By SARAH K. BURDICK
Take a stroll through the Brower Student Center this time of year, and an array of colorful flags and flyers will more than likely meet your gaze, signifying that the ever-frivolous season of Homecoming has begun for fraternities and sororities. In total, there are 31 Greek organizations recognized on campus: 16 sororities, 14 fraternities, and one co-ed organization. Together, they comprise the TCNJ Inter-Greek Council, whose mission statement professes to “strive to exude and abide by the values of fairness, integrity, and loyalty so as to enable growth and for the betterment of the community.” Yet amongst the Greek letter artwork displayed throughout the Student Center, there is a noticeable absence of any advertisement of the multicultural fraternal organizations, of which there are 14 out of the total 31.
When asked the reason why the multicultural organizations are not represented in the BSC, Anthony Grullon, member of Lambda Sigma Upsilon, said that “flyers are posted, but a banner is not customary.” In fact, there are only four members of LSU, Grullon being one of them. This is perhaps the reason for the lack of publicity, for according to Grullon, “we can only do so much with the manpower that is in the fraternity.” He admitted that the non-multicultural organizations have more people, and that the numbers are a lot greater; however, this is “based on the demographics of the school.” Numbers aside, it is clear that the IGC at the College does not live up to its mission statement, in that the multicultural organizations are not represented in accordance with the “values of fairness.” I, personally, did not know of any other multicultural Greek organizations before conducting this interview with Grullon; and furthermore, I only knew that LSU existed due to the fact that Grullon lived on my floor last year. Indeed, Gary Bethea, a sophomore at the College, shares my lack of familiarity with these organizations, saying “I know there are Latin fraternities and sororities, but I couldn’t name them.”
The absence of any representation of these organizations is not only prevalent during pledge season; it is prevalent every day during Meal Equivalency, when the non-multicultural fraternities and sororities take to the couches of the Student Center, quite literally claiming them as territorial conquests. For example, AEPi sits in the left-hand corner, Phi Tau sits on the left-hand couches, AXP takes the middle cluster of couches, Phi Psi has a bench on the right-hand side by the Rat. And so on.
There are six multicultural fraternities and eight multicultural sororities recognized at the College, yet on the Spring 2009 Inter-Fraternity Recruitment page of the IGC website, not one of the multicultural fraternities are listed as having meet-and-greet dates. Only the recruitment dates for the eight non-multicultural fraternities are available. Similarly, out of the seven members who sit on the Executive Board of the IGC, only one member, Terry Oppong of Phi Beta Sigma, belongs to a multicultural organization. If all 31 organizations compose the IGC, why are the 14 multicultural organizations virtually unheard of, while the non-multicultural are so ubiquitous? What is the difference between the two?
“We’re not different,” said Grullon. “We’re just separate entities.” Let it be remembered that as part of the 1896 Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson, the Court upheld the constitutionality of the “separate but equal” doctrine. Although this doctrine was repudiated in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, could it be that the ideology as per “separate but equal” is still prevalent upon campus?