Breaking the Status Quo: A Plan of Action to Eradicate Racism in Sorority Culture

The six women leading Kappa Delta's DEI team

By: Kamdyn Rhodes (a member of Kappa Delta)

Loyola’s Kappa Delta Theta Upsilon Sorority works to eliminate racism and prejudice within sorority culture in light of the BLM movement by curating a Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee.

Greek Letter fraternities and sororities have an extensive history of exclusivity and racism that is becoming unveiled in the wake of George Floyd’s death, as students across the nation build awareness of racist behaviors.

In a 2018 incident at California Polytechnic State University, released photos showed a fraternity sporting blackface and dressed in stereotypical Mexican gangster clothes. And in a 2019 scandal out of George Washington University’s Phi Sigma Sigma sorority, the president posted a photo of a plantation gift shop onto her Snapchat with the caption, “I wonder if they sell slaves.” Recently, a video of the University of Kansas Kappa Delta president spewing anti-Asian rhetoric was shared on social media, leading to her removal. These incidents have launched a Panhellenic wide initiative to dismantle racism and promote diversity.

Kappa Delta Theta Upsilon is one of Loyola’s newest sororities. In their short three years on campus, they have become one of the most diverse Panhellenic chapters at Loyola. This year the chapter is allocating time to educating and creating an open dialogue on racial issues through the expansion of their Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee (DEI).

DEI is “all about including everyone,” said chapter women Katie Pease, “no matter who you are, where you come from, what your race is, and what gender you are. [Its] just making sure that everyone feels welcome and in a safe space.” 

DEI was first introduced last year; however, it was headed by a single chapter woman.

The six women leading Kappa Delta’s DEI team

Now it is made up of six chapter women, including me, sophomore Katie Pease, sophomore Hannah Sween, sophomore Diha Arora, senior Vanessa Kohn, and senior Lani Domingo.

When asked about the expansion of the committee Kappa Delta president Lani Domingo explained how “one person only holds one perspective on a multitude and array of topics and backgrounds. [Expanding the committee] brings in more perspective, more resources, and then more ways and avenues we can allocate to educating women and also our community.”

The committee outlined some of its kickstart projects for this semester. For starters, they sent out a Google Form to their entire chapter to get a sense of what topics the women want to discuss. A conversation about microaggressions won, so they are currently preparing a workshop to address that topic. They are also working with Loyola’s Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs (SDMA) department to build resources. On a national level, Kappa Delta is “reevaluating all of their rituals and Panhellenic bylaws.”

Lastly, I asked how Kappa Delta’s DEI committee could create a more diverse and inclusive space for people of color campus wide. Domingo talked about “inviting more multicultural Greek life organizations to our events and collaborating with them.”

Kohn also mentioned the importance of DEI. “I think it’s also important to realize that especially now DEI is popping up in a lot of people’s career fields. It’s important to realize the scope of DEI is much bigger and goes way beyond Greek life.”

Kappa Delta has spoken up in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and has been active on social media with infographics educating women on the social justice issues in today’s society. It sounds as though this is just the beginning of a more extensive movement within sorority culture and society as a whole.

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