As a female second year student and active member of the MUN Political Science Society, several articles published by The Muse regarding the ratification of another campus society have caught my eye in recent weeks, the most recent being “Are Greek letter organizations exclusionary by nature?” (Vol. 63, Iss 19)
Having attended several Sigma Theta Pi fraternity events, I was interested to see the stance the Greek Philanthropy Society was taking on this particular question. It was my experience at these events that as a woman, I paid a smaller charge to gain entry than my male friends. While I was initially uncomfortable with the idea that a supposedly charitable organization was attempting to attract a surplus of female guests at their event, I shrugged off this thought and continued to have a good time with my friends. However, upon further reflection of this issue, I still feel that this practice is sexist in nature.
It is clear that fraternities and sororities are traditionally gender exclusive, and therefore I agree with Dr. Nicolas Syrett’s argument that “all male organizations tend to attract people who value a certain kind of masculinity.” It has been my experience that Sigma Theta Pi portrays a very heterosexual identity, particularly when they provide incentives for women to attend their events rather than men. This is discriminatory not only to women, but also to homosexual men that may feel excluded from the fraternity’s identity and activities.
As Rebecca Stuckey, Director of Student Life, stated in the Muse, a student group that is discriminatory cannot be ratified by the Student Union. While I understand the need for compliance with MUNSU bylaws, I believe that the Greek Philanthropy Society is not discriminatory based on the fact that the fraternity and sorority are only open to men and women respectively, because each student has the opportunity to join one or the other and contribute to a philanthropic organization. However, as Zack Morse stated, membership is mostly based on personality and how well a potential candidate meshes with the group and this is inherently discriminatory.
Would a transgendered or homosexual man “mesh” well with a group of men that decide cover charges for their events based on heterosexual interests? I’m not convinced. Even outside of this issue, would it reflect well on MUN to be affiliated with a group that does not allow a candidate to become a member unless current members “like their personality”? Does this not imply that if a candidate was denied membership, they did not have a suitable personality?
Societies at MUN, in my opinion, should be inclusive. I certainly believe that if any other society on campus were to start charging gender-based cover at their events or only allowed members with a certain personality type, students would have a serious issue with it, and there should not be an exception made for the Greek Philanthropy Society until they make some changes to their practices.