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Survey asks students to weigh in on future of Greek life

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In an ongoing survey assessing student opinions on Greek life, the majority of over a thousand student respondents say they have a negative or very negative view of the pre-pandemic impact of Greek life, according to live results. The survey was distributed through email on Tuesday by the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU).

Additionally, around 40% of survey respondents currently say that Greek life should be abolished, and 16% say Greek life should “lose privileged housing.” A quarter of respondents say Greek life should be reformed, while 17% say it should stay the same. Still, 17% of respondents say they are interested in joining Greek life, and around a quarter of respondents are former or current members.

The survey comes after both the Undergraduate Senate (UGS) and Graduate Student Council (GCS) passed a resolution to permanently dehouse Greek organizations on campus. The resolution also charged the ASSU with establishing a committee to “conduct a survey … about the overall presence of Greek life on campus to aid the discussion of social and residential life at Stanford.”

Although the survey was supposed to be conducted at the beginning of the winter quarter, undergraduate senator and committee leader Lenny DeFoe ’21 said that the committee chose to move distribution to spring quarter, right before rush, to increase engagement and prioritize quality. 

DeFoe said that ASSU president Vianna Vo ’21 reached out to him to lead the committee in part because he abstained from voting on the Abolish Stanford Greek-led resolution, saying it did not consider the voices of students in Greek life. 

“The way I see my role as a senator is, regardless of what decision gets made or what gets passed, there at least needs to be a chance of equal deliberation and hearing both sides,” DeFoe said. “So I abstained not because I disagreed, not because I didn’t agree with the problems, but because I think the method of how we get to addressing those problems wasn’t complete.”

The survey writing committee was led by DeFoe and Senator Jonathan Lipman ’21 and included representatives from Abolish Stanford Greek (ASG), Stanford Inter-Sorority Council and Interfraternity Council, and administrators from the Fraternity Sorority Life (FSL) and Institutional Research & Decision Support (IR&DS) offices. Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) and African American Fraternal and Sororal Association (AAFSA) representatives were also consulted. 

“The Undergraduate Residence Governance Council will work with the ASSU and respond to its findings and recommendations when they are received,” Student Affairs spokesperson Pat Lopes Harris wrote.

Abolish Stanford Greek and survey committee member Sylvie Ashford ’21 M.A. ’22 said that she was impressed by the “ASSU’s intentions and ability to bring different voices to the table,” praising the maturity of the committee members. According to Lipman, the committee consulted several survey experts to ensure the survey was unbiased and underwent two review stages internally with the UGS, GSC and ASSU executives. 

“We’ve heard from the people with the loudest voices and strongest opinions on both sides of this issue and the survey is really hoping to understand the viewpoints of a much broader swath of the community,” Lipman wrote.

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Michaela Guo is a staff writer in the News section. She is a freshman and plans to study Human Biology and Asian American studies. Contact her at mguo ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.