From left: Assistant director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Corey Grant, Bailey Shelton, '17, and Gladys Castellón, '17 review their fraternity culture survey on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, in Williams Global Commons. Several Lehigh organizations hosted a kick-off event with a survey focused on the culture within fraternity life. (Vincent Liu/B&W Staff)

Survey launched to gauge LGBTQIA+ inclusion in Greek community

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A survey about LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the Greek community was launched at a kickoff event in the Williams Hall Global Commons on Tuesday.

The survey, created by Lehigh’s Greek Allies, the Pride Center and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, contains 34 questions about the subject’s level of satisfaction and observations on their chapter’s inclusion, or lack thereof, for students identifying as LGBTQIA+. The questions vary, some asking for brief responses and others offering statements allowing the subject to either agree or disagree.

Assistant director of the Pride Center Scott Burden said the survey seeks to find who makes up Lehigh’s Greek system and gauge a chapter’s level of commitment to allyship within the Greek community.

“Part of the goal is to test the narrative for the positive things that are happening in our Greek community and then to also show some of the challenges that come along with an inherently gendered state,” Burden said.

Many of the questions are about demographics, religious and political affiliations and race and ethnicity identification. Burden said the survey will provide a glimpse into the Greek community by asking how often students hear slurs around their co-members and how inclusive they feel their chapter is to individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+.

The goal of the survey is to get a better sense of how comfortable people feel. Additionally, the survey serves to gauge whether Greek Allies and the Pride Center need to hold more events encouraging inclusion and education on the subject of gender and racial identity. The data received will conclude the true levels of diversity found within Greek life at Lehigh, specifically in individual chapters.

The survey is similar to one that was given to students involved with Lehigh Athletics earlier in the year about inclusion.

Greek Allies promote inclusive leadership and foster a welcoming Greek and greater campus environment at Lehigh, striving to make students comfortable and open with their identity anywhere.

Gladys Castellon, ’17, is one of Lehigh’s Greek Allies and is a member of Mu Sigma Upsilon sorority. Castellon is excited for the results of the survey and is unsure about what to expect from the data the survey delivers to the developers.

“I think we sometimes have our preconceived notions of organizations’ inclusivity, and see the stories we hear from people,” Castellon said. “I’m hoping we are able to use this information to move forward next year.”

She said it will be fascinating to see the responses from the survey put into numbers. Castellon hopes the developers of the inclusion survey will be able to put the information to good use in order to educate the Lehigh community and specifically the Greek community.

The kickoff event on Tuesday catered small hors d’oeuvres and had a station with five desks, each with a computer on it with the survey open for guests to take. There were around 30 people in attendance including students and faculty. The event also had a station for students to sign up to win a free Greek Allies T-shirt.

Burden hopes there will be a high level of engagement for the survey and that there will be enough responses to collect accurate data.

He is expecting to receive results showing more people identify as a sexual/gender minority than one might think. He also said he expects to see some tragic and unfortunate stories from students in the Greek community about being ostracized.

The reflections on these experiences will help the Pride Center and the Allies provide ways to encourage inclusion and openness.

James Waring, ’18, is the executive secretary of the Interfraternity Council and is content with how the survey turned out, acknowledging the importance of inclusion in the Greek community.

“I think (the survey) is a good start,” Waring said. “Statistically, every chapter has around two to three LGBTQ members, but no one ever believes it. So getting some concrete data on Greek Life will be really good to get it across to people.”

Waring attended the event and encouraged students to take the survey the day it launched.

The inclusion survey will provide data on what Lehigh’s Greek community needs to improve on, searching for ways to improve inclusivity and acceptance throughout the entire campus.

You can create social change on Lehigh’s campus,” Burden said, “and we value your partnership in that.”

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1 Comment

  1. Greeks houses represent private clubs which are provided protection of the right to choose members under the freedom of association provision of the law. The right to associate with like minded people is equally as protected in private clubs as you believe inclusion is in the public arena.

    Be careful how far you go with this data you are collecting.

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