By Sam Catania
Both the Undergraduate Senate and the Graduate Student Council (GSC) are expected to vote next week on a resolution that would urge Stanford to permanently de-house Greek life organizations from their current locations on campus.
The discussion comes amid a growing movement among students to abolish Greek life at Stanford. Members of the organization Abolish Stanford Greek attended the meeting to answer senators’ questions about the resolution and lobby support for its passage.
The resolution alleges a plethora of issues with the Greek system, saying its recruitment process excludes marginalized communities through “implicit bias, nepotism, and rejection of non-binary individuals” and that it perpetuates “white supremacy … misogyny, classism, homophobia, heteronormativity, and elitism.”
But a representative of Abolish Stanford Greek said senators were not necessarily pledging their support for the total abolishment of Greek life if they chose to vote in favor of the resolution. “This resolution is solely about unhousing Greek life,” she said. “It does not take a position on abolishing Greek life.”
Currently, Stanford recognizes 30 Greek organizations and announced in 2019 that it would cap the number housed on campus at 10. Twenty-five percent of undergraduates are active in Greek life, according to Residential and Dining Enterprises.
Senator Tim Vrakas ’21 raised questions about the lack of a proposed alternative use for the houses within the resolution, saying he wanted to know “how Row houses would be distributed or used or assigned in the future.”
The Abolish Stanford Greek representative responded by pointing to a proposed University working group within the resolution that would determine the redistribution of Row houses.
Senator Jonathan Lipman ’21 suggested de-housing might not be the best strategy if the ultimate goal was to eliminate Greek life on campus, citing issues other universities have experienced with this strategy. “What happens at a lot of other schools … is that the most wealthy organizations basically just buy houses off-campus,” he said, before suggesting that pushing for the University to disaffiliate might help the group accomplish their goal.
The Abolish Stanford Greek representative suggested this wouldn’t be the case on Stanford’s campus, where she says approximately 97% of students live on campus.
Senator Danny Nguyen ’22 said that they and the other senators should consider not only the opinion of the majority of students but also listen to the voices of those who have been “drastically impacted” by issues. Nguyen said they were moved by statistics on the number of people who were survivors of sexual harassment or assault in Greek organizations, calling the situation “inexcusable.”
Undergraduate Senate Chair Micheal Brown ’22 also spoke in response to his previous words criticizing the Faculty Senate for excluding students from virtual meetings and their resulting response. “There are a few people in the Faculty Senate who consistently ‘show up’ for student interests … and we appreciate them,” he said.
“The priority of the Faculty Senate is not the student voice, it’s not the student interest; it’s how The Faculty Senate is perceived in The Stanford Daily,” Brown said.
Assistant Academic Secretary Adrienne Emory wrote in a statement to The Daily that the Senate is working with ASSU representatives to find a solution to issues raised about student representation in Faculty Senate meetings.
“I’m hopeful that we can come up with something that works for everyone,” she said.
This story has been corrected throughout to reflect the correct pronouns of one of the individuals quoted. The Daily regrets this error
Contact Sam Catania at samcat ‘at’ stanford.edu.