The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) is committed to creating a more welcoming, inclusive Panhellenic community, including addressing racism and racial injustice in our community. As part of that commitment, the NPC Board of Directors has outlined these considerations:
- Our organizations do not reflect the diversity that our Panhellenic communities hope to achieve. As a community, we don’t make ourselves broadly attractive to women of color and we have too often fallen short in supporting our Black and Brown sisters.
- We believe that we must consider—and change—the systems and norms within the Panhellenic community that have historically benefited and centered the experiences of white women and women of privilege, more generally.
- As a Panhellenic community, we have an obligation and responsibility to empower our members and volunteers and to openly discuss race and racial injustice.
In the near term, addressing these considerations will likely mean difficult and meaningful conversations, the creation of new resources and a commitment to support and work with College Panhellenics. In the long term, it will require critical conversations with our Black and Brown sisters, as well as those who advocate for and support them, in order to develop and implement new approaches, policies, agreements and expectations.
The Board of Directors is now working with the NPC staff, among many others, to develop next steps and take action. This page will be updated to keep you informed of our efforts.
NPC Communications & News Regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Panhellenic Community:
- An Honest Dialogue About Racism in the Panhellenic Community (June 2020)
- From the NPC Chairman: Three Considerations for Addressing Racism in the Panhellenic Community (June 2020)
- NPC Announces Access and Equity Advisory Committee to Help Identify Reforms to Eliminate Structural and Systemic Barriers to Sorority Membership (Aug. 3, 2020)
- From the NPC Chairman: We hear you and we are listening. (Aug. 11, 2020)
- NPC Virtual Educational Session Follow-up: Cultivating a More Inclusive Recruitment Experience and Addressing Implicit Bias (Includes video recording and resource guide) (Aug. 13, 2020)
- The NPC Access and Equity Advisory Committee facilitated listening sessions designed for different stakeholder groups that included the following: fraternity/sorority advisors, College Panhellenic officers, NPC alumnae members, NPC collegiate members (who are not Panhellenic officers) and fraternity and sorority collegiate community members who are not members of NPC organizations. The NPC Access and Equity Advisory Committee will use the feedback gathered during these sessions as they complete the next steps of their charge. (Sept. 4, 2020)
- The NPC Access and Equity Advisory Committee continues to meet. As part of their efforts, they have divided their work into three subcommittees 1) Auditing of Unanimous Agreements, policies, best practices and template documents, 2) Consulting on inclusion of diversity factors for NPC workforce recruitment and 3) Identifying barriers to access created by norms and practices at the campus level. These subcommittees will meet throughout fall 2020. (Oct. 12, 2020)
NPC Member Organizations’ Actions Regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:
NPC member organizations also are taking steps regarding diversity, equity and inclusion topics within their organizations and with their membership. Examples include:
- In summer 2020, more than half of the 26 NPC member organizations are ending, or currently reviewing, legacy and recommendations policies that gave preferential treatment to potential new members in way that significantly benefited white women and others with privilege.
- NPC member organizations are taking approaches to diversity, equity and inclusion that meet the needs of their specific organization and membership and most have publicly announced initiatives that range from audits to education to working groups and more.
NPC’s Other Actions Regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:
Over the years, NPC has made incremental changes to improve cultural competency within the Panhellenic community and address topics of diversity, equity and inclusion across multiple factors, such as race, religion, ability or socioeconomic background. Examples include:
- For more than a decade, NPC has counseled College Panhellenics to avoid scheduling recruitment or other events that will not conflict with major religious or cultural holidays. College Panhellenics also are encouraged to incorporate other events or celebrations that are important to members and the community into their calendars.
- NPC ongoing advocacy work on behalf of students with colleges/universities and policymakers includes ways to promote college affordability, which can impact young women’s ability to join our organizations.
- In summer 2020, the NPC Board of Directors participated in education sessions with members of the Cross-Cultural Fraternal Advising Institute Collaborative team to increase board members’ knowledge of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) factors and set a common language and framework for NPC’s DEI initiatives.
- In early 2020, NPC updated the language used around the expansion of sorority life to be more inclusive and align with best practices in higher education and within many of our member organizations. A new sorority chapter is no longer called a “colony” and instead is a “newly establishing chapter.” NPC has updated the NPC Manual of Information, as well as educational resources related to Panhellenic extension procedures.
- During the 2020 NPC College Panhellenic Academy, NPC hosted Dr. Suzette Walden Cole of the Cross-Cultural Fraternal Advising Institute Collaborative to present the keynote “Cultivating Diverse and Inclusive Panhellenic Communities Takes Work.” The keynote included a presentation as well as discussion among participants about how they have or can create more inclusive spaces for women of various identities.
- In 2018, NPC added implicit bias training for recruitment counselors to educational materials used by College Panhellenics for recruitment counselor training.
- In an effort to create cohesive communities, many campuses have been requiring student organizations to include non-discrimination policy language in registered student organization governing documents. To assist College Panhellenics with this language, NPC added an inclusion statement in its model bylaws for College Panhellenics in 2018.
- In 2018, the NPC Foundation doubled the amount of scholarship award dollars available to college-age sorority women. In the past five years, the NPC Foundation has awarded more than $30,000 in scholarships to undergraduate and graduate sorority women.
- First added in 2017 with additional tools added in 2018 and 2020, the NPC Financial Transparency Policy seeks to help potential new members make informed decisions about the financial commitment of sorority membership. All chapters are to use a consistent, clear format to share detailed financial information (member dues, chapter fees and assessments, etc.) with potential new members prior to extending a bid.
- In 2014, NPC adopted a formal position statement against discrimination that, in part, states, “NPC member organizations do not discriminate in membership selection on any basis prohibited by law.”