The Panhellenic Association and the Interfraternity Council both chose new presidents in the past week, electing Natasha Wissmann ’17 and Blake Brown ’17 to helm their respective organizations. Within the next week, the Multicultural Greek Letter Council will also conduct elections to choose their new executive board.
Both Wissmann, of Sigma Delta Tau, and Brown, of Sigma Chi, ran on platforms to improve Greek life and to address sensitive issues within the community.
“There are certain things I noticed from being president [of Sigma Delta Tau],” Wissmann said. “Late night transportation is particularly horrendous. The buses don’t go where they should, and because Greek life is so spread out, it can lead to really dangerous situations.”
Wissmann also said she plans on addressing sexual assault, as “it plays a role on every college campus,” and diversity among Greek life.
As president of IFC, Brown said he plans to manage and implement the new policies he campaigned on.
“During my time as President, I plan to focus on initiatives related to reducing negative stigmas about Greek life, making fraternities more inclusive and reforming judicial and recruitment policies to promote chapter success, safety and autonomy,” Brown said.
Candidates for both the Panhellenic Council and the MGLC are slated by members from each chapter, usually a president. To complete the slating process, committees from each organization pick an applicant for the position, and the chapters then vote on them.
Often, the candidate slated for the Panhellenic Association is contested after their slating process is completed, according to Kendall Grant ’16, president of the Panhellenic Council.
“Typically, there is contesting of some degree,” Grant said. “Only applicants are able to contest a position, whereas no one can run off the floor if she did not formally apply.”
Candidates who wish to be slated by the committee must participate in a multi-step process.
“The application process requires a formal application, letter of intent and behavioral interview, at which each of the slating delegates is present,” Grant said.
This process has also been adapted by the Multicultural Greek Letter Council, which will hold elections on Nov. 18, according to Dan Kim ’17, vice president of communications.
“The multi-page application consists of letters of recommendation from his/her chapter president, one’s professional resume, fraternity/sorority resume and a personal statement,” Kim said.
Important members of the Greek community then staff the committees who choose from among the available applicants. Chapter presidents often serve for the Panhellenic Committee, while the MGLC reaches out to active members across Greek organizations, according to Grant and Kim.
IFC presidential elections, on the other hand, do not use the slating process, allowing candidates to run without writing letters of intent. Once a candidate announces his desire to run, he can present himself to the chapter presidents, and they will vote on the position, according to Brown.
“All candidates have the opportunity to deliver a speech to the chapter presidents and may invite up to two members of the Cornell community to speak on their behalf,” Brown said.
While the slating process is not used by the IFC, Grant said she believes that it is essential for electing a candidate.
“What stands out about this process is the thought and due diligence that slating merits,” Grant said. “Every woman is assessed objectively, based on the role that suits her best. We also assess how certain personality types will complement and supplement each other in a team dynamic.”