestern University will now have diversity and inclusion chairs after a number of students expressed outrage over a recent fundraising event.

The incorporation of the new positions is the result of two Greek organizations being forced to cancel a “Jail-n-Bail” event to raise money for a children’s literacy foundation. The event, hosted by Kappa Kappa Gamma and Zeta Beta Tau, would require participants to be “jailed” and “held” in a certain area until they raised enough “bail” money to be released.

Students decried the fundraiser as “inherently offensive” to racial minorities and economically disadvantaged groups.

“It’s silly to have a solution to no problem in the first place,” Ryan Fazio, a Northwestern alumnus told Campus Reform in regards to the diversity and inclusion chairs. “It was clear to the average viewer what Kappa did was in no way offensive.”

Frances Fu, president of Northwestern’s Panhellenic Association (PHA), announced the creation of the diversity and inclusion chairs in a statement on Monday, obtained by The Daily Northwestern. Fu did not respond to a request for comment from Campus Reform and did not specify in her statement when the positions would be implemented.

According to Northwestern’s student newspaper, Fu apologized to the student body on behalf of the Greek system and said PHA’s mission “is to change the culture of Greek life, the culture of Northwestern.”

Fazio, who graduated in 2012 with a degree in economics, served as president of his fraternity. He said the university has dealt with what he calls “melodrama” since he was a student.

“It’s a cultural divide,” he said. “There’s a small group of students interested in making noise and a majority of students who don’t agree but don’t speak up because it’s not in their interests to do so.”

Fazio said that while he personally believes the criminal justice system needs reform—especially when it comes to non-violent drug offenses—Northwestern students should be focused on coming together on nuanced issues as opposed to fighting against a fundraising event that would raise money for a cause that improves upward mobility.

Northwestern has implemented a Department of Campus Inclusion and Community and two years ago, students petitioned for a Diversity Committee.

“Northwestern has already created more levels of bureaucracies at the university, and we still have those melodramas,” Fazio told Campus Reform.

Fu’s statement also said that PHA fraternities and sororities would be hosting speaking events with Northwestern’s director of Campus Inclusion and Community. Fraternities and sororities could also be hosting “sustained dialogues” within each chapter as well as a PHA-wide “sustained dialogue.”

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