Panhellenic DEI Task Force Mission Statement & Goals
The Panhellenic Association at the University of Michigan strives to ensure equity, inclusivity, and diversity within our community. Before looking forward to how we will achieve these goals, we must first look back at our exclusionary history. Historically, barriers have deterred BIPOC, the LGBTQIA+ community, non-Christians, and those facing financial inequities from joining National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) and Panhellenic affiliated sororities. These barriers are still impacting the makeup of the community today. Thus, we created the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force to break down these barriers to entry and to implement new educational strategies to combat our exclusionary culture. This Task Force was established in the fall of 2020 and meets weekly to discuss our current campus climate and work toward our semester goals, explained below. These actions are just the first step toward building more inclusive and equitable spaces within the Panhellenic and University of Michigan communities.
The work that is necessary to make the Panhellenic Association an equitable and inclusive space is continuous and evolving. As the community, climate, and world change, so will this Task Force. The issues being tackled by this Task Force are complex and will not be understood and addressed overnight. Racism, homophobia, ableism, and antisemitism are historic and vast beliefs embedded in our community’s culture and institution. In attempting to promote inclusivity and equitability in the Panhellenic community, this Task Force is attempting to address the gaps in the community, including but not limited to financial status, ableism, fatphobia, religious discrimination, and sexual orientation.
This Task Force is taking tangible actions to address inequities and biases in the recruitment process as well as in the everyday culture of the Panhellenic community. From the implicit biases shaping decisions by sisters on potential new members, to the microaggressions faced by sisters who are a part of minority groups, this Task Force is actively working to address these issues and educate Panhellenic members. First and foremost, we are researching the history of the Panhellenic Association both at the University of Michigan and across the country to better understand what issues were faced in the past, and how they have shaped what the community looks like today. Additionally, we are listening to and gaining insight from community members with lived experiences and advanced knowledge on the problems we are trying to address.
This Task Force has set three goals that we are working towards for the 2021 Winter Semester. These goals are intentionally designed to be achievable, relevant, and possible in the time we have. First, we are developing a DEI Panhellenic Executive Board position, including amendments to the Panhellenic Bylaws, by the end of this semester. Second, we are working to develop an itinerary for a mandatory implicit bias workshop by April, with a plan to hold the first session in Fall 2021, followed by a second supplementary session after primary recruitment. Finally, we plan to research the history, mission, and current work of all four councils (IFC, NPC, MGC, and NPHC) in an effort to understand the complex and interconnected history of the Fraternity and Sorority Life Community.