The WPA and IFC communities of Washington University in St. Louis want to make abundantly clear that we cannot, and will not, stand for racial injustice. Our communities exist as ones of exclusionary nature. Rooted in inequity and prejudice, we must never forget the ways in which our institutions have contributed to racism, bigotry, white supremacy, and the maltreatment of marginalized populations and individuals. We openly acknowledge this. We accept the many ways in which our inaction has perpetuated systemic racism. And we understand that the onus to change lies in our hands.
At its core, this statement is reactionary; reactionary to the inequity which runs rampant within our communities; reactionary to a newfound demand for change, in the face of decades of complacency and inaction; and reactionary to the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery—individuals who are only the newest in a long history of those who have fallen victim to violence and police brutality as a result of the color of their skin.
As WPA and IFC communities, we have reached a point at which words are no longer sufficient. Now, more so than ever before, we are devoted to betterment and reform, and to making conversations surrounding race, identity, and belonging ones of convention. Accordingly, we have developed a sequence of joint action items, which we will work to effectuate in as informed and enduringly impactful a manner possible. The specific deliverables we are effectuating exist as follows:
- Our WPA and IFC councils have commenced the development of an educational curriculum rooted in implicit bias training. This training—which we hope to develop under the guidance of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion—will be offered to all chapters. Chapter-wide participation will be expected (regardless of whether these curricula transpire in-person or online), and accountability measures will be implemented (i.e. a list of all chapters which have satisfied this expectation will be conferred toward the latter part of each semester).
- We are devoted to the comprehensive training of all of our members, and we hope to collaborate with many other SFL affiliates, while continuing to foster curricula-building relationships with campus, local, and national resources. In addition to this aforementioned resourcing, we are currently developing a facilitation in conjunction with Lambda Q. This facilitation will include a dialogue as to the inseparable relationship between queer justice and racial justice.
- By the latter part of the Fall, 2020 semester, an event marketed as “Meet the Greeks” will be created and implemented. This event will serve to ensure that each potential new member is exposed to all social sororities, fraternities, and SFL entities which are willing and able to participate—transcending beyond merely WPA and IFC. This event will ideally be one which transpires prior to each recruitment cycle.
- We anticipate that the release of this statement will elicit many emotions within our organizations’ membership. We understand why this is the case, and want to provide all members of our SFL community a platform upon which to field their sentiments and protestations. This coming semester, this opportunity will be conferred via a virtual Town Hall. This will establish a precedent in bolstering transparency and communication between our councils and SFL subsidiaries. So as to ensure the longevity of this initiative, we will be mandating that the WPA and IFC Council Diversity and Inclusion chairs hold open forum Town Halls as frequently as possible each semester, to gain a pulse on our organizations, their members, and issues of equity, representation, and identity within our institutions.
- As student groups of privilege, we must work—collectively and individually—to understand our role as members of the St. Louis community, addressing the profound inequity, disparity, and gentrification which exists in the immediate vicinity of our campus. We will strive to support BIPOC entities and collaborate with St. Louis-based organizations designed to better this community. Indeed, it is our responsibility to engage with, and learn from, our surroundings.
- We hope this statement enables our communities to participate in constructive discourse and begin long overdue conversations as they relate to equity and representation within sorority and fraternity life. These deliverables will be all but performative, however, if we are not held accountable by our respective councils and peers. In order to support the completion of these action items, the WPA and IFC councils will be continually informing our communities as to which of our deliverables we have accomplished, and which we have not. By July 30, we will provide an interim update regarding the status of these points. There will also be more comprehensive updates released as we enter into the coming semester, and as we phase out of our positions. This statement is analogous to signing a contract with our community and its constituents. Via these actions, we will keep you apprised, and most importantly, to ensure that these promises become grander than words on a page.
- Accounting for the unique challenges that our respective WPA and IFC communities face, we have also commenced the development of organization-specific action items and accountability measures, which can be found on the subsequent pages of this statement. These items are ones which will push our communities to directly address their most prevalent shortcomings as they relate to racial inequity, discrimination, and injustice. Attached to the final page of this document is an optionally anonymous grievance form; we hope you will utilize this to share your beliefs as to how we, as WPA and IFC organizations, may best proceed, for it is your feedback which will most readily inform our next steps.
Our councils are committed to creating an anti-racism space in which individuals of all affiliations, identities, and backgrounds feel heard and supported—not only in times of acute response, but always. We must hold ourselves, our friends, and our chapters accountable for actively partaking in introspection, education, and the continuation of these very dialogues.
We want Black members of this SFL community to know that we stand beside them in this time of mourning. And we call on all members of this SFL community to challenge chronicled conditions of racism, for our work is only now beginning.
We must do better; We can do better; And we will do better.
The Women’s Panhellenic and Interfraternity Communities of Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University, Women’s Panhellenic Association | firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington University, Interfraternity Council | email@example.com
Washington University, Women’s Panhellenic Association Deliverables
The Women’s Panhellenic Association is one of the largest student groups at WashU, and therefore must stand at the forefront of enacting change within our own community, while inspiring a greater cultural shift across our university. Our organizations are committed to uplifting our sisters, and cannot do so without the inclusion of those marginalized groups within our membership. The WPA executive board has outlined action items that are listed below. Once again, our words mean nothing without peer accountability, and we expect all of our chapters and members to hold each other to the highest of standards moving forward.
