The college Greek stereotype typically isn’t comprised of gay and bisexual men, yet fraternities at the University of Miami chose to defy that image.
During the spring 2010 semester, 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.
The Interfraternity Council (IFC) affords every fraternity one vote in deciding whether to allow another fraternity to colonize or not.
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 rising junior 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.”
His friends suggested he just start his own fraternity.
“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.
According to the IFC’s constitutional laws, one requirement for any IFC fraternity is 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, however, the 12 fraternity presidents of the IFC decided to welcome any male fraternal organization into its ranks.
Phi Delta Theta, another fraternity already on campus, is not recognized by the NIC either, but has now been able to overcome the constitutional law.
Delta Lambda Phi will begin recruiting in the fall. Beginning in the spring 2011 semester, Delta Lambda Phi will recruit alongside all other IFC organizations.
Tony Lake, associate dean of students, advises the IFC through weekly meetings with 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“The [board]members saw that the rule was outdated and decided to change it in order to expand Greek life and get even more students involved,” Lake said.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.”
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.
“The goal of Delta Lambda Phi isn’t to exclude people; instead, it is to break down stereotypes,” Foster said.
Colleen Dourney may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.