The college Greek stereotype typically isn’t compromised of gay and bisexual men, yet fraternities at the University of Miami chose to defy that image.
Last week, by a vote of 10-2, the university’s fraternity presidents approved the adoption of Delta Lambda Phi, a gay, bisexual and progressive male fraternity, into its ranks.
The Interfraternity Council (IFC) affords every fraternity one vote in deciding whether to allow another fraternity to colonize or not. Each fraternity president is given the power to vote.
Delta Lambda Phi will be the 13th fraternity under the IFC, the umbrella organization of all male fraternal organizations.
“Last year all of my friends rushed fraternities. I didn’t want to hide my identity as a gay person,” said sophomore Vincent Foster, president of Delta Lambda Phi. “I started asking around which would be the best fit, and when all of them basically told me they didn’t know, I knew it was time for me to do something.”
After his friends suggested he just start his own fraternity that welcomes gay and bisexual men, he began researching online and contacted Delta Lambda Phi last spring.
“It’s been a long uphill battle, basically a year, but it’s definitely been worth it, now being able to bring Delta Lambda Phi to our campus,” Foster said.
The process took such an extended time period because of previous rules in the constitution of the IFC.
According to the IFC’s constitutional laws, one requirement for any IFC fraternity was that it needed to be recognized by the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), which Delta Lambda Phi was not.
After voting on a constitutional amendment, the 12 fraternity presidents of the IFC welcomed any male fraternal organization into its ranks.
The measure affected more than one prospective Greek organization. Phi Delta Theta, another fraternity already on campus, is also not recognized by the NIC, yet had been able to overcome the constitutional law.
Delta Lambda Phi will begin recruiting in the fall, after the other 12 fraternities have conducted their recruitment season. Beginning in the spring 2011 semester, Delta Lambda Phi will recruit alongside all IFC organizations.
Tony Lake, associate dean of students, saw this as a way to increase opportunities for all Greek life. Lake advises the IFC through weekly meetings with the its five-member executive board.
“The [board]members saw that the rule was outdated and decided to change it in order to expand Greek life and get even more students involved,” Lake said. “Our IFC becomes one of a very few fraternity communities nationwide who understand that ‘fraternity’ is about something greater than yourself. [It] is something that we hope can be enjoyed by more men and women, and more organizations, with ever diversifying backgrounds and beliefs.”
To be a member of Delta Lambda Phi, a student doesn’t have to be gay or bisexual. Gay rights serve as the foundation for the fraternity, just as Christian values are the foundation for several other UM fraternities.
“The goal of Delta Lambda Phi isn’t to exclude people, instead it is to break down stereotypes,” Foster said. “I want to redefine the gay image for the Greek community and also for the gay community, to let them know that being gay and being involved in Greek life don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”
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Colleen Dourney may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A LOOK AT THE Delta Lambda Phi
-Approved for colonization on April 20.
-Delta Lambda Phi will begin recruiting in the fall 2010.
For more information, contact president Vincent Foster at email@example.com.