North Texas Daily

Many students not worried about SGA’s Greek problem

Many students not worried about SGA’s Greek problem

April 28
02:47 2016

Lisa Dreher | Staff Writer

@lisa_dreher97

During the undergraduate student body presidential race, some students and Student Government Association senators expressed worry that fraternity and sorority members too often dominate student government.

Previous administrations show a pattern in Greek members overseeing the student body. 10 presidents and 10 vice presidents since 2006 were in fraternities or sororities, including this year’s student leadership. There were 18 Greek executives and four non-Greek.

28_GreekGraphic (1NEW for pg 2)

Graphic by Erica Wieting | Staff Graphic Artist

Newly-elected undergraduate president Grant Hale is a Pi Kappa Alpha member, and his vice president, Barrett Cole is Chi Omega. They replace current president Adam Alattry and vice president Chris Lee, also Greek members. Several senators said SGA is predominantly Greek.

“I probably would have said no to a lot of their appointments because it’s just not fair that all of these Greek life students are running for these Senate seats,” College of Arts and Sciences senator Mia Muric said. “Every time we had an appointment, it was someone from Greek life.”

Assistant dean of students to Greek life Jason Biggs said about eight percent of the student body is involved with fraternities and sororities.

College of Arts and Sciences senator and inactive Phi Kappa Sigma member Sam DeLeon faced Hale and Cole in the runoff for president.

Hale is SGA’s chief of staff, and among five other Greek students  who comprise the eight-member executive board. Hale said he and Cole did not market exclusively to Greek students while campaigning and would appoint qualified members as executives.

“We see these elections as a hiring process for a job, and we take that with the same seriousness and mindset that would come along with that,” Hale said. “We want people who are most qualified for the job, not just people we know or who our friends are.”

Pi Kappa Alpha member Chris Lee said Greek students are encouraged to be involved, and often join SGA to fulfill this, as evident in the past. Pi Kappa Phi member Adam Alattry declined to comment.

“Greek life has always been an integral role within student government because of their involvement outside of Greek life,” Lee said.

There are seven instances in the past decade where a president and their vice president were both Greek. SGA president Kamaeron Willard replaced Troy Elliot for the spring semester after Elliot withdrew from school in the fall. Both Willard and Elliot were members of Greek life.

2010-2011 undergraduate president and current Clark Hall director Kevin Sanders said he does not see SGA’s Greek history as infringing on the voices of non-Greek students. Greek members are inspired by Greek SGA presidents and vice presidents, causing this chain reaction of involvement, Sanders said.

“Whether you’re Greek or not it comes down to that student’s philosophy on leadership,” Sanders said. “I think right now a lot of the SGA presidents are Greek because the SGA presidents have been Greek and the Greek communities are seeing that and are inspired to do that.”

2007-2008 undergraduate vice president Trey Connolly was also vice president of recruitment for the Interfraternity Council before becoming SGA vice president.

In 2010, the Senate voted against creating a Greek committee within SGA to represent that portion of the student population. College of Arts and Design senator and Kappa Sigma member Justin Jones proposed the bill which was disapproved by Greek SGA president Dakota Carter.

College of Music senator and Zeta Tau Alpha member Nicole Wan said the encouragement extends beyond running for office, as fraternity and sorority members are encouraged to vote for their own members.

“If you have members of your chapter running for senate, or going to be an exec for different things, they encourage everyone to support their sisters and brothers,” Wan said.

Alexander said past executives were close friends with their president or vice president. Hale, the SGA president-elect, suggested a blind application so applicants are anonymous to those hiring them.

College of Business and Pi Kappa Phi member Ernesto Flores said senators are not purposefully taking control of SGA to favor Greek students. He said that being involved in the same activities outside of fraternities and sororities is natural because Greek members see fellow members involved and want to join them as professionals, Flores said.

“I don’t think it comes from a malicious place to misrepresent the student body,” Flores said. “It’s a close knit community and you are eager to do what your friends are doing.”

Students presented with this information did not see the amount of Greek involvement as an inherent issue, but believe it has the potential to turn into one.

“Every student will always have activities and events they need to allocate their time to,” accounting junior DaJaevian Dixon said. “It can be a distraction or it can be the foundation on which they build their own abilities.”

College of Merchandising and Hospitality Management senator and Alpha Phi member Annabelle Weber said Greek life members are students like everyone else.

“A lot of the Greeks I know are really focused, they really care about their school and care about their grades,” Weber said. “I think it’s a really positive thing to have them involved in the Student Government Association because they are the students who do care about our university.”

College of Education senator Myles Alexander asked candidates at SGA’s Town Hall how they will avoid appointing student government leaders they are personally close with.

Greeks participate in campus life because fraternities and sororities praise volunteering and activity, but Greek SGA members encourage non-Greek students to fill the gaps. They remind the student body senate seats are open to everyone.

“It’s really a matter of reaching out to the whole campus community and telling everybody applications are open,” Hale said. “Everyone has the same opportunity to run no matter what types of things they’re involved in.”

Staff Writer Alexandria Reeves contributed to this article.

CORRECTION: In the original version of this story, which was also published in the Thursday, April 28, 2016, edition of the North Texas Daily, it was incorrectly reported that Dakota Carter was a non-Greek student. That is false. Carter was a member of the Theta Chi fraternity.

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1 Comment

  1. DixieNormus
    DixieNormus April 28, 10:55

    This is a joke. The NTdaily is a joke.

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