- WPA will require all Potential New Members to attend a Diversity and Inclusion community building exercise which will include exposure to all sororities that are recognized on our campus, as well as all SFL entities that are willing and able to participate.
- By the Spring of 2021, WPA will create and implement a continuous $1,000 inclusion fund dedicated to, and designed specifically for, individuals who identify as members of typically marginalized cohorts within our community. This fund will remain separate from the current WPA need-based, financial scholarships which are already in place.
- We are aware of the impact that proper allocation of WPA’s funding and financial status may have on surrounding communities; accordingly, as a council, we pledge to apportion 100% of our future Diversity and Inclusion budgets toward BI-POC, POC, LGBTQIA+, or women-owned businesses.
- We are committing to holding a WPA-wide philanthropy event at least once per year which will be focused on collaborating with those BI-POC communities of St. Louis. While there is flexibility inherent to the final shape this week of philanthropy takes, our council will ensure that all programming places an emphasis on fundraising and education year after year.
Washington University, Interfraternity Council Deliverables
Our Interfraternity community is one in which change must inarguably, and appreciably, transpire; for the privilege inherent to this institution is profound, and we would be remiss to not account for the many ways in which our fraternity chapters have contributed to the perpetuation of systemic racism, inequity, and disparity. The Interfraternity Council has developed a sequence of multiple action items—and complementary accountability measures—which we will implement throughout this summer and coming semesters. Said deliverables exist as follows:
- By the commencement of the Spring, 2021 semester, all subsidiary chapters which have not already done so will be expected to appoint a Diversity and Inclusion chair, so as to ensure a continued commitment to educational- and equity-rooted initiatives.
- In coordination with campus, local, and national resources, novel educational curricula will be developed and implemented. These trainings will target (1) chapter and council leadership, (2) existing members, and (3) potential new members, and will serve to normalize fraternity-wide discussions as they relate to topics of diversity, inclusion, identity, and implicit bias awareness. In correspondence with the enactment of these changes, various accountability measures will also be implemented—i.e. the establishment of a receipt system, through which chapters’ observance of this deliverable may become public purview.
- As it relates to recruitment, we are working to establish a multifaceted facilitation intended for potential new members. Strategically programmed between bid extension and acceptance, attendance at said facilitation (or completion of an online alternative) will prove requisite to one’s acceptance of a chapter bid. In conjunction with various campus organizations, this curriculum will address topics including diversity and inclusion and interpersonal violence, accounting for the intersectionality which exists between these subjects. While only an introductory facilitation, we hope that this dialogue will set a precedent as to how seriously each of these topics are taken within our Interfraternity community.
- So as to ensure that our Interfraternity Council is able to best address issues pertinent to all facets of social justice, the Director of Social Justice council position will be modified. These refinements will parallel the council construction of WashU’s Women’s Panhellenic Association, and will be implemented by the commencement of Spring, 2021. The Director of Social Justice will remain a viable appointment, serving as a liaison between chapters and councils, councils and the University, and two novel, subsidiary components….
- (1) The Diversity and Inclusion Chair: A role responsible for matters pertinent to equitability, identity, diversity, and inclusion.
- (2) The Director of Violence Prevention: A role responsible for initiatives as they relate to interpersonal violence, mental health awareness, and anti-hazing reform.
- The Interfraternity Council is actively working to adapt last year’s Women’s Panhellenic Diversity Survey to our own fraternities. Data obtained from this survey will be used to direct conversations and best address topics of diversity and inclusion within the individual chapters of our Interfraternity community. Following the collection of these data, a forum will be established, through which chapter leadership may engage in conversations regarding their results, complementary reform measures, and ways by which to improve.
[Optionally Anonymous] Grievance Form
As was mentioned within our Joint Statement, we are committed to working with, and learning from, all members of our community. While we have outlined both overarching and organization-specific action items, we understand that these lists are neither exhaustive or wholly developed. Accordingly, we are providing an optionally anonymous grievance form, linked below, which we hope you will use to share your sentiments and critiques. As the cornerstone of our institutions, we are here to represent you—the members of SFL. We want to learn how to improve, and we hope you will take the time to help us better our communities. All data collected will be used to facilitate the refinement of existing, and development of novel deliverables; insights shared will be viewed exclusively by council leadership and sorority and fraternity life staff, without extensive circulation.
Adaptive Resource Guide
Linked below is a Resource Guide, consistent of both non-financial and financially-driven means of activism. With your help, we hope to make this Guide as comprehensive as possible; thus, this document will remain a living one, which can be edited, and added to, by any and all individuals willing to do so. Please take the time to review this Guide, contributing resources and pertinent information.
Mental Health Resources
Habif Mental Health Services | (314) 935-6695
WashU Cares | (314) 935-2595
RSVP Center | firstname.lastname@example.org
Office of Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life | email@example.com
Mental Health After Hours Support Line | (314) 935-6666, follow the prompts
Behavioral Health Response | http://bhrstl.org/
STEVE Fund | text STEVE to 741741 to access a culturally trained Crisis Text Line counselor