This week Campus Insider sat down with Ethan Pickering, the president of the Interfraternity Congress (IFC) at Case Western Reserve University. For those of you who don’t know, IFC is the unifying, governing and coordinating body of the fraternity system; it serves as the communication link between the fraternities and the university administration. IFC also works closely with other Greek organizations such as the Panhellenic Council (PHC).
IFC has recently held a sexual misconduct focus group in order to reach an outline of issues that should be addressed and plans for improvement.
“We’ve had a couple issues nationally as well as here, one being sexual misconduct,” said Pickering. “We’re looking into a way to help us be proactive about it.”
As a result of the focus group, IFC has assembled an action committee to work on policy, structural change, education and promotion to prevent sexual misconduct within the Greek community. One of the new programs is the bystander intervention training that is required by all new members.
“We need to address the community issue that does not occur solely because of Greek life, but is often attributed to it,” said Pickering. “We want to do what we can to make our community safer.”
Diversity and Inclusion
In light of the incidents with Sigma Alpha Epsilon in University of Oklahoma, IFC had a discussion with each of the chapters at CWRU about diversity and inclusion. Members anonymously stated what they thought of diversity in their chapter and gave an honest opinion of how they see diversity issues.
“They need to keep the discussion going,” said Pickering. “Some chapters felt they didn’t have any problems, but they weren’t really having discussions to begin with. It’s not sustainable unless there is discussion.”
The next General Body IFC meeting will cover the issue and work on facilitating discussion.
IFC serves as the regulatory committee for fraternities on campus. The Pytte Cup is a way by which IFC can measure the chapter’s standards. This year almost all of the chapters passed Pytte Cup standards. For the few that do not pass, IFC determines whether there are ways they can improve the chapter or if the chapter even belongs in the IFC community any longer.
This also relates to the Greek Life Office initiative of Culture of Care, which aims to create a community in which decisions are based on looking out for each other, and ensuring that the Greek committee is the best it can be.
CWRU fraternities and sororities have just finished their annual Greek Week. Greek Week is a week of competition between the chapters, which Greeks and non-Greeks alike come out to enjoy. IFC and PHC work together on the budget for the event.
“It was a very great week of Greek pride, and really CWRU pride also,” said Pickering. “The amount we spend on it, somewhere in the area of $10,000, is definitely well worth it for the campus engagement.”