Phi Delta Theta Takes Action to Address Diversity and Inclusion2020
To address the racial equity issues within our society and any diversity and inclusion concerns within Phi Delta Theta, the Fraternity formed a Diversity Working Group in 2020 that focused on two distinct areas: education and programming and policy and communications.
Approximately forty undergraduate and alumni volunteers, representing diverse demographic backgrounds and unique perspectives, participated in discussions related to race, equity, and the importance of promoting diversity and inclusion within the Fraternity.
As a result of these conversations, a summary report of participant feedback and a list of recommendations was created and then submitted for review by strategic advisors Dr. Michelle Allen, Diversity Education Director at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Marlon Gibson, experienced fraternity and sorority professional and doctoral candidate at the University of Georgia. The recommendations were then provided to the General Council for consideration.
The General Council met July 16–17, 2020 and thoroughly reviewed the report. After careful consideration, the General Council took the following immediate actions:
- Created the volunteer position of Diversity and Inclusion Commissioner and appointed Brother Austin A. Deray, Mercer ’10, to serve in this capacity. In addition to advising the General Council and General Headquarters staff, the commissioner shall be responsible for overseeing all educational programming, policy recommendations, and communication efforts related to diversity and inclusion initiatives on behalf of Phi Delta Theta.
- Designated and defined an undergraduate role (chapter officer) responsible for advocating for diversity and inclusion within the chapter, on campus, and in local communities.
- Approved the recommendation from the Diversity Working Group and the Survey Commission to adopt new terminology for burgeoning groups. The use of Colony will be replaced with Emerging Chapter and initial members of these new groups will now be referred to as Founders.
- When evaluating recipients of chapter excellence awards, the Awards Committee will include new criteria in the application that places value on the promotion of diversity and inclusion efforts and programming.
Other areas recommended by the working group for continued review and consideration by Brother Deray, the General Council, and the General Headquarters Leadership Team included individual, new member, chapter, and conference education with a focus on cultural competency and implicit bias training, specific language to adopt that would explicitly prohibit the display of divisive symbols on chapter premises and at Fraternity-sponsored events, collaboration with interfraternal partners, diverse identity and first-generation scholarships, and enhanced communication strategies featuring members of color.