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Digital History at Ursinus

Racial Diversity and Inclusion in Greek Life

In 1998, the campus moved to be more culturally and racially diverse. A 1998 Grizzly article reports on a guest speaker that came to Ursinus to discuss the subject.[1] In an article from the same year, there are discussions of the need for diversity and inclusion in Greek life.[2] 

The conversations on diversity continued in 2006 when multiple hate crimes occurred during the Spring semester. This was the result of a hate crime using a racial slur at an NCAA Basketball game at Ursinus and racially motivated graffiti in a freshman dorm bathroom. The campus saw the reverberations of this throughout the next few months. This included multiple USGA and town hall meetings involving students, faculty, and staff. The results of these meetings included ways to proceed.[3] However, one of the largest issues at the end of these meetings was the lack of presence of the uneducated perpetrators.[4]

Below, scholarly articles reference how these incidents affect participation by students of color in and out of the classroom: 

“Additionally, encounters with racism and prejudicial acts prevent many African American students from getting involved on campus, thus precluding them from the aforementioned benefits [interracial relations, Well adjustment to a college setting, Emotional stability, self-esteem] During their Adjustment to PWI’s." [5]

“Minority Students may be less likely to get involved because they have a more difficult time identifying with a critical mass of peers with whom they feel comfortable.” [6]

The two main national organizations that founded charters on campus were founded nationally under similar circumstances at private white institutions (PWIs). Kappa Alpha Psi was founded at Indiana University, a PWI in 1911: “The Administration maintained an attitude of indifference as Blacks were slowly matriculated and swiftly forgotten… The Depressing isolation earlier experience was relieved as new friendships solidified." [7] Sigma Gamma Rho was founded at Butler University, a PWI in 1929: The founding “yielded similar social gains and significantly enhanced the college adjustment process of African American women in an environment where they were (and continue to be) woefully underrepresented.” [8]

Both of these organizations made their way to Ursinus, similarly to these other PWI’s, yet they were not long lasting. Other groups that were created under local affiliations on campus also founded themselves under the same creeds as these national organizations such as Upsilon Phi Delta and Chi Rho Psi.[9]

Chi Rho Psi 1993

Chi Rho Psi 1993. This photo was published in The Ruby yearbook a year after the Greek organization was founded. 

Chi Rho Psi

In 1992, Chi Rho Psi was the first fraternity founded on the principles of ethnic diversity. The organization was started by a freshman who believed there needed to be more diversity on campus. The organization was unanimously approved by the USGA. They proposed to have the same aspects of social life and service as other Greek organizations. This launched more organizations following in that trend. It is assumed the fraternity died in 2003 after there was no presence of the organization in following Ruby yearbooks. [11]

 

Upsilon Phi Delta 1993

This photograph was published in The Ruby yearbook a year after the organization's founding in 1992.

Upsilon Phi Delta

A year later, in 1993, Upsilon Phi Delta was founded on similar principles, including a non-alcoholic atmosphere for all sister events. This was written into their charter and if there was alcohol consumption by the sisters their charter would be revoked. The sisters also focused on diversity. They aimed to educate the college on issues of cultural diversity. it is assumed the sorority died in 2014, due to no further presence in The Ruby yearbook, with no visible members of color. [12]

Kappa Alpha Psi- Omicron Kappa 2010

The Kappa Alpha Psi brothers, featured for the first time in the yearbook in 2010.

Kappa Alpha Psi and Seismic Step emerge on campus

The Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity was involved in a diversity oriented potential student weekend. 

Kappa Alpha Psi

The Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. was originally chartered on campus in 1994, according to the Ursinus Grizzly article. This is the first and only time the fraternity is mentioned to exist in the 20th century at Ursinus. The article also states that the fraternity was active on campus again in 2004. It is assumed that the organization left campus once more due to lack of membership. Since then, the fraternity, a Divine Nine national brotherhood, has been active and involved in issues of racial diversity and inclusion. [13]

Sigma Gamma Rho 2006

The sister of the national sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho

Sigma Gamma Rho 

The Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. is a national, historically black sorority and one of the Divine Nine Greek organizations, like Kappa Alpha Psi. There was no discourse in The Grizzly about the organization and it's charter onto campus as the Pi Chi chapter. The only means of tracking the information is in the 2006 and 2007 Ruby yearbooks. The organization's chapter is assumed to have died upon the sister's graduation in 2007 after no further presence in The Ruby. [14]

[1] Stephanie Duncan, “Ursinus' Movement Towards Diversity,” Digital History at Ursinus, accessed December 8, 2017, http://omeka.ursinus.edu/items/show/644.

[2] Rich Barrett, “Students Debate Greek Life on Campus,” Digital History at Ursinus, accessed December 8, 2017, http://omeka.ursinus.edu/items/show/645.

[3] Sarah Keck, “Full auditorium discusses solutions to diversity issues at forum,” Digital History at Ursinus, accessed December 8, 2017, http://omeka.ursinus.edu/items/show/671

[4] Marlena McMahon-Purk, “USGA Meeting Tackles Hate Crime at Ursinus,” Digital History at Ursinus, accessed December 8, 2017, http://omeka.ursinus.edu/items/show/670.

[6] Shaun R. Harper, Lauretta F. Byars and Thomas B. Jelke, “How Black Greek-Letter Organization Membership Affects College Adjustment and Undergraduate Outcomes,” in African American Fraternities and Sororities: The Legacy and the Vision, ed. Tamara L. Brown, Gregory S. Parks, Clarenda M. Phillips (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2005), 396-399, http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jctpn.19.

[6] “How Black Greek-Letter Organization Membership Affects College Adjustment and Undergraduate Outcomes," 396-399. 

[7] “How Black Greek-Letter Organization Membership Affects College Adjustment and Undergraduate Outcomes," 396-399. 

[8] “How Black Greek-Letter Organization Membership Affects College Adjustment and Undergraduate Outcomes," 396-399. 

[9] Sara Jacobson, “Upsilon Phi Delta Approved,” Digital History at Ursinus, accessed December 8, 2017, http://omeka.ursinus.edu/items/show/639.

Sara Jacobson, “Greeks Grow with Chi Rho Psi,” Digital History at Ursinus, accessed December 8, 2017, http://omeka.ursinus.edu/items/show/636.

[11] “Greeks Grow with Chi Rho Psi." 

Senior Class of 2003, “Chi Rho Psi 2003,” Digital History at Ursinus, accessed December 8, 2017, http://omeka.ursinus.edu/items/show/915.
 
[12] Senior Class of 2003, “Upsilon Phi Delta 2003,” Digital History at Ursinus, accessed December 8, 2017, http://omeka.ursinus.edu/items/show/916.
 
Senior Class of 2013, “Upsilon Phi Delta 2013,” Digital History at Ursinus, accessed December 8, 2017, http://omeka.ursinus.edu/items/show/919.
 
[13] Allison Nichols, “Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity to Participate in Spring Intake,” Digital History at Ursinus, accessed December 8, 2017, http://omeka.ursinus.edu/items/show/675.
 
Senior Class of 2010, “Kappa Alpha Psi- Omicron Kappa 2010,” Digital History at Ursinus, accessed December 8, 2017, http://omeka.ursinus.edu/items/show/918.
 
[14] Senior Class of 2006, “Sigma Gamma Rho 2006,” Digital History at Ursinus, accessed December 8, 2017, http://omeka.ursinus.edu/items/show/974.
 
Senior Class of 2007, “Sigma Gamma Rho 2007,” Digital History at Ursinus, accessed December 8, 2017, http://omeka.ursinus.edu/items/show/975.
Racial Diversity and Inclusion in Greek Life