March 28, 2003

Greeks Hold Dialogue on Diversity

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On Wednesday night, the three councils of the Greek system held “Diversity Dialogue,” a discussion for overcoming their differences and resolving any existing tension among them. The councils are the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the Panhellenic Association and the Multicultural Greek Letter Council (MGLC). The event included short presentations from each council followed by a question-and-answer session.

“Diversity Dialogue” allowed the Greek community to “have their questions answered and myths dispelled. … Learning about diversity involves encountering the diversity,” said IFC president Paul El-Meouchy ’04.

The program opened with several icebreakers to allow the different members to become familiar with one another. The introductions showed that “we’re not as different as we might think. We’re all part of the same Cornell Greek system,” said Michael Taylor ’05, vice president of University and community relations for IFC.

The program, which is new this year, is a way of “coming together to educate each other about our councils, goals and missions,” said Meghan Dubyak ’04, president of the Panhellenic Association.

The relationship between the three councils has often been strained in the past, particularly between MGLC and the others. IFC and Panhellenic Association’s charters are similar, allowing them to relate and interact with each other more often. Before the presentation, the councils asked each house in the Greek system what questions they had for the dialogue.

Evident differences and stereotypes regarding alcohol, hazing, housing, programming and traditions have led many to believe that the groups are too different to work together.

The differences “stop individual chapters from reaching out,” said Chris Gibbs ’03, vice president of community relations for MGLC.

“There’s a lot of friction. … [MGLC] does a lot of things that they

don’t understand, and they do a lot of things we don’t understand,” Gibbs said.

Although the program is new, it is considered necessary and urgent by some members of the Greek community.

“The Greek system as a whole is endangered. [We must] bind together. MGLC is a really strong council; it’d be great if we could learn from them and start hosting events with them,” said Dave Chalenski ’04, executive vice president of IFC.

Increased tri-council work has been a goal for the three presidents of the councils. For the first time this year, annual events such as the blood drive and Collegetown Clean-Up will be hosted by all three councils together.

“I think [the discussion] went very well. … I hope the other councils found it as fun and interesting as [IFC] did,” El-Meouchy said.

Archived article by Diana Lo